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Diplomacy and the politics of fear: the 21st century challenges to the theory and practice of Diplomacy and International RelationsConflicts, political unrest, mass migration and the rise of violent extremism by non-state actors are features that have characterized the early 21st century. A huge challenge to world peace and security is posed by volatile economic and political conditions around the world. This situation has led to a growing tension in many inter-state relations which arguably has underpinned the rise of groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East, the Boko Haram in West Africa, and Al Shabaab in East Africa. Arguably, there is a growing sense of fear and unease in every sphere of social, economic and political life. More than at any other time in human history, the future seems uncertain. Relationships and trusts between states and their citizens are breaking down; relations, mutual cooperation and connections between states are under strain; there is growing sense of disillusionment by the governed of the ability of governments and mainstream political establishments to address their concerns and meet their needs. The feeling of uncertainty and general fear for the future is real. While these may not necessarily be universally held views, there is a growing indication that people and communities around the world are feeling dissatisfied and may be threatened by mainstream political systems. Just when it is most needed, diplomacy and diplomatic practice seem to be taking the back seat in the face of growing conflicts. This conference examines the socio-economic and political environment that creates social and political discontent, political apathy, the weakening of inter-state relations, and the general sense of fear.