The Death and Rebirth of Democratic Internationalism: Controversies and Possibilities


The current nationalist wave has dampened hopes of managing an array of global challenges: economic, social, environmental, and public health emergencies, along with planning for the long-term impacts of technological innovations in fields like artificial intelligence and bioengineering.

This lecture addressed how a new internationalism could reinvigorate policies promoting global governance based on universal human rights. It addressed three questions: what can we learn from past internationalist movements toward a liberal global order? How did the neoliberal order, established after the Cold War, lead to today’s chronic crises? What are possibilities for a future and robust internationalism encompassing three levels: civil society, the state, and global governance?
Revisiting lessons learned from history, this lecture addressed possible bases of global cooperation. It considers how a new liberal bloc, with Europe and the US as the driving forces, should be strengthened by resolving controversies over critical issues including: climate change, refugees, the transition to renewable energy, and the role of artificial intelligence and bioengineering. These strategic efforts could generate a new network of the willing, address the challenge of illiberal regimes (including China, Russia, and Iran), and stop the downward spiral toward nationalist chaos.

Micheline Ishay is Distinguished Professor of International Studies and Human Rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she serves as Director of the International Human Rights Program.

The lecture was moderated by IWM Permanent Fellow Ludger Hagedorn. IWM Permanent Fellow Claus Offe will serve as a discussant and provide the comment.