It is our pleasure to present the speakers at the Nordic Security Conference 2017, taking place in Oslo on May 6-7th, hosted by YATA Norway.

The biggest annual event in our calendar has a great line-up of speakers on a wide range of topics under this year’s theme: NATO and Russia in a Changing World. See the full programme announcement here.

We are proud to give a further presentation of some of our distinguished speakers. More presentations will follow in the next few days. Please have a read and get excited for NorSec 2017 – we sure are!


Kjell Dragnes – Former Foreign Policy Editor in Aftenposten, correspondent and freelancer. 

Kjell Dragnes is a former foreign policy editor for the major Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, and a freelancer since 2014. He is a former correspondent in both Moscow and London with more than 40 years experience in the news business.

Mr. Dragnes graduated from the University of Oslo in 1973 with cand.mag in Russian, English, Geography and Political Science. He also attended the Norwegian National Defence College 1992-93. Among his special fields are: energy politics, security and defence, Russian affairs, the Arctic, as well as East-West relations. Kjell Dragnes is a Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland.

At NorSec 2017 Kjell Dragnes will be speaking on the topic “US – Russia relations in the Trump era – What does this mean for Europe?”.


Tor Bukkvoll – Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment.

Tor Bukkvoll has studied political developments in Russia and Ukraine since the mid-1990s, especially in the areas of defence and security. He speaks Russian and Ukrainian, and obtained his PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Mr. Bukkvoll was a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War program at the University of Oxford in 2008, worked as an associate professor of international relations at the Norwegian Military Academy 1996-1999, and has previously worked at Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO).

Recent publications: “Military Innovation Under Authoritarian Government – the Case of Russian Special Operations Forces”, 2015, Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 38, No. 5, pp. 602-625, and “Why Putin went to war: ideology, interests and decision-making in the Russian use of force in Crimea and Donbas”, 2016, Contemporary Politics, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 267-282.

At NorSec 2017 Tor Bukkvoll will be speaking on the topic “No end in sight for the Ukrainian crisis?”.


Charlotte Brandsma – Program Officer at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States’ Mediterranean Policy Program.

Charlotte Brandsma joined the GMF of the US in 2011. Based in Brussels, she coordinates GMF’s work on the Mediterranean region, mainly focusing on EU and US relations with the Mediterranean, NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, China’s presence in the Mediterranean, and energy security in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Among other, Ms. Brandsma manages GMF’s Eastern Mediterranean Energy Project, which aims to promote the conditions for the peaceful development of new energy opportunities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Charlotte Brandsma is a member of the OSCE New-Med network and an Associate Scholar at the Mediterranean Seminar research network. Prior to joining GMF, Charlotte worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels on the European Neighbourhood Policy, human rights and migration policy.

At NorSec 2017 Charlotte Brandsma will be speaking on the topic “Russia – A new Great Power in the Middle East?”.


Kate Bundt Hansen – Secretary General at the Norwegian Atlantic Committee.

Kate Bundt Hansen has been the Secretary General of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee since 2010. She is a political science graduate from the University of Oslo, with additional studies from the Humboldt University in Berlin. Bundt Hansen was a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) from 1990–1993. She was Research Director at “Europa-programmet”, an Oslo-based think tank, from 1993–2006, and has worked as an independent researcher, a lecturer, writer, and commentator of European affairs from 2006.

In 2009 Bundt Hansen graduated from the Senior Executive Course at the Norwegian Defence University College. She has been a member of several Government appointed review committees. She has been Chair of the board at NUPI since May 2014, and the vice-president of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) since December 2014.

At NorSec 2017 Kate Bundt Hansen will be delivering words of welcome on behalf of the Norwegian Atlantic Comittee, under which YATA Norway is organised.


Jo Inge Bekkevold – Head of Centre for Asian Security Studies at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.

Jo Inge Bekkevold is the Head of Centre for Asian Security Studies at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS). His research focuses on China’s rise, Asian Security, China – Russia relations and naval developments in Asia.

Mr. Bekkevold’s publications include: International Order at Sea: How it is challenged. How it is maintained with Geoffrey Till (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016), China in the Era of Xi Jinping: Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges with Robert S. Ross (Georgetown University Press, 2016), Security, Strategy and Military Change in the 21st Century: Cross-Regional Perspectives with Ian Bowers and Michael Raska (CASS Military Studies Series, Routledge, London, 2015) and Arctic: Commerce, Governance and Policy (Routledge, London, 2015).

Mr. Bekkevold is a former career diplomat, with several postings to East Asia for the Norwegian Foreign Service.

At NorSec 2017 Jo Inge Bekkevold will be speaking on the topic “The strategic partnership between Russia and China – A growing threat?”.


 Andrew Byrne – Minister Counsellor at the European Union’s Delegation to Norway.

Andrew Byrne is a career official of the European Union (EU). Mr. Byrne is currently the Head of the Political Affairs, Press and Information Section at the EU’s Delegation to Norway. He has also served as the European Commission’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the International Organisations in Rome and to the United Nations Organisations in Vienna.

Mr. Byrne has held a series of posts at EU Headquarters in Brussels. His most recent work has been on conflict prevention and peace-building issues.

At NorSec 2017 Andrew Byrne will be speaking on the topic “A Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy”.


Jakub M. Godzimirski – Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

Mr. Godzimirski has been working in the field of Russian foreign and security policy issues at the NUPI for more than 20 years, paying special attention to the role of energy resources in Russian grand strategy.

In addition, Mr. Godzimirski has worked on European policy and its impact on developments in Central and Eastern Europe, including relations with Russia. He is currently working on a collaborative research project between NUPI and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), entitled “Security in Europe – Polish and Norwegian Perspectives”, which has the main goal of mapping the Polish and Norwegian approaches toward various types of security related challenges in the European and regional context.

At NorSec 2017 Jakub M. Godzimirski will be speaking on the topic “The de facto state factor in Russian foreign and security policy”.


More presentations of the speakers at the Nordic Security Conference 2017 to follow!

See you at the conference May 6-7th in Oslo.