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18:15 - 19:30 5 June 2018

Multilateralism's Life Cycle


G03 | 26 Bedford Way (link Map)
London | WC1H 0DS | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Ticketed

Speaker information

Professor Harlan Cohen, Professor in International Law, University of Georgia School of Law, Harlan Grant Cohen is the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law at University of Georgia School of Law and serves as a Faculty Co-Director of the law school's Dean Rusk International Law Center. His scholarship covers international legal theory, global governance, and U.S. Foreign Relations Law, with a particular focus on sources, authority, and institutional design. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and the American Law Institute.

Does multilateralism have a life cycle? Perhaps paradoxically, this project suggests that current pressures on multilateralism and multilateral institutions, including threatened withdrawals by the UK from the EU, the US from the Paris climate change agreement, South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia from the International Criminal Court, and others, may be natural symptoms of those institutions’ relative success. Successful multilateralism and multilateral institutions, this project argues, has four intertwined effects, which together make continued multilateralism more difficult: 1) the wider dispersion of wealth or power among members, 2) the decreasing value for members of issue linkages, 3) changing assessment of multilateral institutions’ value in the face of increased effectiveness, and 4) members’ increased focus on relative or positional gains over absolute ones. This event will explore how each of these manifests in the world today and other related questions.


Monica Barbone
+44 (0) 2031089289 | m.barbone@ucl.ac.uk