The end of World War I ushered in a new international system based on nation-states, institutions, and norms meant to prevent future conflict. Some of the architects of this order envisioned a world made safe and prosperous by the collective action of all states, with national self-determination as a basis for state legitimacy. The peace outlined in the Treaty of Versailles set precedents for a new international order that resonate to the present day—but may now be changing.

Leaders of the so-called "Big Four" nations at the Paris peace conference leading to the Versailles Treaty. (Nathan Hughes Hamilton/Flickr)
Leaders of the so-called "Big Four" nations at the Paris peace conference leading to the Versailles Treaty. (Nathan Hughes Hamilton/Flickr)

On the centennial anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, USIP will examine what the international community has learned from 100 years of peacebuilding in pursuit of a stable international order. Experts from government and academia will reflect on how the pillars of the international system that emerged from Versailles evolved throughout the 20th century; with special emphasis on the United States’ leadership in building an international, rules-based order centered around multilateral institutions and alliances seeking to provide security, wealth creation, and social advancement. The conversation will then explore ways in which the international system and long-held norms are changing, and how the international system stands to evolve in the years and decades ahead. Take part in the discussion on Twitter with #Versailles100.

This event is co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, The Woodrow Wilson Center History and Public Policy Program, The National World War I Museum and Memorial, National History Day, and The Doughboy Foundation.

Agenda

8:30am - 9:00am: Registration and Coffee 

9:00am - 9:15am: Welcome Remarks

  • Michael Yaffe
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace 

9:15am - 10:30am: Panel 1: The Treaty of Versailles Reassessed: Shaping the International Order in the Immediate Aftermath of WWI

  • Mustafa Aksalal
    Associate Professor of History and Nesuhi Ertegun Chair of Modern Turkish Studies, Georgetown University 
  • Robert Kagan
    Stephen & Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution 
  • Eric Lohr
    Professor and Susan E. Carmel Chair of Russian History and Culture History, American University
  • Matt Naylor, moderator
    President & CEO, The National World War I Museum and Memorial 

10:30am - 10:45am: Coffee Break

10:45am - 12:00am: Panel 2: The Post-WWII International Order: The Peacebuilding Inheritance from World War One and the Treaty of Versailles

  • Ellen Laipson
    Professor, International Security Program Manager; Director for the Center of Security Policy Studies, George Mason University 
  • Robert Litwak
    Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars 
  • Aviel Roshwald
    Professor, Georgetown University 
  • Wess Mitchell, moderator
    Senior Advisor, United States Institute of Peace 

12:00pm - 1:15pm: Lunch

12:30pm: Lunch Keynote Address: “Versailles Legacies: Council on Foreign Relations and the International System”

  • Richard Haass
    President, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Michael Yaffe, moderator
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace 

1:15pm - 1:30pm: Coffee Break

1:30pm - 2:30pm: Panel 3: The Future of Peacebuilding and International Order in the 21st Century

  • Michael E. Brown
    Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, George Washington University 
  • Maria Langan-Riekhof
    National Intelligence Council 
  • Robin Wright
    Distinguished Scholar, United States Institute of Peace

2:30pm - 2:50pm: Closing Remarks

  • Matthew Naylor
    President & CEO, The National World War I Museum and Memorial
  • Michael Yaffe
    Vice President, Middle East and Africa Center, United States Institute of Peace, United States Institute of Peace
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