This post was originally published in advance of the 2020 Rhodes Forum, which has since been postponed – new dates will be confirmed in due course.
Created 75 years ago in the aftermath of World War Two, the mechanisms of multilateral cooperation, even its philosophy, its effectiveness, and its legitimacy, are now profoundly questioned and challenged. Technology and digitalisation, power and economic shifts, globalisation, demographic imbalance, and environmental and sanitary concerns are significantly reshaping the world order and the way that countries cooperate to promote peace and development and to address global challenges.
As global cooperation proceeds in fits and starts in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine and political leadership falters amidst a hegemonic ‘battle of the giants’ and the populist backlash, the values and institutional mechanisms underpinning international cooperation are in need of revival.
Following the UN’s milestone general assembly in September 2020 and preceding the pivotal US election in November, the DOC will take the pulse of the state of the world by discussing how to effectively reinvent the multilateral system and then putting forward specific and actionable recommendations.
By focusing on the headline theme of reinventing international cooperation, the DOC expects to cover a number of component themes, including but not limited to: global solidarity and the need for shared values; digital power and new international actors; the economic response to Covid-19 amidst de-globalisation and the new global recession; and the value of civil society and other global actors in mitigating both US-China polarisation and the decay of global institutional cooperation.
The purpose of the Rhodes Forum is to promote shared worldviews through constructive dialogue and thereby contribute practical recommendations to the reinventing of international cooperation. The DOC’s decades-long heritage of inter-civilisational engagement will be enriched this year as our guest speakers include, among others, Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond, UN under Secretary-General; influential scholars Kishore Mahbubani and Chen Dongxiao; and former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
Convened online from the DOC’s Berlin HQ, the Rhodes Forum will comprise two days of lively roundtable discussions, ‘frankly speaking’ debates, and exclusive key-note messages among policy advisors and influencers joining from multiple time-zones and from across the political spectrum. DOC is honoured this year to welcome as a special guest speaker, HE Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
This year’s online format will enable the DOC to use its unique convening power to reach out to an even larger and more diverse audience and develop even more interactive and substantive discussions.
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