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POPULISM VERSUS MULTILATERALISM IN THE GLOBAL AGE

07.09/2020

President of I.P.O. speaks at Horasis Extraordinary Meeting

How can populist politics be distinguished from standard practices in representative-parliamentary systems? Is a “populist” approach to international relations compatible with multilateral cooperation, which – in the global era – has become indispensable for peaceful co-existence? Does the United Nations Charter provide an adequate framework to tackle the challenges posed by a “populist” trend towards unilateralism in relations between states? These were questions the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Köchler, raised at the digital Extraordinary Meeting of HORASIS, a Swiss-based worldwide think tank and debate forum, on 1 October 2020.


In his presentation at the panel on “Populism vs Multilateralism,” Dr. Köchler highlighted the conceptual, structural and international aspects of “populism.” Explaining how state sovereignty and national interest are shaped by the logic of “my country first,” he further asked how the priority that leaders, according to their oath of office, must give to the rights and interests of their own citizens (“my country first!”) can be reconciled with a multilateral approach. Referring to the speech of the President of the United States at the inaugural session of the UN General Assembly earlier last month, Dr. Köchler suggested a “rational” re-interpretation of the national interest, on the basis of mutuality. Only such an approach, he said, will prevent perpetual confrontation among sovereign states. (Cf. concept note ) Allavi Ahluwalia, a specialist in immigration law based in Dallas, Texas, Sanjit Sethi, President of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Brendan Davis, an international film & TV producer based in Los Angeles, California, also made statements in the panel debate.

In a special plenary session with the Governor of the State of Oregon, Kate Brown (D), on “The US – On the Brink of Change,” the President of the I.P.O. raised the question of violence and civil unrest in the United States. He further asked the Governor about her assessment of the problems for constructive, business-like cooperation between the State and Federal Governments. Also referring to the Covid-19 situation, Governor Brown replied that she has always believed in bipartisan cooperation on issues of nationwide concern, citing her contacts with US Vice-President Mike Pence and Governor Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida, among others.

The first digital Extraordinary Meeting of Horasis on 1st of October 2020 was held under the motto Unite – Inspire – Create. It brought together heads of state, prime ministers and other government representatives as well as CEOs, entrepreneurs, researchers and civil society activists from around the world. 900 speakers contributed to the discussion of themes spanning politics, business and society across 150 sessions, the largest online meeting held by any organization so far. The meeting was inaugurated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.

The annual Horasis Global Meeting was scheduled to take place in Cascais, Portugal in March 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting (with the theme “Developing Decisive Leadership through Times of Disruption”) has been postponed to June 2021. The President of the International Progress Organization will take part in an experts’ panel on “The Stagnation of the Western Political System.” 

Source: I.P.O. Information Service