29 May 2017
Co-chaired by Abdel Salam Majali and William F. Weld
In May 2017, The InterAction Council will convene its members for the Council’s annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland, to discuss and debate the most pressing matters in international affairs. The tradition of the InterAction Council includes a rich history of discussion around a series of core topics: namely, the international system, nuclear disarmament, the role of religion, health of the environment, and world economics, among others. The InterAction Council has also traditionally emphasized ethics, including the primacy of inclusion or non-discrimination, as enshrined in Article 1 of its Universal Declaration on Human Responsibilities:
Every person, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, social status, political opinion, language, age, nationality, or religion, has a responsibility to treat all people in a humane way.
This commitment to inclusion has been challenged by the rise of populism around the world. On 24 June 2016, for example, the European Union and much of the world was shocked when the results of a popular referendum in the United Kingdom called for British exit, or Brexit.
Brexit was not an isolated incident. Across Europe, anti-immigrant populist rhetoric has been strident, and has resulted in electoral success in countries like Hungary. Indeed, groups such as France’s National Front party have challenged the very idea of a European Union.
In the United States, too, nationalist anti-immigrant populism has been a rising force. In the fall of 2015, Donald Trump, a real estate developer, announced his candidacy for President of the United States. The announcement of his candidacy included themes that would sustain him through the Republican primary. These included a critical approach towards immigrants and immigration, an America first focus with regard to trade, skepticism around the value of international institutions, commitment to national sovereignty, resistance to science confirming climate change, and a strong reluctance to allow the United States to participate in efforts to maintain global peace and security unless those efforts could be easily tied back to advancing the American national interest.
As with Brexit, there was shock when Mr. Trump was elected President of the United States. And in many cases the populist messages that sustained his campaign have been implemented in the early days of his presidency.
Issues to be discussed
On 29th May, the InterAction Council will convene a group of experts to deliberate on the challenges to inclusion of rising populism, and especially the implications of Brexit and the Trump presidency for a cooperative world order.
The experts’ group will assess:
- What are the causes behind the rise of populism and nativism in so many countries?
- Tolerance and inclusion have been part of the Enlightenment project since the 18th Century. Is the current populist outburst a temporary phenomenon, or is there a more fundamental rejection of inclusion as an ethic in the 21st Century?
- The announced intention of the British government to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union has many implications, not least the future of the European Union itself. What reforms or changes should the European Union make in light of this British decision?
- The Trump presidency in its early days has challenged many of the assumptions and principles of the international world order that has been constructed since 1945. What will the Trump presidency mean for international cooperation on the global water and climate crisis, the international trading system, nuclear non-proliferation, development, migrants and immigration, the Middle East, Russia and the Ukraine, North Korea, China and relations with Asian countries given the demise of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and especially Mexico, which has received the brunt of the Trump rhetoric?
- RECOMMENDATIONS: Policy recommendations for the plenary
List of participants
InterAction Council Members
- H.E. Mr. Bertie Ahern (former Prime Minister), Ireland
- H.E. Dr. Abdel Salam Majali (former Prime Minister), Jordan
- Dr. Thomas S. Axworthy, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
- Mr. William F. Weld, former Governor of Massachusetts (US)
- Dr. Alexander Dukalskis, Assistant Professor in the School of Politics & International Relations at University College Dublin (Ireland)
- Mr. Nicholas Fogg, Writer, Journalist, Lecturer (UK)
- Ms. Ilmas Futehally, Co-founder, Executive Director and Vice President, Strategic Foresight Group (India)
- Ms. Sophie Gaston, Head of International Projects & External Affairs, Demos (UK)
- H.E. Amb. Miguel Malfavon, Ambassador of Mexico to Ireland (Mexico)
- H.E. Amb. Francis Martin O’Donnell, Former Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Ukraine (Ireland)
- H.E. Amb. Eoin O’Leary, Director General for Europe, Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland)
- Mr. Bob Sandford, IAC Senior Water Advisor; EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (Canada)
- Mrs. Kateryna Yushchenko, Chair, Ukraine 3000 International Foundation (Ukraine)
- Mr. Sundeep Waslekar, President, Strategic Foresight Group (India)
- Mr. Alan Webber, Co-founder & Co-Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company magazine (US)
- Dr. Moneef Zou’bi, Director General, Islamic World Academy of Sciences (Jordan)
- Henry Danjing Wen, Senior Advisor on Business, InterAction Council; CEO, Foundation of World Leadership (China)