2014 | THESSALONIKI: The Limits of Global Governance

IAPSS World Congress 2014

“The Limits of Global Governance”

City Hall, Thessaloniki, Greece
March 31st – April 4th, 2014

On March 31st 2014, the IAPSS World Congress 2014 officially started with the festive opening session at Olympion, Thessaloniki’s oldest cinematographic hall. For 4 consecutive days, hundreds of political science students discussed research and work of young political scientists during panels, listened to lectures of Greek and international guests and exchanged their ideas during workshops, roundtables and expert sessions on “The Limits of Global Governance”.

We herewith provide a recap of the IAPSS World Congress 2014 and invite you kindly to join us at the IAPSS World Congress 2015 taking place in London, United Kingdom, from April 14th – 18th, 2015!

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Day 1: March 31st, 2015

Official Start of the IAPSS World Congress 2014 in Thessaloniki’s Oldest Cinema

Set at Olympion, the oldest cinema in Thessaloniki and one of the cultural centres of the city. Philipp Aepler, IAPSS President and Georgianna Koukougiannidou, President of IAPSS local member association GRAPESS, welcomed the welcomed the crowd together with representatives from the University of Macedonia, the City of Thessaloniki, the French Consulate in Thessaloniki, the Office of the European Youth Capital 2014 and the Province of Central Macedonia.

Following the opening remarks, Prof. Paroula Naskou-Perraki (University of Macedonia) introduced the Congress’ theme by a key note on “Can International Law Contribute to Global Governance?” Naskou-Perraki is a long time expert in the field of international and European law, stressing the deep interconnection between and how contemporary international institutions completely changed the way the world works. Nonetheless she pointed out that there are still many hurdles to take to reach high effectiveness and efficiency of international institutions. With those ideas in mind the participants proceeded to the evening reception.

Day 2: April 1st, 2015

The 2nd day started with the opening lecture given by Yves Sintomer, Professor at the university of Paris Nr. 8. Prof. Sintomer elaborated about the future of participation in democracies. As modern democracies and societies have been changing a lot within the last decades, participation has to adapt and change in order to sustain effective political representation of citizens’ opinions. Prof. Sintomer presented different scenarios of how participation in future democracies might look like. They ranged from a revival of the classical type of participation to bureaucratic take-over. Prof. Sintomer expressed many unusual and extraordinary ideas and the students had many questions.

Academic Panels

The first round of Academic Panels was received very well by the students. The topics ranged from Legitimacy and Global Governance to Public Policies and Global Governance. Also the panelists had manifold academic backgrounds and approached the topics of Global Governance from an interesting perspective.

Lecture: Ukraine, Russia and the EU: New Communication Order or Disorder

We were very glad to welcome Prof. Sasinska-Klas as a representative from the International Political Science Association at the World Congress. Especially since  her lecture: Ukraine, Russia and the EU: New Communication Order or Disorder” addressed one of the most recent and important topics in International Politics. Therefore the lecture attracted many students and experienced a lively debate. Due to her wide knowledge of both Western European but also Russian and Ukrainian politics she was able to identify the main causes for the Ukraine issue, both the domestic and the international perspective. Prof Sasinska Klas took great care in answering all questions and even discussed with students long after her lecture was over.

Workshops

Workshops are an essential part of IAPSS conferences and aim to teach the participants important skills. This time the participants could choose between three different workshops: The East Asia Crisis Simulation, by Dylan Kissane, Social Sciences Research Methods in the 21st century, given by Vit Simral, and Game Theory and Political Science, given by Alexandru Volacu. In Mr. Kissane’s workshop the participants engaged in a simulation of international politics. The plot: Russian troops are bound in the Caucasus due to a security crisis → at the same time Northern Korea and China make a move  in the Far East and invade Siberia. The students, representing different countries, had to solve the issue together. In the workshops of Alexandru Volacu the students were given a detailed introduction into Game Theory and its applicability in Political Science. Who didn’t attend those workshop went to Vit Simral who presented the newest developments in political methodology.

Roundtable and Social Events

As a conclusion of the day a roundtable addressed the topic: Governance in areas of limited statehood. The experts were Prof. Yves Sintomer, from Université Paris 8, and Abdalhadi Alijla, from the University of Milan. IAPSS President Philipp Aepler moderated the roundtable. The social program stated International Evening for Monday. The international evening is a quasi legendary institution at IAPSS conferences. The students can bring special dishes or drinks from their home country and share it with their fellows. In Thessaloniki the participants gathered in the Bar Partisan, in the centre of the city.

Day 3: April 2nd, 2015

Opening Lecture: International Security Organisations and Global Governance

The 3rd day of the conference started with the lecture: International Security Organisations and Global Governance – given by Ana Isabel Xavier a junior professor at the New University of Lisbon. She focused on the question whether securities bodies which were mainly founded during the Cold War Times could still contribute effectively to Global Governance.

Roundtable: Regional Players in Global Affairs

The biggest event of the day centred around the topic Regional Players in Global Affairs with amongst others representatives from NATO, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, University of Macedonia, and New University of Lisbon. There are many regional players in the world which have quiet extensive competences and influence on domestic policies. But such players have very different aims and resources – the roundtable tried to examine where such players can be effective.

Academic Panels

Same as at the 2nd day students had the chance to present their papers in the academic panels. The focus was especially on the interconnections between global and domestic issues, as discussed in the panel: Governance in the 21st century: Country case studies, but also in the panel Globalisation, Security & Freedom. The papers focused on issues such as identities in the post-soviet sphere, clientelism in Brazil or the conflict in Kosovo.

Special Roundtables and Panels

The 3rd day offered some interesting and special roundtables and panels. Amongst them the YTI roundtable – the future of American power. YTI, the abbreviation of Young Transatlantic Initiative and a close partner of IAPSS, set up a panel to discuss how the role of the United States might change during the next decade. The end of the cold war and the emergence of developing states as economic and political powers changed how the world works and the roundtable discussed which role the United States might play in this new order.

Furthermore the Expert Discussion: Palestine and the Middle East: The Eventual Solution of an Eternal Conflict? took place on the 3rd day. Abdalhadi Alijla, from the University of Milan, gave an overview of the main obstacles which still has to be overcome to lead the region of middle-east on the path towards stability and peace. The chair Reint-Jan Groot-Nuelend encouraged the participants to engage into the discussion and voice their opinion and ideas.

Last but not least the panel: Prevention and Condemnation: Patterns and Limits to International Sanctions. took place at the same day. The editors of the IAPSS blog A Different View discussed whether sanctions, which are used quiet often as measures of international politics, can be considered as an effective or justified tool. The outcomes of the discussions were mixed since sanctions often seem to be a two edged sword.

Movie Screening: No Fire Zone

Another possibility at the afternoon session was to watch the documentary: “No Fire Zone” by the British director Callum Macrae. The documentary is about the enormously violent last weeks of the Civil War on Sri Lanka, in which, as a result of shelling by the Sri Lankan Army, over 70000 civilians were killed. The documentary shows actual footage by victims as well as perpetrators. Many students were deeply moved by the movie and the horror and devastation it has shown.

Day 4: April 3rd, 2015

Opening Lecture: Democratic Accountability, Transparency and Global Governance: A Theoretical Approach

The last opening lecture was held by Prof Georgios Voskopoulos, from the University of Macedonia. He elaborated on: Democratic Accountability, Transparency and Global Governance: A Theoretical Approach. He stressed that the demands and perceptions citizens have of modern states might be hard to transform on a high level – such as supranational organisations. This can be seen as a main theoretic hurdle for Global Governance.

Academic Panels

The last row of academic panels still awaited with fresh and insightful research about international politics. Global Governance and International Institutions and Global Governance and Norms dealt both with very important theoretical questions but also with empirical research. There were papers about refugee issues in Myanmar, but also about questions whether cosmopolitanism is an alternative for Global Governance.

Oxford Style Show Debate: Responsibility to protect – Right to Intervene or Strict Recognition of State Sovereignty?

As a highlight of the day two student teams gathered to engage into Oxford Style Show Debate to debate whether in terms of severe crisis the international community should have the right to intervene and therefore break national sovereignty. Both sides presented their points very energetically and since the audience interacted with the debaters the discussion was very vivid. In the end the side in favour of responsibility to protect presented their ideas a bit better and managed to secure a majority of votes from the participants.

Key Note Speech and Closing Lecture

As the last speakers of the World Congress we welcomed Prof Ilias Koskouvelis, from the University of Macedonia, and Magdalini Karakoli, from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prof. Koskouvelis talked about Global Challenges which the Global Community will face within the upcoming decades. He also stated that those issues can only be solved with collective measures – meaning Global Governance. Magdalini Karakoli elaborated upon Europe and how certain challenges can be tackled with collective European efforts.