The Wilberforce Society | Foreign Policy
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Foreign Policy


Writers: Tom Ellis, Walter Myer, Eddie Reynolds, Kartik Upadhyay

Editor: Walter Myer

Formatted by: Brendan Tan

This paper outlines a strategy to improve upon formal and informal recognition of qualifications held by refugees entering the UK. It begins with an overview of UK NARIC, the national body responsible for producing equivalence qualifications. This is followed by discussion of the problem of refugees who lack physical evidence of their qualifications upon arrival. We then turn to the problem of language acquisition, before finally considering official channels of support for refugees as they use their equivalence qualifications to seek employment.

In our conclusion, we produce a series of proposals directed towards NARIC and other organisations. These include the introduction of an assessment-based qualification recognition process; a model integrating employment with language learning; and the supplementation of NARIC’s role through government-supported initiatives for job-seeking refugees across a range of areas.

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By Qu Tianlu, Chia Jeng Yang, Beatrice Chan, Chiu Chai Hao

In this paper, we will examine briefly the background of Islamic State and its manifestation over various social media platforms. We will study how IS capitalised on the advantages conferred by each type of platform to achieve its ends. Subsequently, we will look at social reactions against these activities over social media. Most importantly, we would like to highlight the lack of coordinated UK governmental presence with social media providers to address the problem of IS. This is largely attributed to a confused relationship between the government and social media companies, which will be explored. In the last but most important part of the paper, we will offer our recommendations for a possible framework in which governmental bodies and social media companies could cooperate with minimal compromise of privacy and security. Our strategy involves directly engaging IS over social media platforms to regain the attention of youths in the short-run, assisting social media companies in mining and analyzing big data from their databases, followed by utilising the data to identify and respond to potential recruits. We believe that this will not only completely take apart IS’ social media campaign but also construct a foundation over which the government and social media companies could work together against any future threats.

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Whilst based in Cheltenham GCHQ evidently operates communications surveillance across both the UK and the wider world. The recent allegations of a GCHQ run listening post at Britain’s German Embassy would seem to support the suggestion that the organisation is involved in collecting data for defending Britain’s interests, in a wider sense than the “What we do” page of the GCHQ website implies, with its focus on the threats faced. Furthermore, it implies a physical geographical extension which is not apparent from the neat division of the services previously attested to.

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The most noteworthy aspect of the recent political revolutions in the Arab world is that there is nearly always a failure to suddenly superimpose a democratic style of government based on Western political constitutional foundations onto a set of domestic government institutions. Here, I argue that there is a need to consider the notion of a ‘learning equilibrium’ — to recognise that it takes time for institutions and socio-economic agents to adapt their expectations about the new state of governing such that a stable democratic political environment is generated. I conclude with a generic road-map detailing a general pathway for which this learning equilibrium can be attained.

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This paper argues for a radical shift in the UK’s policy towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC), aiming at a political relationship that transcends the motivation of economic opportunism. It sets out two proposals which present an alternative to the current policy of containment. Instead they promote a relationship of trust and constructive engagement on issues where progress has been lacking for too long.

The first proposal calls on the UK government to recommit itself to the democratic development of its former colony of Hong Kong and to establish a Hong Kong Affairs Liaison Committee as a platform for exchange on this issue. Within this low-key framework of dialogue, the UK should negotiate a quid pro quo which would see the Chinese government put forward a credible roadmap to democracy in Hong Kong along the lines of its 2007 commitment. In exchange, the United Kingdom would lead the European Union in lifting the 1989 arms embargo on the PRC.

Going beyond the issue of Hong Kong, the second proposal calls on the UK to lead an ambitious and creative international effort to resolve the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea by establishing three nature reserves around the disputed Spratly, Paracel and Pratas islands. A focus on conservation and the creation of a sustainable maritime management system will serve as a precedent of cooperation while effectively suspending the sovereignty dispute.

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The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is often eclipsed by the overriding demands of handling communicable diseases in the developing world. Developing countries are faced with a double burden of disease as they begin to face an increasing encumbrance from NCDs during an earlier phase of economic development than their high-income counterparts. The solution is of course, in the timeworn policy: prevention. However, unlike communicable diseases, the risk factors for NCDs are often flared up by lifestyle choices and change must therefore come from within the people.

This paper recommends that in order to achieve maximum return on investment, governments must recognise that changes in lifestyle are best achieved through a marketing approach, where the environment is modified in ways that make healthier actions the easier choices. This marketing model has been analysed under the 4P framework of marketing, looking at a variety of existing interventions around the world, and thereby constructing novel and exciting policy recommendations.

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Twitter: #TWSTunisia

The Wilberforce Society is proud to announce the release of its largest project of 2012, a Comprehensive Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia, commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. The Report features a new constitutional framework for Tunisia, supported by in-depth research.

“An impressive Constitution.”
Constitutional Law Professor and Supreme Court advocate, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, on TWS’s project.


Media coverage includes article at Tunisia Live.

Press release

Contact: Mr. George Bangham
Telephone: +44(0)7854 392060


Commissioned Think Tank is the Only U.K. Group to Draft a Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Constitution of Tunisia

The Wilberforce Society (TWS) is pleased to release the product of its largest commissioned project to date. Today, it publishes a comprehensive report, comprising a constitutional framework for Tunisia and in-depth supplementary research.

The report was commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Office of the General Rapporteur in early 2011. The Wilberforce Society’s proposed Draft and analysis may now be viewed at <>.

TWS’s report has been produced by an able team of 26 experts and students, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The Project was led by Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, TWS’s senior advisor and the chief draftsperson, and Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of the Society. They have received consultation and briefing from lawyers, economists, diplomats and political advisors in Tunisia and around the world.

Dr. Dasgupta and Mr. Bangham jointly issued a statement describing the report as “TWS’s most ambitious project to date, and a rare and fascinating opportunity for scholarship to combine with real-life political change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring”. During their fieldwork in Tunisia, and North Africa generally, the Project utilised influencer analysis, social media analysis, scenario planning, future analysis, and crowdsourcing from Tunisian academics, politicians, NGOs, and citizens.

This Constitutional Draft is set apart from other submissions in three respects. First, it takes a vigorous stance against public as well as private corruption. Second, in Article 18 proposes restrictions on the injection of corporate and foreign funding into Tunisian elections. Third, it promotes a very clear separation of powers and some of the Executive’s non-unilateral powers. The accompanying documents lay out in extensive detail the political and economic choices that confront the Tunisian people as well as the need to balance constitutional permanence and flexibility.

A TEDx event, with the new Constitutional Draft as its centerpiece, will be held in 2013. The event will broadly address the stimulating theme of The Failure Paradox. More information will be released soon.

About The Wilberforce Society
The Wilberforce Society, the first student-run think tank to be established in the UK, is the country’s leading student-run think tank. It has no political affiliation, incorporating the wide range of views of students at the University of Cambridge. TWS links students with policymakers around the UK and beyond, publishing work in the last year on topics as varied as homelessness in Cambridge and the UK National Security Council. Papers have received significant media and political attention. More information can be found on the TWS website,


Contact details
For more information on the Tunisia Project, and for general information on TWS or other media enquiries including interviews, please contact:

Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of TWS

Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, Senior Advisor to the Constitution Project

Mr. Millad Matin, Director for Press

Project history

For the proposed Constitution TWS took special care to consult with lawyers and political experts from Cambridge and around the world. With its members drawn from the very ablest of Cambridge University’s students, this project proved to be TWS’s most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date.

The research involved the drafting of a new constitutional framework, with the accompanying research divided into 5 key themes:

1. Separation of Powers

2. Judicial Independence and Judicial Review

3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities

4. Democracy and Fair Elections

5. Anti-Corruption Laws and Practices

An international consultation

TWS’s involvement in this project was supported by its extensive network of academics, diplomats, politicians and think-tanks, with whom it will share research and findings. It is hoped that the involvement of a student think-tank in the Tunisian Constitutional Framework will help provide new and unexpected insights into the drafting of a 21st-century constitution, and the students involved will aim to apply their academic interests and expertise to the project’s benefit.

Research in Tunis

Representatives of the TWS Panel spent summer 2012 carrying out political research in Tunis. Amongst many meetings with representatives of Tunisian politics and civil society, they consulted the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Mehdi Mabrouk, and representatives from the major political parties (including Ennahda and Ettakatol) and the UGTT, Tunisia’s trade union syndicate. Meetings were also held with independent observers including Tunisia Live news, The Carter Center Tunis, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The TWS Tunisia Constitution Panel submitted its report to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012. For more information on the project, please contact the Project co-ordinators, Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta ( and George Bangham (

About Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta

Dr. Riddhi Sohan Dasgupta has recently completed a PhD in Expropriation in International Investment Regimes at the University of Cambridge. He studied for a first degree at Columbia University, New York, before completing his MSc at the University of Oxford. His Doctoral dissertation is to be published shortly as a book entitled “International Interplay: Future of Expropriation Across International Dispute Settlement.”

For more information please visit Dr. Dasgupta’s website.

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TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email for more information.

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A new paper by George Bangham and Sarang Shah, examining the UK’s National Security Council since its formation by David Cameron in 2010.

Locating the NSC’s formation in wider debates on the UK’s constitution, the executive authority of the Prime Minister within Cabinet government, and the role of military intelligence in policymaking, it proposes two major changes to the NSC’s role and its associated regulatory framework.

Firstly, it is proposed that the NSC be placed on a statutory footing as an amendment to current legislation in the Intelligence Services Act (1994). Defining the NSC’s existence and requiring its decision on certain executive powers such as the declaration of war would, in this paper’s estimation, act as a valuable constitutional check on Prime Ministerial power.

Secondly, a strengthened framework is proposed for the regulation of the NSC by Parliament, though the Intelligence & Security Committee. The case is made that, if national security in the 21st century may be defined as a public confidence that normal life may be conducted without personal or national danger, the public interest is served by more open scrutiny of high-level security policy, thereby increasing public confidence and accountability.

The authors are grateful for the help of Lord Wilson of Dinton, Professor Christopher Andrew, The Rt Hon. Jack Straw MP, and the members of the Wilberforce Society in their seminar.

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