Commentary

23
January
2020

The University in the Global Age: Pt II

Exploring US Innovation

Chris Gallavin

(Part II of four parts)

In Pt I of my blog-column (6 Dec. ’19), I identified what I see as the main challenges facing tertiary education, globally.  These challenges, I suggest, have led many universities to an existential crisis as it dawns upon them that, for most, the traditional model of operation and financing has nearly run its course.  

So, what to do?

In Part II, I detail my observations of US innovation in higher education which I had the privilege of examining, as part of my experience as a 2018 Eisenhower International Fellow.

20
January
2020

Can Nuclear Disarmament Strengthen Global Security?

Building a cycle of trust

Lyndon Burford

Ten years ago, the US President reaffirmed in a major international speech that the United States sought ‘the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons’. Despite the vision, Obama didn’t say why he thought a nuclear-weapon-free world would be peaceful and secure.

So the question arises, from the perspective of nuclear-armed and allied states, can nuclear disarmament as a process and endpoint (‘nuclear-zero’) help to improve the global security environment?

18
January
2020

Towards a Theory of Everything: Pt III. Development

Initiatives towards a ‘global theory’

Kennedy Graham

(Part III of three parts)

Part II identified, in developing a ‘global theory’ for the 21st century, the following components:

  • primary features, global values, citizenship, law and governance;
  • foundational concepts of consilience and coherence, along with operational concepts of risk management and jurisdictional subsidiarity;
  • a central principle, the ecological imperative of survival, with normative socio-political principles compatible with, and subordinate to, the survival principle.

A global theory, developed through an international discourse based on ‘cultural cosmopolitanism’, would facilitate a move from the 20th c. transactional system to a 21st c. constitutional system that involved multi-layered jurisdiction. 

  • How, then, to begin such a discourse – in an age of global angst?
  • What is our contemporary, transactional, international system doing about this?
10
January
2020

Towards a Theory of Everything: Part II. Content

Components of a ‘global theory’

Kennedy Graham

[Part II of three parts]

In Part I of the above, I explored the methodological differences between the various branches of human knowledge, the idea of consilience for an underlying unity of knowledge, and what a synthesis derived from this might mean for global studies.

In this second part, I take things a step further. 

  • Is it possible to develop a theory of everything in the science, or the art, of global politics, with a set of inter-related components?
  • Might there be paradigmatic step-change towards such a theory comparable, in some manner, to the way physical science develops?

The answer is probably ‘yes, but’. 

01
January
2020

Towards a Theory of Everything: Pt I. Conceptualisation

Paradigmatic change in human knowledge

Kennedy Graham

[Part I of three parts]

We have entered an era of human crisis.  What we think and do in the future will inevitably build on, but cannot be confined to, the past.

The Centre’s Trust Deed (2012) requires it to “encourage and facilitate informed interdisciplinary research into global affairs in the 21st c. CE”.  As part of this, the Centre is to “review the history of human ideas, including the various philosophical streams of thought, whose contemporary expressions may strengthen global cooperation and unity.”

Easier said than done – but the aspiration is to clarify our future thinking, for thinking about the future.   After all, in the present historical moment we seem to have lost the plot.

Earlier columns by others are directly relevant to such an aspiration: ‘Keeping a parliamentary eye on the future’; The global university of the future; The new [digital] omnipotence; Earth Trusteeship; Responsibility to Protect.  But I get ahead of myself.

To commence with the ultimate challenge – is it possible, feasible and credible to strive for a single, over-arching, coherent, political-legal ‘theory of everything’ that can help in the creation of a global unity that guides us through this century’s crises?

It depends. 

20
December
2019

Protecting the Multilateral Order:

A global challenge; an opportunity for NZ

Colin Keating

As we approach the end of 2019, it seems that many assumptions about the robustness of multilateralism, which has underpinned New Zealand’s foreign and trade policy over the past 75 years, are under threat.

It is therefore timely, and very encouraging, to see MFAT tweeting about the importance of multilateralism this week.  #multilateralismmatters 

Can New Zealand step up to the challenge and become a leader in protecting and restoring genuine multilateralism?

19
December
2019

Big Data & Privacy:

Global-regional-national concerns

Elise Antoine

 In 2018 Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles, including 64,000 New Zealanders for political campaign purposes, using the information without consent.

The scandal illustrated how big data can put the right to privacy at risk.   This may have focused on national elections at the time, but now it reflects a global problem.  The ethical implications include the potential for privacy breach.

So, what is the global community doing about this? What about New Zealand?

18
December
2019

A Parliamentary Eye on the Future:

Global and national frameworks

Jonathan Boston

The most recent UN climate change conference (COP-25) has just completed in its usual state of indecision and rancour.  Meanwhile, the forests of Brazil and Australia, among others, are burning.  The planet is in crisis mode. Effective policy responses are urgently needed – domestically and internationally.

How well do governments in New Zealand prepare for an uncertain future in the 21st century?

How effectively does Parliament scrutinise the country’s long-term governance?

15
December
2019

Climate Challenge 2020:

Existential - political; global - national

Kennedy Graham

I was recently invited to talk to a consultancy firm about my take on the climate challenge facing both our world and our country, now that New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act is in force, and as the UN’s latest COP writhes in interminable stalemate – 25th version.

I was given various questions to address. These were my reflections.

13
December
2019

Earth Trusteeship:

State sovereignty in the Anthropocene

Klaus Bosselmann

 At the opening speech for last year’s Climate Week at the United Nations in New York, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented the Maori concept of kaitiakitanga as the key for combating climate change. She explained it in this way:

"It means guardianship. But not just guardianship, but the responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, and the idea that we have a duty of care that eventually hands to the next generation, and the one after. We all hold this responsibility in our own nations, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond the domestic. Our duty of care is as global as the challenge of climate change.”

‘Guardianship’, ‘responsibility of care’, ‘duty of care’, ‘beyond the domestic’ – what does that all mean?

Can kaitiakitanga save the planet?

07
December
2019

Multilateralism –

with Chinese Characteristics

Fraser Cameron

If you were to read the speeches and articles of Chinese leaders you might conclude there was no country on Earth more committed to multilateralism.  Certainly, China has benefited enormously from the rules-based, international system established after 1945.  How genuine is China, along with the other major powers assembled at the United Nations, in its commitment to multilateralism – 21st century-style?

06
December
2019

The University in the Global Age:

Challenges and Opportunities

Chris Gallavin

 Last year I had the privilege of travelling around the US as an Eisenhower International Fellow. The experience was the most amazing of my professional career.

In this column, I outline my Fellowship project - Global University 2.0

Let me convey what I see as the challenges facing the modern global university, the imperatives that face humanity, some of the options available for change within tertiary education and the possible form of the ‘new global university’.

03
December
2019

How to Prevent Genocide?

Early Intervention

Abbas Nazari

The best conflict is one that doesn’t happen. This blog argues that the best global approach (short of a full-fledged military intervention) to prevent a potential conflict from developing into all-out conflict is early interventionThe blog analyses a counterfactual approach to the Rwandan genocide, and how early intervention, had it been utilized, could have prevented the genocide of the Tutsi.

The memo demonstrates how heeding early 'warning signs' and  a concerted diplomatic effort could have prevented the genocide. Interspersed throughout are policy recommendations for the prevention of future conflicts.  

 

29
November
2019

Individual Rights and State Responsibilities:

R2P & the Global Community

Ramesh Thakur

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle recalibrated the relationship among and between peoples, states and the international community.

State sovereignty comes with responsibilities, domestic and international, along with privileges. Citizenship confers rights alongside responsibilities, including the right to be protected by States and, should that fail, by the international community. There is a corresponding global responsibility to protect people threatened by mass-atrocity crimes.

R2P became the normative instrument of choice for converting a shocked international conscience into collective action to prevent and stop atrocities. All of us who live in zones of safety have a duty of care to anyone and everyone trapped in zones of danger.  But how did R2P come into being, in a world of contestable values and competing interests?

29
November
2019

The new omnipotence:

Global opportunity or global threat?

Chris Williams

What is the oldest organisation within the UN? What is missing from Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’?

What fuels the richest organisations in the world?  

Is the digital revolution an opportunity, or a threat, to the emergent global community?

While reading this on a smartphone, how many of us immediately recognised the answer to all three: information and communications?

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