War and Peace

Anniversary Conference

Why war? How could it be that millions of people renounce their human emotions and common sense, lapsing into atrocious crimes such as murder, plunder, treachery and arson at the behest of a single person? Why do the masses answer to the ruling power? What kind of force brings people into motion? A baffled Tolstoy attempts to find an answer to these tantalising questions in War and Peace, his epic story of Russia during Napoleon’s campaign in 1811-1812.

After two world wars, Auschwitz, the Gulag and Hiroshima, Europe agreed on one thing: no more war. Democracy, economic growth, equal rights, freedom of expression, education, health care and social justice were embraced as the core values to be cherished, in order – first of all in Europe – to pave the way for peace in the hope that no war would occur ever again. Lev Tolstoy passed away in 1910 and never experienced how Western Europe embarked on its journey of nearly seven decades of peace between its nations. Which forces (whether violent or not) govern our times? Do the values and vision of humanity we now cherish suffice to preserve us from another war? How do we preserve our humanity? What are the safeguards of peace nowadays? The Nexus Institute has invited thirteen of the foremost politicians, diplomats, historians, philosophers and critical thinkers to discuss these stimulating and important questions – and many more.



‘We would do better to deal with the dangers in the world than to run away from them.’


During the Nexus Conference ‘War and Peace’, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, William Fallon, Lilia Shevtsova, Paul Wolfowitz, Masafumi Ishii, James Rubin and Dan Diner discuss the topic ‘war’.


Tamar Halperin performs Alessandro Marcello’s ‘Adagio’ from Oboe Concerto in D, arranged for solo keyboard by J.S. Bach.


Robert Cooper: ‘The natural state of man is to fight. War is therefore the natural condition. Peace requires continuous work and is an enormous victory.’