Dr Farah Faizal - Small States at the Crossroads: Does the Maldives Matter?

ILAS Global Challenge lecture series

The latest in a series of Global Challenge lectures from the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


In the vast landscape of international relations, the Maldives is more than just the idyllic paradise often depicted in travel brochures. Strategically nestled amidst 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, it lies near pivotal shipping lanes, placing it at the heart of significant maritime concerns. In fact, around 80% of the world's seaborne oil trade traverses the Indian Ocean, representing one fifth of total ocean trade. Thus, the security and stability of this region—and by extension, the Maldives—are vital for numerous nations, shaping global energy security and trade dynamics.

Beyond its geographical importance, the Maldives also plays a prominent role in the global community as a member of the Commonwealth- a free association of fifty-six sovereign states, most of which were former dependencies of the United Kingdom. In light of the Commonwealth’s ethos of political values, human rights, economic and digital interconnectivity development, the internal politics and the overall political trajectory of the Maldives inherently matter to the UK.

The lecture aims to underline a crucial perspective: the Maldives exemplifies why, in the realm of global geopolitics, even small states can have significant relevance and importance.


H.E Dr Farah Faizal is the High Commissioner of Maldives to the United Kingdom and the non-resident Ambassador of Maldives to France, Ireland and Spain. She is also the Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Dr Faizal graduated from the University of Keele, UK in 1989, with a BA (Hons) degree in International Relations, and in 1991 she completed her M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Cambridge. In 1996, Dr Faizal completed a PhD in Politics from the University of Hull, UK. Her thesis was on the “Security Problems of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with particular reference to the SIDS of the Indian Ocean”. Dr Faizal co-edited a book "A clearing in the thicket: Women, Security, South Asia" published in 2005 by Sage. The book explores women's perspectives on matters of security and related policy, focusing on women in South Asia who are battling society, insecurity and violence.


This lecture will be available in person as well as online via Microsoft Teams.  For those attending in person, refreshments will be available from 6.00pm onwards.  For those attending online, please register (by no later than 5.00pm on the day of the lecture) and joining instructions with further information will follow ahead of the lecture. 

This lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.

Event date
Event Time
Salvin Room, Keele Hall and Online via MS Teams
Steve Kilner
Contact email
Contact telephone
01782 7 34449