11 May 2018

Annabelle Littoz-Monnet’s UNESCO research honoured at UN in Geneva

On 4 May, the UN Library hosted an event honouring Graduate Institute professor Annabelle Littoz-Monnet and Mark Goodale of University of Lausanne, co-winners of this year's Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) International Geneva Award.

Prof Littoz-Monnet, who co-directs the Institute's Global Governance Centre, received the award for her journal article "Expert Knowledge as a Strategic Resource: International Bureaucrats and the Shaping of Bioethical Standards."

"I started becoming interested in International Organizations, bureaucratic expansion and the role of expert knowledge in all this because I felt that existing explanations of how IOs expand their activities into new fields did not always capture how these processes worked in practice”, says Prof. Littoz-Monnet. “Existing explanations of mission creep assume that IOs expand in those areas that connect with their mandates, sense of organizational mission, and sphere of expert authority."

"In my article, I show that entrepreneurial bureaucrats can succeed—in the absence of policy deadlock among states—in creating creep in unexpected issue domains that relate neither to their mandate, nor to their natural sphere of expert authority.  In the case of UNESCO's mission creep in bioethics, working with external experts endowed UNESCO with the capacity to act, gave epistemic authority to its actions, and prevented the politicization of debates in a potentially controversial issue domain."

The International Geneva Award, awarded annually for research related to international studies, was established to encourage research scientists to produce publications that are particularly relevant for International Organisations.