Power in and through connectivity

SEMINAR · 14.06.2023 13:30 - 16:40

This event concludes a two-year FIIA project on the evolving role of connectivity in the global order. Connectivity, including both “hard” infrastructure and “soft” regulatory measures, people-to-people ties or digital links, has become a key notion informing current policy strategies of the world’s major actors. The event consists of two panel discussions, each preceded by a keynote presentation. The first panel addresses the role of regulation in connectivity in general and in the digital domain in particular, and discusses the competing regulatory models in the US, China and the EU. The second panel focuses on connectivity and infrastructure development as tools for geo-economic influence in the Indo-Pacific.

If you are interested in participating the seminar, please contact: events@fiia.fi by Monday 12 June.


Welcome remarks and launch of the Special Issue of East Asia:
Bart Gaens, Leading Researcher, FIIA

Session I: Power through regulatory and digital connectivity

Anu Bradford, Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, Columbia Law School
“Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology”

Panel discussion:
Deborah McCarthy, Ambassador, ret.
Maaike Okano-Heijmans, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute

Henri Vogt, Professor, University of Turku

15:00 – 15:20 Coffee break

Session II: Will China map the future?

Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, Australian National University
“Beltway and Roadblocks: The Contest for Geoeconomic Influence in the Indo-Pacific”

Panel discussion:
Pascal Abb, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)
Wrenn Yennie-Lindgren, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Center for Asian Research, NUPI / Associate Research Fellow, UI
Mikael Mattlin, Research Professor, FIIA

Katja Creutz, Programme Director, FIIA


Welcome remarks and launch of the Special Issue of East Asia

Bart Gaens

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Bart Gaens is a Leading Researcher in the Global Security Research Programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. From May 2021 to April 2023, he leads a project on connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region. He also holds the title of Docent at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki.

In the past he has worked as Project Director for the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP), as Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Helsinki, and as Specially Appointed Associate Professor at Osaka University, Japan. He has published widely on Europe-Asia inter-regionalism and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process, Japan’s foreign policy and regional role, India’s foreign policy and relations with the EU, domestic politics in Myanmar, and security-related issues in the Indo-Pacific region. He has also (co)edited volumes and reports on connectivity, EU-Asia relations, the US-China rivalry, transatlantic relations, and Japan’s search for strategic partnerships.


Anu Bradford

Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, Columbia Law School

A leading scholar on the EU’s regulatory power and a sought-after commentator on the European Union, global economy, and digital regulation, Anu Bradford coined the term the Brussels Effect to describe the European Union’s outsize influence on global markets. Most recently, she is the author of The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World (2020), named one of the best books of 2020 by Foreign Affairs. Her next book Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology will be published by the OUP in September 2023.

Bradford is also an expert in international antitrust law. She spearheads the Comparative Competition Law Project, which has built a comprehensive global data set of antitrust laws and enforcement across time and jurisdictions. Before joining the Law School faculty in 2012, Bradford was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School. She also practiced EU and antitrust law in Brussels and has served as an adviser on economic policy in the Parliament of Finland and as an expert assistant at the European Parliament. The World Economic Forum named her Young Global Leader ’10. At the Law School, Bradford is the director of the European Legal Studies Center. She is also a senior scholar at Columbia Business School’s Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business, and a nonresident scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Panel discussion

Deborah McCarthy

Ambassador, ret.

Ambassador (ret) Deborah A. McCarthy is an expert on U.S. foreign and national security policy. Currently, she is the Senior Advisor on U.S. Engagement in the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Cybercrime in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the U.S. Department of State. She is also a non-resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Recently, she was a Senior Fellow at Harvard University.

In her diplomatic career, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania (2013-2016), Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Greece and at the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. In Washington, she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Senior Advisor for Counter Terrorism and Special Coordinator for Venezuela. Other diplomatic postings include Consul General Montreal, Economic Counselor U.S. Embassy Paris, Financial Economist U.S. Embassy Rome and assignments in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Ms. McCarthy received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and a joint M.S. in Economics and Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She serves on the Boards of the Academy of Diplomacy and of the Command and General Staff College Foundation. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the MSFS Program at Georgetown University.

Maaike Okano-Heijmans

Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute

Maaike Okano-Heijmans is a senior research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Leiden, where she has been teaching on ‘Non-Western Diplomacy’ in the MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRD) since 2012. Her main research interests are in connectivity and the geopolitics of technology and digitalisation in EU-Asia relations, with a special focus on China, Japan and the Indo-Pacific. A key question underlying much of her work is how the fourth industrial revolution reshapes international relations, and what this means for the European Union and its member states – in particular The Netherlands. Recent projects focus on digital connectivity, digital for development, China’s Digital Silk Road and Europe’s Digital Decade. In addition, since joining Clingendael in 2006, Maaike has worked on issues related to consular affairs and diplomacy – also known as 'citizen security' or 'duty of care'.


Henri Vogt

Professor, University of Turku

Henri Vogt has been Professor of International Politics at the University of Turku since 2010. He studied at the Universities of Helsinki and Oxford (St Antony's College), and received a doctorate from the latter in 2001. Before joining the Faculty in Turku, he worked, inter alia, as Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, as Director of the University of Helsinki's Network for European Studies, and as a Visiting professor of European Studies at Saarland University in Germany.


Rory Medcalf

Head, National Security College, Australian National University

Professor Rory Medcalf has been Head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University since January 2015. He has led the expansion of the College into policy engagement and futures analysis, as well as education, executive development and research, repositioning the College as 'more than a think tank'. His professional background involves three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, academia and journalism, including as founding Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute from 2007 to 2015.

In government, Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the then Office of National Assessments (now the Office of National Intelligence), Canberra’s peak intelligence analysis agency. He was also an Australian diplomat, with wide experience including a posting to New Delhi, a secondment to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, truce monitoring after the civil conflict in Bougainville and policy development on Asian security institutions.

Panel discussion

Pascal Abb

Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)

Pascal Abb is a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), focusing on how a rising China is interacting with global conflict environments. He is currently conducting a research project on the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on conflict states. His publications on this issue include "All geopolitics is local: the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor amidst overlapping centre–periphery relations“, Third World Quarterly (https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2022.2128329); and "Road to peace or bone of contention? The impact of the Belt and Road initiative on conflict states“ (with Robert Swaine and Ilya Jones), PRIF Report 1/2021 (https://www.hsfk.de/fileadmin/HSFK/hsfk_publikationen/Report0121.pdf).

Wrenn Yennie-Lindgren

Senior Research Fellow and Head of Center for Asian Research, NUPI / Associate Research Fellow, UI

Wrenn Yennie Lindgren is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Center for Asian Research at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), as well as an Associate Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI). Her main research interests are: foreign policy legitimation, international relations in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the politics and foreign policy of Japan, and Arctic diplomacy. Her recent projects have focused on Japan’s foreign and security policy legitimation; infrastructure power and responses to China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI); evolving Japan-NATO relations; Japan-Russia energy cooperation; identity politics in Sino-Japanese relations; Japan’s engagement in Myanmar; and alternative alignments in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, since joining NUPI in 2013, Wrenn has worked on issues related to Asia-Arctic diplomacy. She currently leads the multi-year project ‘Roads to Power? The political effects of infrastructure projects in Asia (ROADS)’, funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Wrenn’s work has been published in: The Pacific Review, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Asian Perspective, Asian Politics & Policy, Polar Geography, and Journal of Eurasian Studies, among others. She co-edited the volume China and Nordic Diplomacy (Routledge, 2018) and contributed chapters on Japan to Kinship in International Relations (Routledge, 2018) and The Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security (Routledge, 2020).

Mikael Mattlin

Research Professor, FIIA

Mikael Mattlin is a Research Professor in the Global Security and Governance research programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He heads FIIA’s Center on Global Orders and China (CORD). Prior to joining FIIA, he was Professor of Political Science (2021–22), Senior Lecturer of International Politics and TIAS Collegium Researcher at the University of Turku, as well as Professor of Chinese Studies (2018–19) and University Lecturer in World Politics in the University of Helsinki. Mattlin also leads the Academy of Finland funded ForAc -research project. Prof. Mattlin has published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals, e.g., The China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Information, Communication & Society, Cooperation and Conflict, Simulation & Gaming, European Political Science, Journal of Political Science Education, Asia Europe Journal and European Foreign Affairs Review.

In the spring of 2022, Prof. Mattlin published the first comprehensive Finnish-language research-based book on the Chinese political system (Vastapaino). The book was co-authored with two other leading Finnish China experts. The book is a finalist for the Science Book of the Year 2022 award.


Katja Creutz

Programme Director, FIIA

Katja Creutz is Programme Director of the Global Security and Governance research programme. She is also an Affiliated Research Fellow with the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki. Her main field of expertise is international law and especially issues of responsibility, human rights and global governance. Dr Creutz holds a Doctor of Laws degree (2015) and a Master of Laws programme degree from the University of Helsinki (2004) and a Master of Political Science from Åbo Akademi University (2000).

Creutz has previously worked as Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights of the University of Helsinki. She is the former Executive Editor of the Finnish Yearbook of International Law. She has published extensively on responsibility in international law, non-state actors, human rights and Nordic issues. Her latest academic publications include: “The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Rights Protection: Revisionist or Just Another Kid on the Block?” and “Nordic Experiences in the UN Human Rights Council: A Tour d’Horizon of 2019 with Iceland and Denmark”. She is also the author of the monograph “State Responsibility in the International Legal Order: A Critical Appraisal” (CUP, 2020).