Public Lectures and Seminars from the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. The Oxford Martin School brings together the best minds from different fields to tackle the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
Human security versus national security: have we lost our capacity for collective action?
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, explores the implications of growing paralysis, polarisation and uncertainty for a world in a race against time to achieve systemic and transformational change. Conflicts, climate change, rising inequalities…. the list of crises is long and growing.
But it doesn’t really matter what we call this unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become the dominant force shaping the planet. Whether this is the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Humans – or the “Era of Poly-crises”, what matters is that it is real, changing our lives at extraordinary speed and challenging our post-war institutional architecture. At a time of unprecedented interdependence, are we losing our capacity for collective problem-solving and effective global governance? With the UN and Bretton Woods Institutions in the crosshairs of both governments and citizens for chronic failures in preventing conflict, climate change or the current financial/debt crisis, what hope is there for multilateralism in a multipopular world? How will citizens and institutions respond and what would it take to rebuild trust and confidence?
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, will explore the implications of growing paralysis, polarisation and uncertainty for a world in a race against time to achieve systemic and transformational change. Drawing on a range of contemporary and contested policy arenas such as decarbonising our economies, reforming the international financial system and harnessing the disruptive power of technology and innovation, he will present ‘signals’ that imply fundamentally different future scenarios for ‘human security’ vs ‘national security’.
Following his presentation, Achim Steiner will join Baroness Valerie Amos, Master of University College, to debate how paradigm shifts in geopolitics and economic orthodoxy can be achieved and how to build political movements and momentum - less focused on competition and confrontation and more on shared interest, cooperation and co-investing in our collective ability to tackle inequality and sustainability.
The United Nations and the prevention of mass atrocities in the 21st Century: some challenges and opportunities
Adama Dieng, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, July 2012 to July 2020, discusses the UN's role in the global collective responsibility to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities. Adama considers how the UN can learn from the past and take effective action to prevent mass violence set against a background of increasing commission of atrocity crimes globally, a rise in hate speech, identity-based discrimination and intolerance. He will also explore the UN's continued crucial role in de-escalating conflicts and the challenges that are preventing humanity from achieving its goal of a world without genocide and other atrocity crimes.
Time To Look Up – in conversation with Rt Hon Sir Alok Sharma about the climate crisis
After a summer of extreme heatwaves, devastating wildfires and deadly flooding across the world, all made worse by climate change, the Rt Hon Sir Alok Sharma, President of COP26 in Glasgow 2021, will discuss the ongoing climate crisis. In the run up to COP28, Sir Alok will describe his hopes for the summit and his views on the future of the COP process, as well as the role of the UK in international climate policy. He will explore the importance of business in tackling climate change, and the challenges of financing the scale of climate action required. And climate action requires a facilitating political environment: how strong is the climate agenda and how much support does it have amongst citizens and in the private sector.
Speaker: Rt Hon Sir Alok Sharma, President of COP26 in Glasgow 2021
In conversation with: Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin School,
Can international humanitarian organisations adapt to face the challenges of this century?
Yves Daccord, former CEO of the International Committee of the Red Cross, joins us at the Oxford Martin School. The history of humanitarianism is one of vulnerabilities, power, mobilisation and adaptation.
This has been true since humanitarian aid became an industry in its own right and continues to be so today.
The reaffirmed sovereignty of states, the zero risk practices of the major donors, and the rapidly changing needs and expectations of people and communities affected by wars and disasters are all challenges to the relevance of international humanitarian action. From Kiev to Damascus, from Bamako to New York, the adaptation of the humanitarian organisations will have to be radical. Join Yves Daccord, Executive Chairman of the Edgelands Institute & Former CEO of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as he asks 'is that still possible?'.
Panel Discussion 'The age of the strongman: populism and authoritarianism in global politics'
A discussion on leaders and populism with Lord Patten, Gideon Rachman, Margaret MacMillan and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira Since the beginning of the millennium, when Vladimir Putin took power in Russia, authoritarian leaders have come to dominate global politics.
Self-styled strongmen have risen to power in Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh and Washington. These leaders are nationalists and social conservatives, with little tolerance for minorities, dissent or the interests of foreigners. At home, they encourage a cult of personality and claim to stand up for ordinary people against globalist elites; abroad, they posture as the embodiments of their nations. And they are not just operating in authoritarian political systems but have begun to emerge in the heartlands of liberal democracy.
This panel’s distinguished speakers will address the following questions: How and why did this new style of strongman leadership arrive? How likely is it to lead to global war or economic collapse? Most pressingly, we will be asking: are liberal societies, beset by internal turmoil and their own strongman dynamics, capable of checking and reversing this trend?
This was a joint event with the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance.
The state of the African state: Where has it come from and where is it going
Nick Westcott, Director of the Royal African Society, discusses the African State. African states have been in flux since long before colonial powers carved up the continent into bite-sized chunks at the end of the 19th century.
In the 60 years since most became independent, new trends have emerged. Some have reflected history, both colonial and pre-colonial, from ethnic rivalries and migrating populations to authoritarian structures, extractive institutions and irrational borders.
Others reflect new dynamics both local and global - economic imbalances, demographic dynamism, changing climate and a changing balance of global power. But in particular there is a shift in the ideological basis of the state: how do people view it, what do they expect and what do governments think they should do?
This is a joint event with the Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance