– Lecture Series 2013-14
‘Dispersed Power in a World in Transition’
Globalisation has changed the world. Geopolitical changes, such as the increasing worldwide economic power of China and the growing influence of emerging countries in the South, have been widely discussed. We are living in an interconnected and therefore interdependent world, where previous distinctions like rich-poor, developed-developing, north-south have become diffused and ambiguous.
The changing world order has not only affected the balance of power between states: there are more fundamental consequences. The state as the most powerful institution is challenged. Non-state actors like the private sector, especially multinationals, and civil society have become more important, and within countries local authorities representing megacities are becoming powerful actors apart from national authorities.
That process has been subject of the SID-lecture series in previous years. In the 2011-2012 lecture series the role of the state has been the focus of the discussions. In 2012-2013 SID took it a step further by looking at the future of international cooperation for development. After reflecting on the future of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) framework, we looked at the rapidly increasing role of the private sector in international cooperation and sustainable development.
The assumption that international relations are shaped and managed mainly by states through international (bilateral, multilateral) agreements, has to be questioned. The revolution caused by internet and other new means of communication, links citizen and communities to each other in a direct way. It takes just a second and a few mouse clicks to inform people at the other side of the world on what is happening on Tahrir square in Egypt or in a village in East-Congo. Multinational corporations are managing their fragmented processes of production outside the control of the state, and financial transactions, executed in a split second, have become a global power on their own.
The role of citizens as actors in international cooperation has been underrated, despite their importance in shaping the new world order. The direct contact of citizens all over the world by travelling and by internet, and the effect this has on the international environment, has increased impressively. Migrants are reshaping their host country, and are also influencing the development of their country of origin. Civil society organisations (BRAC, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, etcetera) are more and more becoming global organisations. On a daily basis, new private initiatives start to adopt projects in developing countries.
The notion of global citizenship is the result of this increasing interconnectedness.
In an era in which managing global public goods is important, we need such a global citizenship of people who are aware of global threats like climate change, water scarcity, the challenge of food production and the problem of biodiversity loss. Global citizenship could provide the basis for a global response, understood and supported by these global citizens.
On the other hand, there seems to be a growing gap between the interests of citizens/individuals and the globalising world. Dealing with private interests and critical voices of the ‘localists’ (coined by Cuperus in his 12 March 2012 SID-lecture), is one of the most important challenges of national governments and regional alliances such as the European Union. In the globalising world citizens seem to feel themselves unprotected, delivered to the vicissitudes of life, which seems to provoke a counter reaction of protecting and securing their own identity, and to growing nationalism.
Part I of the 2013-2014 lecture series looks at the changing political power patterns in international relations with a focus on the increasing power of cities and regional power-blocks, on South-South and tri-angular cooperation and the response of The Netherlands to these changing patterns of international relations.
Part II, starting in February 2014, will look at the power of citizens and communities in international relations, with discussions including the role of global citizens and how they respond to global challenges, the relationship between states and citizens, and individual solutions to global development patterns.
Programme Part I: Dealing with the changing role of political power in international relations
1: 23 September 2013 | Introduction: Geo-politics and changing power relations
Speaker: Prof. Jan Aart Scholte, Professor in Politics and International Studies, Centre for Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick
World politics today is seeing a number of power shifts. Among states there are redistributions of power with the rise of so-called ’emerging countries’. In addition, there are re-scalings of power with the rise of local, regional and global governance actors alongside national states. Also, power in world politics is increasingly shared between official and nonofficial actors such as business corporations and civil society organisations. What do these changes mean for the future shape of diplomacy and indeed the very governability of society and its many pressing global policy challenges?
2: 28 October 2013 | South-South alliances and tri-angular cooperation
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Renu Modi, Senior lecturer and former director, Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai
The emerging countries have distanced themselves from the traditional development model and the DAC framework of the OECD. They are advocating for south-south cooperation as a new way of contributing to development based on equality and shared experiences. What’s new in their approach and what do we learn from this south-south cooperation?
3: 11 November 2013 | Increasing power of urban agglomerations
Speaker: Dr Benjamin Barber, Author of ‘If Mayors Ruled the World’
In almost every country we see a convergence of power (economic, cultural, intellectual, social) in just one or a few cities. The power in countries is not evenly dispersed and large cities are becoming increasingly influential. This is happening in Europe and the US, but perhaps even more in developing countries. They often have their own international relations and their own ‘department of foreign affairs’ bypassing or even competing with the ministry of foreign affairs in their country. What is the agenda of these cities and how do they view their relations with governments and other non-state actors?
4: 9 December 2013 | Regional perspectives on international relations
Speaker: Dr. Marc Atouga, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment & Water Resources
The role of the nation-state is from one side threatened by big and powerful cities, and from the other side by regional alliances: European Union, African Union, Mercosur. Is the new geopolitics becoming geopolitics of regions? Are regions better equipped to act in the globalising world and to align with international non-state actors like multinationals, and the international civil society?
5: TUESDAY 21 January 2014 | Closing Session: “Welcome to the New World”. How does The Netherlands respond to the new context?
Speaker: Dr. Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
How can The Netherlands anticipate and respond to this changing pattern of international relations? The Netherlands is a small country in size but it has a broad international network and is an economic power that is still relevant. Does cooperation with corporate sector and civil society play a role?
Programme Part II: The political power of citizens and communities in international relations
6: 10 February 2014 | Introduction: Citizen’s at the centre of the globalising world
Speaker: Dr. Harry C. Boyte, Director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College
Can the ‘globalising world’ become a citizen’s world, with citizens the foundational agents of democratic society? Will this require international movements for ‘people’s power’ beyond the nation state, such as proposed by Europeans now? Will this involve radical rethinking of the meaning of citizenship and education, bringing work and worksites to the centre of citizenship, transforming education to educate for careers as citizen teachers, citizen business owners, citizen clergy – even civil servants who see themselves as citizens first? What would citizen-centred democracy and a citizen-centred world look like?
7: 17 March 2014 | The empowered citizen: implications of increased connectivity
Speaker: Jessica Colaco, Mobile and Robotics Technology Evangelist, iHub Research Director, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, and Mobile Boot Camp Kenya
One of the most booming sectors in the world is air travel. Travelling has become cheap and more and more remote destinations have become accessible. A lot of young people spend part of their education at the other side of the world for an internship or just travelling and exploring another part of our globe. And you need not to travel physically to become part of other realities. Internet and social media are connecting you in a personal way with people in other countries. It has boosted the engagement of people with problems and challenges elsewhere, enhancing international cooperation in an unprecedented way, bypassing traditional development organisations. At the same time, notwithstanding increased connectivity, in many parts of the world the young educated and well-travelled opt to stay in their own region to use their skills for the development of their own country. What is the role of empowered citizens in our globalized world?
8: 14 April 2014 | Learning from a stagnating economy: individual solutions to changing global development patterns
Speaker: Prof. Enrique Lluch Frechina, Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU, Valencia
The southern European countries suffer from the worst post-war economic and financial crisis, with major social consequences. Especially the younger generation has bleak outlooks for their future. Some look for individual solutions such as jobs in faraway countries in and outside Europe (Brazil, Angola). To what extent are individuals returning to their own communities (family, religious communities, village communities), which become increasingly important taking up their ‘traditional’ role as support structure for the victims of the current crisis? What lessons are there for the (former) developing countries?
9: 19 May 2014 | A local focus: the citizen’s role in changing global development patterns
Speaker: Dr. Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah , Secretary General of CIVICUS, World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Do emerging countries offer new opportunities for their citizens? Whereas in Europe the withdrawal of the state creates a new reality for citizens, how is the state-citizen relationship developing in these more autocratic emerging countries. Being part of the globalising world from the beginning of their rapid development, does that influence the space for citizens? What is the role of citizens and civil society organisations in the development of these emerging countries? How global are they in their scope of activities?
10: 16 June 2014 | Panel Discussion: Balancing local-regional-global. Bridging the gap between interests of individuals and international development
Speakers to be confirmed
The traditional role of states as acting on behalf of their citizens is bypassed by citizens and communities developing their own pattern of relationships all over the world. Local communities, megacities, multinational corporations, citizens and civil society are finding their own way in the global village. Where are the benefits in this new development? Are we entering into a chaotic reality of social patterns and if so, would that be disastrous? Or do we see new threats in this changing reality of relationships.