Opening Plenary Session: “Making Multilateralism Work: Enhancing Dialogue on Peace, Security, and Development”
After centuries of collective effort, the world is finally entering an age of multilateralism where dialogue is the most efficient and, perhaps, indispensable way of easing tensions and preventing major conflicts between big powers and civilizations. While it is clear that the global community is calling for an alternative to the current world order, the progress needed to make a truly inclusive multilateral system work is hindered by lingering issues. Protracted conflicts continue to inflict suffering on civilians in many regions of the world, intertwined with new forms of terrorist activity that threaten us all. An unwillingness by many international leaders to cooperate with one another on a variety of issues remains, rather than a focus on shared interests and collaboration. In emerging economies, infrastructure is giving hope for such cooperation, however it is evading certain regions, such as the African continent. Inequality persists in both developed and developing economies and in countries with different types of political regimes, prompting the question of what kind of governance is conducive to sustainable and inclusive development. Rapid technological advancements bring great opportunities, unforeseen in decades past, however this also raises the issue of how to ensure that progress in digitalisation and artificial intelligence coincides with the wellbeing of humanity, rather than threatens it. Finally, over the course of history great thinkers from across the world have tried to define human nature and our relationship to society, nature, spirituality, and ourselves. But there has yet to be a holistic and inclusive framework that can help address current crises and navigate the milieu of norms, drawing upon shared human values to bolster inclusivity and enhance dialogue and cooperation.
The 2018 Rhodes Forum, entitled ‘Making Multilateralism Work: Enhancing Dialogue on Peace, Security, and Development’, will address these issues and more, with a focus on how dialogue can help find sustainable solutions for realising a truly multilateral world. Bringing together leaders from academia, politics, and the business community, the Rhodes Forum continues in the tradition of previous years, with a focus on developing practical policy recommendations through dialogue and cooperation.
Moderator: Renaud Girard, French journalist and writer