Public event

Strategic early warning and foresight in global security: Promises and pitfalls

Explore current approaches to early warning and foresight with Sarah Bressan (GPPI), Gil Murciano (Hertie School / Mitvim), and Marie Wagner (Welthungerhilfe) moderated by Julian Wucherpfennig (Hertie School). This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security.

Could the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas have been anticipated and prevented? Many critical junctures in international security have seemingly caught governments and other key stakeholders off guard. Examples include the Russian invasion of Ukraine (2022), the rise of ISIS (2014), the 9/11 attacks (2001), the Rwandan genocide (1993), and the collapse of the Soviet Union (1989), each resulting in devastating consequences. Foresight and early warning are thus a prime concern for governments and non-governmental agencies alike, since crisis prevention, early action, and effective humanitarian responses critically hinge on optimal assessments of future risks.

In this panel discussion, we take stock of current approaches to strategic early warning and foresight in the domain of international security, illuminating the respective promises and pitfalls.

This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security and moderated by Julian Wucherpfennig


  • Sarah Bressan is a research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin. Her work focuses on European security and foreign policy, with a particular focus on political violence, conflict early warning and prevention. Sarah was the editor of PeaceLab Blog, and an editor and podcast host for 49security, the debate platform on Germany's first national security strategy. In recent projects and publications, she covered the topics of foresight and predictive modeling in foreign and security policy, preventing violent extremism, the humanitarian-peace nexus, the future of NATO and its out of area operations, and arms control in the Western Balkans.

  • Gil Murciano is the CEO of the Israel-based think-tank Mitvim – the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. His diverse experience with the geopolitics of the Middle-East is the basis upon which he experiments with core concepts of global security and foreign policy. Between 2017-2021, he served as an expert on Israel's foreign policy and national security at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and led a Berlin-based policy initiative which aims to turn members of the Middle-Eastern diaspora into foreign policy advisers (Techne). He also served as a Fox Fellow at Yale University and still serves as a contributing member to the Israeli-Arab King's College-based Atkin Fellowship Network. He received his PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin. His dissertation analyses the influence of honor as a distinct factor in peace negotiations in the Middle East. Before moving to Berlin, he worked as a senior foreign policy analyst at the Tel-Aviv-based Reut Institute for Strategic Thinking (currently known as The Reut Group).

  • Marie Wagner is an Anticipatory Humanitarian Action Advisor at Welthungerhilfe (WHH), mainly supporting the development of Anticipatory Action plans and programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to her work at the NGO, she was a project manager at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), where she contributed to the institute’s work on humanitarian action and evaluations of international organizations. In 2023, she was also seconded by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for West and Central Africa (OCHA ROWCA) to The Gambia, focusing on improving emergency preparedness structures, mainly with the National Disaster Management Agency. She has led a feasibility study on Anticipatory Action for Malteser International and drafted the “State of Play on Early Action” reports in 2022 and 2023 for the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership. Marie Wagner also co-authored a strategic review of the German Federal Foreign Office’s anticipatory humanitarian action approach, published a working paper on how to expand Anticipatory Action to conflict situations, and gave several seminars and conference inputs on the topic.


  • Julian Wucherpfennig is Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School. His research focuses on the strategic nature of political violence and conflict processes, especially ethnic civil war and terrorism. He has been an Assistant Professor and Programme Director for Security Studies at University College London, and a postdoctoral research fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, from where he holds a PhD (2011) and an MA (2008) in political science. He has also been a Research Associate at the Gallup Organisation Europe. His PhD on ethnic conflict was awarded the ECPR Jean Blondel Prize.