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United Nations at LSE

Through both direct collaboration between LSE IDEAS and UN agencies and sharing the best of the LSE's work on and with the UN.


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The first major collaboration between IDEAS and the UN is the UN Business and Human Security Initiative.

UN at LSE Events and Podcasts


People, Profits and Peace: a human security approach to private sector peacebuilding and sustainable development

How can business work with individuals and communities in areas affected by conflict and crisis and work towards the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? This event saw the launch of the Human Security Business Partnership Framework which sets out to answer this question.

The Chocolate Case Co-hosted with the United Nations Cinema and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, LSE IDEAS and the UN Cinema presented a screening The Chocolate Case, followed by a panel discussion on the links between responsible business, consumers, and modern day slavery.  

To End A War Co-hosted with the United Nations and the Embassy of Colombia

What does it takes for a nation of 50 million to move from hatred to forgiveness, from war to peace? Listen to the panel discussion on the Colombian peace process and the future of the country.

The UN, the Private Sector, and Human Security Partnerships

To mark the launch of a new research and policy initiative on business and Human Security by LSE IDEAS, Yukio Takasu, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Human Security spoke about the role of the private sector working with governments  to address insecurity and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Pathways to Peace in Colombia LSE IDEAS - International Alert - LSE LACC Event

Joshua Mitrotti, director of Colombia’s Agency for Reintegration on the challenges and achievements of a ground-breaking approach to absorb thousands of former paramilitaries and guerrilla fighters into productive employment as part of the country’s post-conflict transition.

Strengthening Global Governance for the 21st Century

In this lecture, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova explored the role of the United Nations in sustaining a rules-based international order in an increasingly turbulent world. 

The key to success of the Sustainable Development Goals?

This event with UN advocates Paul Polman (CEO of Unilever) and Alaa Murabit explored how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved -including the crucial roles of local leadership and institutions, global businesses, and young people around the world.

Private events

LSE-DPI Roundtable: a human security approach to private sector contributions to peace and the economy in Turkey

The UN Business and Human Security Initiative at LSE IDEAS and the Democratic Progress Institute organised a roundtable event at the LSE. 

It was attended by a small, diverse group of Turkey's prominent business people and organisations, including company CEO's and heads of business associations. This roundtable provided participants with an opportunity to discuss the links between peace, stability and economic growth and what role the private sector can play in conflict resultion processes.

Mary Martin and Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic led a session focussing on modern ways in which the private sector can be positively engaged in conflict resolution. You can find further details of the roundtable in this summary report

LSE-BHR Company Roundtable in Madrid: a human security approach to working in complex business environments

The UN Business and Human Security Initiative at LSE IDEAS and Business and Human Rights (BHR) held a roundtable at the EOI Business School in Madrid, as part of a global series of stakeholder meetings planned by the initiative.

Representatives from companies in different industrial sectors - including Endesa, Repsol, Prosegur and Gas Natural Fenosa - discussed the value for Spanish business leaders of a human security approach and how to best work in complex, conflict-affected environments. For example, Mikel Berraondo from Zabala Innovation Consulting gave his perspective on working with indigenous communities and the particular challenges this can pose to companies on the ground.

Corporate Peace: private sector strategies for conflict prevention, peacebuilding and sustainable development LSE IDEAS - WOSCAP Event

This roundtable examined research findings from the European Commission research project ‘Whole of Society Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding' and other studies on public-private partnerships to explore the possibilities for both policymakers and companies to work more constructively together for the benefit of both. 

From Iraq to the New Cold War: Hans Blix 

Hans Blix achieved international prominence in his role as Head of the UN team which failed to discover WMD in Iraq in 2003. At this event, Blix explored lessons from the past and a way forward for the future of weapons control in a world that has become no safer.

UN at LSE Publications and Media Activity

UN at LSE People

Mary Martin is Director of the UN Business and Human Security Initiative. Her research focuses on the role of the private sector in conflict and peacebuilding and private security in the international system. She was co-ordinator of the Human Security Study Group 2006-1010, reporting to the High Representative of the European Union. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. 

Christina Bache is a Visiting Fellow on the UN at LSE Project, specialising in conflict transformation and peace, business ethics, human security, and socioeconomic development. Christina is the Chair of the International Crisis Group's Ambassador Council in Istanbul and is a member of the United Nations Business for Peace/Principles for Responsible Management Education working group. Christina received her PhD from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick.

Linda Benräis is Adjunct Professor of Comparative Law and Mediation at ESSEC Business School and Director of ESSEC's IRENÉ programmes "Governance and Conflict Resolution". She coordinates international and European programmes related to governance, human rights, and international mediation. She has 18 years of experience as an EU legal consultant and trainer in international legal cooperation, legal and judicial reforms, international mediation and other ADR in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South-East Asia.

Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic specialises in the political economy of conflict and post conflict reconstruction, post-communist transition, civil wars, political economy of policy making and regional development. She has acted as an expert to the UNDP, the World Bank and the European Commission. Dr Bojicic-Dzelilovic holds PhD in Economics and MA in Economic Development.

Alice Bryant is a Research Associate for the UN Business and Human Security Initiative.

Margherita Parodi is a Research Associate for the UN Business and Human Security Initiative.

UN Business and Human Security Initiative

How can business protect and empower individuals and communities in areas affected by conflict and crisis? This initiative aims to develop a model framework of Human Security Business Partnership to encourage collaboration between the private sector, the public sector, and civil society to address a wide range of security needs on the ground - working towards the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

LSE IDEAS will bring together academics and practitioners from international companies and NGOs to develop this innovative framework, and partner with UN agencies to initially implement it in different development schemes in Colombia. UN partners include:


In Colombia, LSE IDEAS and the UN will work with global companies, communities, government, and civil society in applying the partnership framework to analyse private sector contributions to the peace process and support business engagement with conflict-affected communities. After its testing phase, the framework implementation will be replicated in different development schemes in Colombia.


Implementation of Human Security Business Partnerships will be supported by an Expert Working Group of academics and practitioners. They will analyse evidence from the trials of the Framework, develop additional applications in post-conflict regions, and generate recommendations for policy and practice changes for the UN, national policymakers, and business leaders.

LSE IDEAS will also host the global secretariat  of the Human Security Business Initiative to support the development of the HSBP Framework and encourage business and government engagement with human security.

For more on the role of the private sector in post-conflict reconstruction, read this journal article by Mary Martin and Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic of the UN Business and Human Security Initiative (subscription may be required).

What is Human Security?

Human Security is an alternative approach to traditional security which is people-centred, prevention orientated and context specific. The idea combines security, development, and human rights. 

Human security seeks to protect people against multiple and interconnected threats which affect the vital elements of everyday life. It is based on the fundamental principle that people are entitled to freedom from fear, freedom from want, dignity, and an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential.

For more information, read the IDEAS background paper on Human Security (pdf).


The UN Business and Human Security Initiative is supported by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS), established in 1999 to finance projects that translate the human security approach into practical actions and provide concrete and sustainable benefits to vulnerable people and communities threatened in their survival, livelihood and dignity.

The Human Security Business Initiative is also supported by LSE's Knowledge Exchange and Impact (KEI) fund, The Rockefeller FoundationSwissPeaceInternational AlertESSEC-Irene, Business and Human Rights, and BuildUp.