UNSA Dialogue 10 - 2008

Date and Time

Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 6pm Central European Summer Time / noon Eastern Daylight Time (1 hour)


Access Information

We will use the Elluminate conference tool, kindly offered by John Matthiason / Syracuse University.

All you need is a computer with internet access and a headset (headphones with micro).

1. Please go to http://cotelcocave.syr.edu/index.html, click on the meeting and log in with your name (no password needed). A java program will download (no worries) and you will be in the meeting room.

2. Please hook up your headset, and you will be able to speak.


Topic and Problem Statement

"Views on the UN from the inside and the outside"

During our Bonn seminar, we identified a series of possible views on the United Nations. In our summarizing mind map, we tried to find categories to tentatively arrange the detected views.

Yet, we were aware that these categories (such as "conceptual categories", "theoretical approaches" etc.) were not very elaborate and needed to be further developed:

For our first meeting on Thursday, we suggest to take a look at our previously collected views and perspectives on the UN (based on our mind map) and discuss existing and other possible meta-categories, such as "views from inside and outside the UN".

Today's goal is to discuss how to integrate different views and perspectives on the UN into a general concept of UN Studies.


Discussion topics and results

1. Introduction, general remarks.

2. Questions concerning views and perspectives on the UN:

a) Are there other views we should add to our list of views and perspectives on the UN?

Additional categories that were mentioned during our discussion:

  • governance: on a different level than the other concepts such as diplomacy (more specific)
  • UN and international law - or instead: rule of law
  • human rights, criminal justice
  • sovereignty vs. interdependence, or: sovereignty, vs. above sovereignty.

Questions raised:

-> What distinguishes UN Studies concepts from GG-related concepts, for instance?

-> Inside-outside views as a mere way to differentiate between practitioners and academics?

-> Possible hierarchy? sovereignty, leadership, decision-making processes / governance as primary focus

-> Should we start by defining global governance?

-> next session topic: see Dialogue November 6

b) what could be possible abstract / meta-categories to group and systematize the views and perspectives?

c) How to differentiate between inside and outside views?

d) How can these different views be applied to the study of the UN? Practical examples?

e) What other closely connected categories should be taken into account? (informal/formal, for instance)

3. How can we integrate different views and perspectives on the UN into a general concept of UN Studies?

4. Conclusion and next steps:

a) suggestions for our next dialogue: What distinguishes the UN Studies concept from GG-related concepts?

b) we can also continue our discussion at the upcoming UNSA Vienna Agenda on November 23, 2008.