The colours of intervention: Mapping the world, shaping resistance

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

2024 CAP Professorial Lecture Series 
This public lecture is the second in a series of seven lectures that aim to celebrate ANU College of Asia and the Pacific esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.

About the event

Security zones – and the security regulations that come with them – are an integral part of all interventions, shaping local, everyday life both for the host population and for international expatriates. Many UN missions use security maps to define which areas are considered to be secure and which are considered to be off-bounds for their own personnel. These zones acquire – or are given – specific colours to denote certain risks in, or the particularities of, the areas. Color-coding has been used – and continued to be used – in many different UN interventions, including in Afghanistan and Iraq (‘green zones’ as secure zones for the government and the international community and adjacent ‘red zones’); in Somalia (‘green zone’ or ‘white zone’ – also known as Halane – seen as a secure zone for the government and the international community); in South Sudan and Kenya (‘blue zones’ as a location approved by UN security authorities for staff to reside); in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (‘red zones’ or areas or unrest); and in Haiti (‘yellow zone’ and ‘red zone’ as restricted areas for international personnel and ‘green zone’ as the preferred area of stay for international workers). Using colours for security risk assessment also adds a very specific and emotive dimension to security mapping, reflecting specific colour symbolisms and ‘imprinting’ these on cities and spaces, embedding a range of practices, responses, and assumptions into the everyday lives of both international and host populations. In this lecture series, Professor Lemay-Hebert will be exploring these dynamics through a discussion of a range of case studies - from Kenya to Haiti and Afghanistan - and offer a few possible research avenues for future work in this field.


  • 6-7.30pm - Academic Lecture
  • 7.30-8pm - Networking drinks and canapés

About the speaker 

Nicolas Lemay-Hébert is Professor at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific in the College of Asia and the Pacific. 

He graduated with his PhD in international relations from Sciences Po Paris (Institute for Political Studies in Paris) in 2010. Prior to joining ANU in 2019, Nicolas worked as an invited professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal and senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham. His current research interests include statebuilding and intervention issues in Asia/Pacific and beyond. He is particularly interested in local resistance to international interventions and the political economy of interventions.

Read more about the speaker here

Date and Times


Hedley Bull Building, Lecture Theatre 1
130 Garran Rd