21 March 2018

What state is global governance in?

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On 13 March, Michael Barnett, Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at the George Washington University, assessed the state of international organisations in an inaugural lecture for the Graduate Institute’s Global Governance Centre.

“There’s a tremendous amount of vitality taking place in global governance”, said Prof Barnett. “There’s a front stage of multilateralism, Trumpism and Brexitism, and there’s a back stage where a lot of interesting experimentation is going on.”

Addressing the role of international organisations as “reservoirs of hope” which give people reason to believe the world can be a better place, Prof Barnett said contemporary global governance was increasingly “informal, virtual, multi-sectored and multi-stakeholdered. If we want international organisations to symbolise progress, they need to have some texture. Public-private partnerships can’t generate the same degree of enthusiasm as the United Nations.”

Prof Barnett said that in the current global governance context, “The Graduate Institute and the Global Governance Centre are positioned well to be an intellectual pivot”. The Global Governance Centre , co-directed by professors Nico Krisch and Annabelle Littoz-Monnet, brings together Graduate Institute faculty, visiting fellows, and staff committed to advancing research on international governance and grounding it in the policy world.

Michael Barnett’s lecture is available to view below.