RCSS Winter Workshop

RCSS Winter Workshop

The concept of security has always been narrowly defined in terms of national boundaries and securing of national borders from external aggression, protection of national interest in foreign policy. In 1994, this concept of security was challenged and expanded to incorporate 7 core dimensions including economic, personal, health, food, environmental, community and political security – the concept of human security. The multifaceted and multi-dimensional concept was envisioned as a means of strengthening and securing national, government and individual security.

RCSS, over the years has organised several ‘Winter Workshops on Source of Conflict in South Asia’ which exclusively addressed non-traditional security issues in South Asia, such as terrorism, governance, gender, migration, ethnicity and religion, resources, development and environment, refugees among other human security issues. These 10-day residential workshops, over time, have brought together young scholars and other professionals from the region to address, individually and collectively, problems and issues of topical interest for the region. Along with the participants of the RCSS Summer Workshops, an alumni network of approximately 500 globally, now exists who hold influential policy-making and research positions within leading universities, think tanks, governments and development agencies in South Asia.

The Winter Workshop series was initiated as a part of Phase II of the Non-Traditional Security projects for South Asia that was funded by the Ford Foundation. The inaugural workshop was held in Kandy, Sri Lanka from 6 – 16 March 1997. RCSS subsequently successfully organized 5 other workshops: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka (1998); Lalitpur, Nepal (1999); Kalutara, Sri Lanka (2000); Beruwela, Sri Lanka (2001) and Kathmandu, (2004).

The main goal of the winter workshop series was to provide participants with an opportunity to understand the concept of non-traditional security issues and how they evolved in South Asia. The overall objectives of the Workshop series are to:

  1. Understand the concept of non-traditional security issues and how they continue to shape the future of South Asia;
  2. Analyze the discourse and practice on human security within the framework of non-traditional security issues in the region;
  3. Develop a better understanding of the concept of terrorism in South Asia and explore how such threats may be dealt with in a comprehensive manner;
  4. Examine gender concerns on security discourse in the region and explore its problematic in armed conflicts, displacement of refugees, water security and state violence etc.;
  5. Address the question of how South Asians view their own security and the role of democratic institutions and governance play in ensuring human security;
  6. Understanding migratory patterns both within and from South Asia and examine a common legal framework for other and safe migration policy to ensure human security
  7. Equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the concepts and approaches to conflict, conflict resolution and conflict management with a specific focus on non-military source in the context of South Asia; and
  8. Facilitate better understanding of problems and constraints, and promote collective consideration of alternative visions, options and approaches to resolve conflicts.

In the long run, the workshops are expected to create a network for sustained interaction and communication between a growing body of a new generation of professionals in South Asia. By facilitating the evolution of alternative approaches with a regional perspective, it will advance the cause of cooperation, conflict resolution, and conflict management in the region.