CFP Rethinking Multilateralism for the post-COVID Era

We live in a time where the need for global collective action is as great as any time in human history: the COVID pandemic and its consequences, climate change, conflict, and mass migration all have the potential to pose compounding existential threats to peace, prosperity, and participation. Yet, the multilateral institutions that were set up more than 75 years ago – at the end of the second World War, to facilitate global cooperation – are weaker than they have ever been, with some facing threats to their very existence.

Several reasons for this have been documented by scholars, including weaknesses in the governing structure of these institutions that privilege the global north; shifts in the politics of countries that make them less amenable to seeking international cooperation and supporting global public goods; and – more broadly – a declining willingness to jointly address contemporary challenges via the existing multilateral structure.
All this calls for an urgent need to understand and reimagine multilateralism for a post-COVID world. This call for papers seeks contributions from scholars and practitioners, from any discipline and country, to help diagnose the challenges that face multilateralism today, to rethink how we may make it work better, and to explore how existing multilateral institutions could be reformed, or new ones created, to feasibly meet contemporary challenges.

Those interested in contributing to this special issue should send us, at a minimum, an extended abstract (in English) of about 600-1000 words describing the nature of a full-length paper that they would write. If a draft paper is already available, we would welcome that as well. Selected papers will be published in a “special collection” of the journal Global Perspectives on “Rethinking Multilateralism for the post-COVID Era.” (Other such special collections can be seen here). The authors of each selected paper will be awarded a grant of $2500 (shared equally between authors in case of co-authored papers) and would participate in an author’s workshop (COVID permitting) to discuss the papers. Our goal is to begin a dialogue across disciplines on finding solutions to contemporary challenges via the multilateral system, and to rethink and energize institutions that facilitate global collective action.

Please send your extended abstract (or completed paper) to Vijayendra Rao (vrao@worldbank.org), J.P. Singh (jsingh@gmu.edu), and Michael Woolcock (mwoolcock@worldbank.org) by January 15, 2021. Papers selected for inclusion will be notified by mid-February 2021, with an expected submission date of the completed paper by June 18, 2021.

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