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Roundtable on Global Governance: Challenges & Opportunities

Post-graduate Seminar  

Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik – November 19-21, 2018

The world we live in presents challenges and opportunities beyond the capacity of even the strongest, most developed nation or group of nations to effectively address without working in concert with the rest of humanity. Peace and security, climate and environmental management, immigration and population, trade and investment, technological development and employment, tax evasion and money-laundering, drug traffic and terrorism compel us to seek global solutions backed by institutions with the capacity and authority to conceive, implement and enforce them. None of these issues can be effectively addressed at the level of individual nation states pursuing their own self-interest in competition or conflict with that of other nations or by bilateral agreements or regional groups of nations. All necessitate increasing and unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration by the global community as a whole.

We live in an increasingly globalized world, yet our instruments of governance remain anchored in antiquated, flawed and largely ineffective national level institutions guided by narrow perspectives, misguided priorities, competitive strategies and mutually exclusive objectives. Global governance remains an artificial appendage or after-thought forged by the compulsions of necessity rather than consciously conceived and designed as an integral and essential component of a comprehensive and effective system for human self-governance.

Humanity and its institutions have, no doubt, evolved dramatically from the time a few centuries ago when international relations where decided by the whims of monarchs and ambitions of colonial empires, enforced by the exercise or threat of violence, enshrined in bilateral treaties and alliances, modified to suit the apparent advantages of the moment, and founded on principles of self-interest and balance of power. Today the world is governed by myriad institutions at innumerable levels, including international governmental institutions, charters, conventions, treaties, rules of law, committees, systems, multinational and national corporations, non-governmental organizations and associations relating to peace, security, justice, trade, economy, finance, transport, communication, education, science, technology, culture, religion, entertainment and other fields.

In spite of this multiplication of pathways and instruments for governance, the rapid evolution of global society continues to outpace the development of institutions to guide, monitor and manage the increasing range and magnitude of the opportunities and challenges that arise. The growing gap between the needs of humanity and its prevailing system of institutions severely retards our collective progress and threatens to undermine the foundations of peace, security, freedom and stability on which the gains of the post World War II and post Cold War world have been achieved.

This three-day roundtable and post-graduate seminar will explore the evolution of the human community and the plethora of institutions and instruments it has developed for global self-governance; the foundational principles on which it has operated; the remarkable collective benefits it has generated; the apparent failures and unresolved problems that persist; the challenges posed by rapid and uneven technological advances, depletion of resources, pollution, political instability, militarization and armed confrontation, migration, unemployment, inequality and multi-culturalism; and the opportunities generated by global systems for communication, transportation, exchange of goods and information, economic development, scientific and technological progress, social and personal relationships. It will seek to identify the underlying forces and catalysts for social evolution, the social processes responsible for previous achievements and future accomplishments, major obstacles that need to be removed and the means by which earlier impediments to human progress have been overcome in the past. It will also attempt to identify the universal values, principles, processes and strategies by which the current threats, bottlenecks, impasses and oppositions to collective human progress can be surmounted. The ultimate objective of the roundtable is to sketch the outlines of a viable pathway for the transition of global society to a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all humanity.