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Past events

Ukraine report 200x200

What Unites Ukrainians? 

Ukraine has long been portrayed as a divided country, split along linguistic, ethnic and historical lines. However, following the Euromaidan revolution, several studies have shown the strength of civic identity in Ukraine, and that the regional variability of social attitudes is far more nuanced than the supposed east-west dichotomy. 

A groundbreaking new study by the Arena Initiative based at the LSE Institute of Global Affairs and Johns Hopkins University has investigated what lies beneath propaganda-driven divides in Ukraine. This webinar features a discussion with leading experts in sociology and media production, debunking the myth of divided Ukraine and exploring the latest social research on what unites and motivates Ukrainians.

Watch the event here

LSE Fest 1

Propaganda and Democratic Resistance

Peter Pomerantsev will be in dialogue with Dr Shakuntala Banaji and Darren Moon to discuss propaganda and the internet, in the context of social media’s manipulation of voters in political influence campaigns. Chaired by Professor William A. Callahan.

This event forms part of the “Shape the World” series, held in the run up to the LSE Festival, a week-long series of events taking place from 2 to 7 March 2020, free to attend and open to all, exploring how social sciences can make the world a better place.



This is Not Propaganda

Peter Pomerantsev will be in dialogue with Sophia Gaston to discuss his latest book This is Not Propaganda – Adventures in the War Against Reality.

This event forms part of the “Shape the World” series, held in the run up to the LSE Festival, a week-long series of events taking place from 2 to 7 March 2020, free to attend and open to all, exploring how social sciences can make the world a better place. The full  programme will be available online from January 2020.


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'Journalism in an age of populism and polarisation: lessons from the migration debate in Italy’

24th June 2019, 2:00pm | 9.04 Pethick-Lawrence House, LSE

Following the launch of the report of the same name, Arena held a workshop in partnership with Italian Newspaper Corriere della Sera and the University of Venice. Different approaches to writing about migration in Italy were discussed, begging the following question: How can one cover such issues in a way that promotes civil engagement, enhances trust and a fact-based discourse?

Guests included senior editors and journalists from the BBC, Observer, Financial Times and others.


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Hard Truths: democracy and disinformation

How disinformation is undermining democracy and what to do about it.

The panel was comprised of:

  • Oliver Bullough, journalist and author specialising in financial crime and the former Soviet Union. His latest book is Moneyland, why crooks and thieves now rule the world and how to take it back.
  • Max Fisher, writes The Interpreter, a news column and newsletter that explore the ideas and context behind major world events. Based in London, he uses political science and social science to examine and explain topics from authoritarianism to arms control. He has reported from a range of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
  • Peter Pomerantsev, LSE IGA Senior Fellow and co-director of Arena. He is an author and TV producer. He specialises on propaganda and media development, and has testified on the challenges of information war to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the UK Parliament Defense Select Committee.
  • Anne Applebaum (Chair), LSE IGA Professor in Practice and co-director of Arena. Anne is a journalist and prize-winning historian with a particular expertise in the history of communism and the experience of post-communist “democratization” in the Soviet Union and central Europe. She runs 'Arena', a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda, and is building the Transformation Lab, a program focused on the political and economic transformation of individual countries.
  • Damian Tambini, Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, where he also serves as Research Director and Programme Director for the MSc Media and Communications (Governance). Dr Tambini is an expert in media and communications regulation and policy, and active in policymaking as well as academic research.


Reintegrating Europe Arena events

Is this the New Normal? LSE-IGA Arena democracy doubleheader

"Reintegrating Europe"

13th June 2018, 6:30pm | Vera Anstey, Old Building, LSE

Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies) and Sergei Guriev (EBRD) in conversation with LSE IGA's Anne Applebaum on: Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the future of liberal democracy.

In his latest book, "After Europe", renowned public intellectual Ivan Krastev reflects on the future of the European Union—and its potential lack of a future. With far-right nationalist parties on the rise across the continent and the United Kingdom planning for Brexit, the European Union is in disarray and plagued by doubts as never before. Krastev includes chapters devoted to Europe's major problems (especially the political destabilization sparked by the more than 1.3 million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia), the spread of right-wing populism (taking into account the election of Donald Trump in the United States), and the thorny issues facing member states on the eastern flank of the EU (including the threat posed by Vladimir Putin's Russia). He concludes by reflecting on the ominous political, economic, and geopolitical future that would await the continent if the Union itself begins to disintegrate.



Recreating the Public Sphere Arena events

Is this the New Normal? LSE-IGA Arena democracy doubleheader

"Recreating the public sphere"

6th June 2018, 6:30pm | Vera Anstey, Old Building, LSE

Yascha Mounk (Center for European Studies, Harvard University) and Sophie Gaston (Demos) in conversation with LSE IGA's Anne Applebaum and Peter Pomerantsev on: polarisation, democratic decline, the disintegration of the public sphere - and what we should do about it.

The evening will kick off with an overview of Yascha Mounk's new book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It, in which he addresses the dwindling trust in politics. Citizens are falling out of love with their political system. Democracy is wilting away. Drawing on vivid stories and original research, Mounk identifies three key drivers of voters’ discontent: stagnating living standards, fears of multiethnic democracy, and the rise of social media. People vs. Democracy is the first book to go beyond a mere description of the rise of populism. In plain language, it describes both how we got here and where we need to go. For those unwilling to give up on either individual rights or the popular will, Mounk shows, there is little time to waste: this may be our last chance to save democracy.


Arena Launch

Democracy, Disinformation- and what comes next: Arena Launch

Wednesday, 7th February 2018, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Anne Applebaum, LSE IGA Professor in Practice, introduced LSE Arena, an initiative which analyses the root causes of distorted information, polarisation and hate speech and creates the counter response.

Professor Applebaum chaired this event which brought together parliamentarians, technologists and journalists to explain the multi-faceted threat disinformation poses to democracy and outlined Arena’s strategy for building a practical response. The panel discussed the role of policy-makers, tech companies and activists in combatting disinformation in the twenty-first century as well as outline LSE Arena’s role in this debate.

The panel was comprised of:

  • Peter Pomerantsev, Arena co-founder and Senior Fellow at the LSE IGA, an author and TV producer. He specialises on propaganda and media development.
  • Liam Byrne MP, British Labour Party politician who has been Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill since 2004. He is the Shadow Digital Minister. Before entering politics, Liam was a Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard Business School and a technology entrepreneur.
  • Baroness Shields (Joanna Shields), OBE, British-American technology industry veteran who served as a UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security and Under-Secretary of State from 2015-2017. In 2016, Baroness Shields was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Internet Safety.


Red Famine US Cover

Red Famine: Stalin's war on Ukraine, and why it still matters

In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. Professor in practice Anne Applebaum explored how and why this happened, and explained its lasting importance.