Professor Noelle van der Waag-Cowling’s Inspiring Visit to Tromso

Last week, from 7th to 13th April 2024, we had the pleasure of hosting Professor Noelle van der Waag-Cowling from Stellenbosch University as part of our ongoing staff exchange program. Noelle’s visit was not only intense but also incredibly productive, leaving a lasting impact on our team and our work.

One of the highlights of Noelle’s visit was her captivating open lecture titled “Strategic Cyber Threats in an Age of Insecurity” on Wednesday, 10th April 2024. Her insightful presentation covered a range of topics, including emerging technology threats, strategic cyber security operations and events, and a fascinating case study on Volt Typhoon’s impact on critical infrastructure sectors in the U.S. Noelle wrapped up her lecture with thought-provoking reflections on systemic events. The lecture was nothing short of fantastic, drawing in a packed audience and sparking thought-provoking discussions that continued long after the event.

The turnout was overwhelming, with attendees filling the room to capacity and even requiring extra chairs to accommodate everyone! The lively discussions that followed underscored the lecture’s significance and the valuable insights Professor van der Waag-Cowling shared with us.

The following day, Noelle had the opportunity to meet with members of the Risk, Crisis, and Societal Security research group. Together, we explored avenues to deepen and broaden our existing cooperation, laying the groundwork for future joint activities. From enhancing education at the PhD level to expanding our collaborative research endeavors, the possibilities are endless, and we can’t wait to see where this partnership takes us. We have some excellent ideas in the pipeline!

Additionally, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve finalized the details for the upcoming Summer School, which will take place at Stellenbosch University this August. Stay tuned for more information – details will be coming your way soon!

As we reflect on Noelle’s visit, we’re filled with gratitude for the invaluable insights and inspiration she brought to our team. Her expertise and enthusiasm have energized us to continue pushing the boundaries of societal security research and education, and we’re more excited than ever about the future of our collaboration with Stellenbosch University.

Stay tuned for more updates as we embark on this exciting journey together!

Professor Noelle van der Waag-Cowling’s Inspiring Visit to Tromso Read More »

Success of the 6th Societal Security Workshop: Exploring Resilience Across Borders

We are thrilled to share the resounding success of the 6th Societal Security Workshop held on November 9-10, 2023, at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Organized by the Risk, Crisis, and Societal Security Research Group, this year’s event delved into the pivotal theme of resilience, attracting participants and esteemed speakers from various corners of the globe.

Dynamic Panels and In-depth Discussions

The workshop featured three thought-provoking panels, each exploring resilience from distinct angles. In the first session, insightful discussions unfolded on the paradigm shift from security to resilience with contributions from Reidar Staupe (UiT), Babalwa Mtshawu (Stellenbosch University, RSA), and Philipp Cunliffe (UCL).

The first panel in progress.

The second panel on global approaches to resilience, brought together perspectives from Bjarte Rød (UiT), Lt Col (Dr) Susan Henrico (Stellenbosch University, RSA), and Ivonne Herrera (NTNU). This session fostered an enriching dialogue on varied perspectives on resilience from different corners of the world.

Great duscussion during the second panel.

The final session, a round table, tackled the multidimensional resilience and cross-sectoral responses and practices. The panellists showcased the practical side of resilience. Leikny Bakke Lie, Laurien de Korte, Karina Mesarosova, Marianne Lindroth, and Helle Hamnevoll shared hands-on experiences, emphasizing how diverse systems, informed communities, and forward-thinking governance are reshaping our approach to societal security challenges.

The highlight of the workshop: the round table.

Engaging Q&A Sessions

Each panel was followed by a dynamic Q&A session, where participants engaged in thoughtful discussions with the speakers. These interactions added layers of depth to the presentations, reflecting the intellectual curiosity and interdisciplinary nature of the workshop.

International Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinary Insights

One of the standout features of this workshop was the diverse audience that convened to explore resilience. With participants not only from Norway but also international guests from Finland, the UK, and the Czech Republic, the discussions transcended borders, offering a rich tapestry of perspectives. The dsiscussions continued throughout the second day of the workshop. In a smaller group we continued our discussions concerning further cooperation under GLOBSEC project, but also planned new joint initiatives with new partners from Finland and the Czech Republic.


In conclusion, the 6th Societal Security Workshop was a resounding success, fostering dynamic discussions, international collaboration, and cross-disciplinary insights. The organizers are grateful to all participants, speakers, and partners who contributed to making this event a milestone in the exploration of resilience in societal security.

Stay tuned for updates on future workshops and events as we continue to delve into the complex and evolving landscape of societal security.

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Exploring New Dimensions in Societal Security: Dr Dries Putter’s Visit to UiT

From September 22nd to the 29th, Dr Putter graced our institution with his expertise, offering a week-long teaching mobility program that left a lasting impression on our students, faculty, and research group.

Meeting with the Risk, Crisis and Societal Security research group was in a hybrid form so that colleagues from the Harstad campus could join.

Dr. Putter, a scholar with a unique background, straddles two worlds. Not only is he a dedicated academic, but he also serves in the military, bringing a fresh perspective to our discussions on societal security. His extensive knowledge and real-world experiences provided our students with valuable insights into the field.

One of the highlights of Dr. Putter’s visit was his engaging lecture on civil-military relations. Drawing from his own experiences in South Africa, he offered a unique and thought-provoking perspective that left us all with much to ponder. The lecture was not just a classroom experience; it was a journey through the intricacies of security in a rapidly changing world.

Dr Dries Putter during the lecture at UiT.

During his time with us, Dr Putter also encouraged our students to consider spending a semester abroad at Stellenbosch University, a valued partner in the GLOBSEC project. This opportunity promises an enriching experience, exposing students to a different culture, academic environment, and a wealth of knowledge in the field of societal security.

As if all this wasn’t exciting enough, Dr Putter left us with a teaser about the upcoming Cyber Lab. Designed exclusively for GLOBSEC, this cyber security exercise is set to take place in November, promising an immersive experience in the world of cyber security. Stay tuned for more details on this thrilling event!

Dr Dries Putter’s visit has set the stage for a dynamic and insightful academic exchange within the GLOBSEC project. As we bid him farewell, we eagerly anticipate the next chapter of this journey and look forward to the knowledge, experiences, and friendships that lie ahead.

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Guest Lecture on Civil-Military Relations, Dr Dries Putter

Dr Dries Putter will visit UiT under GLOBSEC’s teaching mobility in September 2023.

Capt (SAN) Dr Dries Putter joined the South African National Defence Force in 1988 as a SA Navy Marine, served as a Marine Instructor and later as a Naval Officer on board the SAS Drakensberg, SAS Maria van Riebeeck, with brief deployments on the SA Sederberg, SAS Tafelberg and SAS Protea. He joined the Defence Intelligence community in 1998, then joined Special Forces Brigade research and development section in 2001. Since 2003 he has served at the Secretariat for Defence in various positions focussing on defence policy, strategy, defence industry, intellectual property and knowledge management.  He represented Defence Material Division at the Wassenaar Arrangement Expert Meetings in Vienna since 2016.  Capt (SAN) Dr Putter was awarded the best student on the Advanced Intelligence Course for International Students (1999); the Advanced Intelligence, Counterintelligence and Collection Symposium (2002) and the best overall Command Research Paper for JSCSP (2008) and best academic student on the Strategic Defence Studies Programme (2019).  Capt (SAN) Dr Putter completed the Regional Peacekeeping Course for Commanders in 1998 and the Defence Attaché programme in 2014.  He holds BMil, PDM(S), MBL, MM(S), MMil (cum laude) and PhD degrees focusing on defence, security, defence industry, strategy and defence knowledge management issues.  Capt (SAN) Dr Putter is currently the School Chair for Security and Africa Studies at the Faculty of Military Science, University of Stellenbosch and a senior lecturer in Intelligence Studies – focussing on counterintelligence.  He is a researcher for SIGLA, Stellenbosch University, an affiliated member of the National Security Hub and the University of Canberra and the University of Canberra (Australia) and a researcher for Africa Research Institute, Obuda University (Hungary).  His research interests are intelligence, counterintelligence, covert action, hybrid warfare and the defence industry.

Dr Putter prepared a seminar on civil-military relations, especially for Samfunnssikkerhet students at UiT. This seminar will unpack the very key concepts of civil-military relations that inform the debate and explain how South Africa institutionalized civil-military relations as a necessity for national security.

It will take place on 27.09.2023 (Wednesday) from 10:00 to 12:00 in Medisin og helsefagbygget 1: Auditorium 5

PLEASE do let us know if you wish to attend.

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Crises and Conflicts

A new course has been developed at UiT to enrich our educational offer under GLOBSEC. This is an elective course related to the master study program – Samfunnssikkerhet og Miljø – that is offered at the Department of Technology and Safety. It complements other courses by offering insights into the cross-sectoral threats to societal security. Crises and Conflicts is also open for Stellenbosch University students on mobility exchange.

This course examines the concepts and processes involved in crises, violent conflicts, and security and the relationship between them. It offers both a theoretical framework and a practical approach, with attention paid to historical determinants and recent developments in the field.

Crises and Conflicts consists of four parts that survey various aspects of the topic – from definition and typologies of international conflicts and crises to sources and causes of crisis and conflict, as well as the dynamics and management of these. In the first part, we will survey the evolution of the meaning of crisis and conflict with an exclusive focus on the intra-state, and societal character of this problem as well as social, political, economic, identity and other dimensions. The second part looks into three major categories of explanations about the causes and sources of conflicts: (1) Macro-level (e.g., systemic, economic, and normative variables); (2) Meso-level (identity-related variables) and; (3) Micro level (individual and psychological explanations). Furthermore, we will survey the dynamic of these conflicts as driven by crises in various areas such as food, scarcity, climate or migration. Finally, the course will focus on various techniques to managing (and possibly ending) conflicts that include intervention, mediation, early warning, preventive diplomacy, and crisis management.

The students are expected to apply this theoretical knowledge by participating in a group research project and by presenting contemporary cases.

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6th Societal Security Workshop

Save the date!

9-10 November 2023

The Societal Security workshop at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, organized by the Risk, Crisis and Societal Security Research Group has become an annual tradition, and this year it will address the topic of resilience.

The 6th Societal Security workshop is scheduled from 9-10 November 2023 in Tromsø, Norway. Here, the leading scholars in the field, external project partners and participants, staff members and students come together in order to promote and benefit from knowledge sharing and cooperation.

Registration is open! You can register your attendance here.


09th November: Panel sessions – Tabletten (The Pharmacy building F1.101)

8:30 – 9:00 Meet and greet.

9:00 – 9:15:  Welcome and presentation of UiT/ITS

9:15 – 10:15: “From security to resilience – a paradigm shift?”
Panel discussion & a Q&A session.

Panel intro: Societal security is a concept that focuses on the protection and preservation of a society’s values, institutions, and ways of life. Unlike traditional security, which often focuses on military and state-centric threats, societal security is concerned with non-military threats and challenges that can undermine the cohesion and stability of a society. In an ever-changing world where uncertainty and complexity abound, traditional notions of security are evolving. This is perhaps best visible in the emergence of resilience as a buzzword. A simple search for the occurrence of ‘resilience’ in the titles of academic publications from 1900 to 2022 in the scientific article database Web of Science shows the concept’s exponential popularity rising from around 600 in the year 2000 to over 16000 at present. Societal resilience refers to the ability of a society or community to withstand, adapt to, and recover from various shocks, stresses, or disturbances while maintaining its essential functions, structures, and identity. It involves the capacity to absorb and bounce back from adversity. In this panel, we’ll navigate the changing landscape of threats, from climate crises to pandemics, and assess whether our ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity has become our new security blanket. Thus, our starting question to open up the workshop: Are we less secure but more resilient?

Moderator: Monika Gabriela Bartoszewicz


Reidar Staupe is an associate professor in societal security at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and at the University of Stavanger in Norway. His work centers on understanding disaster temporalities through studying slowly unfolding disasters such as antimicrobial resistance, environmental issues and creeping geological hazards.

Babalwa Mtshawu has over 10 years of lecturing experience from the Faculty of Military Science, at Stellenbosch University (RSA). Babalwa chairs the Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation committee, she also serves as a reviewer for Ethical Clearance application at the Faculty of Military Science. Babalwa is currently working on a Military Geography Special Issue project as a guest editor for Scientia Militaria.

Philipp Cunliffe is an associate professor in international relations, University College London at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. He is a (co-)author and (co-)editor of 10 books in total, including most recently Taking Control: Sovereignty and Democracy After Brexit (2023). He is widely quoted in the British press and co-hosts the podcast @bungacast.

10:15 – 10:45:  Coffee break with light refreshments

10:45 – 11:45:  “Global approaches to resilience: Northern and Southern perspectives.”
Panel discussion & a Q&A session.

Panel intro: We continue our workshop with an exploration of resilience on a global scale. This panel brings together experts from the Northern and Southern hemispheres to delve into the nuanced perspectives on resilience that emerge from diverse geographic, cultural, and socio-economic contexts.

Are our understandings of resilience fundamentally different when viewed through Northern and Southern lenses? How can these divergent viewpoints enrich our collective understanding of what it means to be resilient in an interconnected world?

Our speakers will navigate the complexities of resilience, drawing from their experiences in both hemispheres. Together, we’ll dissect the cultural, environmental, and geopolitical factors that shape resilience strategies in the North and South. From climate adaptation to community-driven initiatives, we’ll uncover the unique approaches that each region brings to the table.

This panel offers a rare opportunity to bridge the gap between perspectives, fostering a global dialogue on resilience that transcends borders.

Moderator: Chinwe Philomina Oramah


Dr Bjarte Rød is a post-doctoral researcher in the Fake News project at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. His research interests evolve around resilience in vital societal functions and critical infrastructure and societal resilience to disinformation. Bjarte also combines research with practice as he also has a part-time position at the County Governor in Møre and Romsdal.

Lt Col (Dr) Susan Henrico is a researcher for the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership (SIGLA) at the Department of Strategic Studies, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University (RSA). Her academic interests include Intelligence and more specifically Intelligence Collection and she also has a keen interest in cyber security. She is also the co-chair of the UN Open GIS (Capacity building) workgroup.

Dr Ivonne Herrera is a senior researcher at Studio Apertura and global ambassador at the Resilience Engineering Association. In recent years, she worked as a senior adviser at the Research Council of Norway and had an advisory function towards the government and Norwegian actors in European research and innovation related to societal security and digitalisation. Since 2004, she has also worked as an expert for the European Commission. A common feature of all Ivonne’s work has been a holistic perspective that covers technological, organizational and societal aspects with the aim of creating a safer society by strengthening resilience.

11:45 – 12:15:  Coffee break with light refreshments

12:15 – 13:45: “Multidimensional resilience: cross-sectoral responses and practices.”
Round Table discussion with a Q&A session.

Round table intro: This round table finalizes our workshop. Here we will explorethe multifaceted dimensions of resilience. In the complex tapestry of our modern world, resilience isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. From adaptability to community cohesion, from response to cyber threats to combatting pollution, from resourcefulness to effective governance, we will investigate the building blocks of resilient societies. Our speakers, all of whom combine academic knowledge with hands on experience will debate how diverse systems, informed communities, and forward-thinking governance are reshaping the way we approach societal security challenges. Academics and practitioners from diverse sectors will unravel the layers of resilience in real-life contexts. On the basis of diverse case studies, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of what resilience truly means in practice and leave with a broader perspective on how it shapes our future. Is resilience something we do or only something we talk about?

Moderator: Ingeborg Skjelmo


Leikny Bakke Lie holds a Master’s degree in Societal Safety and Risk Management from the University of Stavanger and have extensive experience working with risk and crisis management from both private and public sector. She is currently researching climate change adaptation as a PhD fellow with UiT – the Arctic University of Norway.

Laurien de Korte has a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Management and a Master in Climate Change Management, currently working as a university lecturer at the Technology and Safety department at UiT. Her research interest are in climate change adaptation and its links with sustainability science and citizen engagement. 

Karina Mesarosova is an Associate Professor at the UiT where she is also the program manager for the Master in Aviation. Previously, Karina worked for Qatar Aeronautical Academy. She has also conducted research in the Middle East and in Levant countries as well as in Europe.

Marianne Lindroth is the Project leader in the Cyber Citizen Initiative and her previous experience includes cybersecurity consulting, cybersecurity education research, project management, EU projects, teaching and training, organisational security and data protection.

Elisa Norvanto is a career diplomat from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland. Previously, Elisa was a member of the diplomatic mission in the Embassy of Finland in Moscow. She also had various advisory and researcher roles within Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Defence Forces and Civilian Crisis Management centre.

Helle Hamnevoll is a senior advisor within preparedness and societal safety and security at the county Governor of Troms and Finnmark. In recent years, she has worked as an advisor for the Governor of Svalbard and the county Governor of Nordland. She works with preparedness and societal safety and security on a regional level, and works closely with municipalities within the region of Troms and Finnmark. Her focus areas at the Governor’s office are exercise planning and civil-military cooperation.

13:45 – 14:00:  Summary and closure

On November 10, 2023, a smaller, closed seminar will take place for invited guests in association with the GLOBSEC Project: Global Security – North-South Partnership.

Previous Societal Security Workshops

The UiT Societal Security workshops started in 2016. Aiming to promote knowledge sharing as well as to promote and strengthen national and international cooperation, the workshops have since then engaged academics, practitioners and students in the field of societal security and safety.

For an overview of past workshop programs and themes, click here:

6th Societal Security Workshop Read More »


Increased cooperation is needed to establish missing connections between education, research, and practice in the field of societal security. Societal security faces global challenges and requires a global perspective to respond effectively. GLOBSEC aims to strengthen the quality, attractiveness and scope of education in societal security through a North-South partnership that augments the quality of teaching and research.

The main goal of GLOBSEC is to better prepare the next generation tasked to work in the field of societal security by boosting their educational experiences with the most relevant, field-specific and up-to-date knowledge and skills. This goal is met through exchange programs between UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) and Stellenbosch University (SU, South Africa), co-creation of educational materials in cross-sectoral, multi-level and transnational teams, and regular cooperation with business partner Cyber Security Institute (CSI). Further, the project fosters innovation as it will lead to the development of new courses and a joint PhD program and joint research initiatives (publications, research proposals).


About GLOBSEC Read More »

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