Colloquium Brief: The Future of the Global Order In an Era of Populism, Nationalism, and Retrenchment
September 25-26, 2017
On September 25-26, 2017, Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania convened a colloquium for its theme on The Future of the Global Order: Power, Technology, and Governance. The first day of the colloquium featured leading scholars presenting cutting-edge research, with commentary from policymakers with real world experience. The second day of the conference, a public form, involved four high level discussions, culminating in the inaugural Penn Biden Leaders Dialogue, featuring former Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden in conversation with former President of México Felipe Calderón.
Academic Program – Monday, September 25, 2017
On the first day of the colloquium, scholars and policy experts convened to exchange views on the challenges that global trends in populism, nationalism, and retrenchment present to the international order. Four panel discussions convened throughout the day to examine the impact of populist and isolationist impulses on the security, trade, human rights, and environmental challenges facing the global community.
Bringing in insights from their cutting-edge research and experience, symposium participants sought to diagnose challenges facing current international institutions and to understand how globalization, international conflict, and climate change have led some around the world to question the legitimacy of a rules-based, cooperative global order. Generally optimistic that experience from around the world can offer lessons for leaders and institutions to heed, the panels identified important puzzles that future research can address, as well as innovative policy approaches for meeting the challenges facing the world today.
Public Forum – Tuesday, September 26, 2017
The Future of the International Security Environment
Michèle Flournoy, CEO of the Center for a New American Security, and Admiral James Stavridis, the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, engaged in a discussion moderated by Yochi Dreazen of Vox (C’99) on the security challenges presently facing the international order. The conversation covered the globe, including North Korean provocations, rising populism in Western Europe, a revisionist Russia under Putin, and the uncertainty resulting from U.S. retrenchment. Drawing from personal experiences and expertise, each affirmed the importance of supporting U.S. government institutions with the resources they need to ensure leaders have robust tools of diplomacy, development, and defense to extend U.S. interests abroad and address global challenges. “Hard power is so often, the short term necessity, we’re not going to negotiate a solution with the Islamic State. But the long game is on the soft-power side, it’s on the education, the development. And we ought to remember that it’s not just the State Department. It is also AID. . .And they are real heroes,” said retired Admiral Stavridis.
Populism, Nationalism, and Electoral Politics: A Global View from the Media
Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication Michael X. Delli Carpini led a panel of journalists from leading media organizations around the world: Graeme Wood of The Atlantic, Anna Sauerbrey of Der Tageesspiegel, Francisco Toro of Caracas Chronicles, and Sylvie Kauffmann of Le Monde. They were united in calling for media publications to remain impartial and truthful in press reporting, particularly in the face of proliferating fake news, political attacks on liberal democratic values, and challenges to press freedom. Amid increasing distrust and polarization in domestic politics, media outlets face a dilemma: while resources and readership dwindle, the imperative of broadening the audiences to whom they speak—and listen—grows. As Sauerbrey told the audience, “I’m very optimistic, there has been so much innovation.”
Future of the International Economic Order in an Era of Retrenchment
Geoffrey Garret, Dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, led a conversation with Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical, about the pressing challenges to the global and U.S. economies, while offering and defending several policy solutions for meeting these challenges. With the current information revolution changing the nature of work and of economic growth, Liveris identified deregulation, promoting STEM in primary and secondary education, better functioning government, and an industrial policy that focuses on the manufacturing of advanced technologies as key policy levers for orienting the U.S. towards the global economy of the future. “We are not prepared to fill the jobs we are creating,” Liveris said.
Inaugural Penn Biden Dialogue with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico
Joseph Biden, former Vice President of the United States and current Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico, led an engaging conversation with the University of Pennsylvania community, articulating a shared vision of the need for leaders today to staunchly defend the global order and the benefits it affords against populist and uninformed attacks. The two leaders held up U.S.-Mexico ties as a global model for how jobs, growth, and security increase for both sides when neighboring countries cooperate in seeking mutual benefits. President Calderón put it simply, “We are stronger together.”
Pointing to the successes of U.S. and Mexican leaders in establishing institutions like NAFTA and the Paris climate accords that serve as pillars of the global order, Vice President Biden and President Calderón shared a recognition that without continued leadership, this global order could give way to expansionist powers and greater conflict. Noting the shared values of American and Mexican citizens, they agreed that openness and cooperation were critical for solving shared challenges while ensuring prosperity and security for both. Vice President Biden said that in the United States, “We’re great because of immigration. Great neighbors are the reason for our greatness.”