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Green Templeton College | Oxford

States in Crisis

What are the pressures affecting the state in different parts of the world in the 21st century? Political conflict, economic collapse and civil uprisings are all contributing to tensions in various parts of the world.

In States in Crisis, five speakers explored aspects of these pressures from a largely regional perspective.

Podcasts of all five lectures are available here

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Professor Paul CollierMonday 16 January
What Will Happen to African States?

Africa's vast commodity reserves, young populations and nascent economies all indicate great potential for the continent in the future. But will Africa's governments and state institutions be able to make the most of these opportunities?

Speaker: Paul Collier, Professor of Economics, Oxford University Economics Department, Director, Centre for the Study of African Economies, Professorial Fellow of St Antony's College.

More information about Paul Collier

Professor Mary E KingMonday 23 January
Behind the Arab Awakening: Dynamics of Civil Resistance

Far more important than poverty or deprivation is prolonged sharing of knowledge and skills from other movements, translated publications, and distillation of researchers' insights. In some countries of the Arab Awakening, pockets of the population had awareness of basic theories and methods of sustained action in civil resistance. For example, in Egypt, works by the scholar Gene Sharp had circulated in Arabic since 2003. The Egyptian April 6 Youth Movement, launched in 2008, had online tutorials from organisers of Otpor (Resistance), the Serbian youth movement that in 2000 brought down Milošević. Egyptian women bloggers popularised theory. In diffused hubs of political thinking about how to free themselves, Egyptians had organised themselves before their 18 days in Tahrir Square, and enough in dispersed centers of society had knowledge and a level of preparedness to lay the foundation for a national mobilisation of noncooperation.

Speaker: Mary Elizabeth King, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University for Peace, Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.

More information about Mary Elizabeth King

Professor Stein RingenMonday 30 January
Success in Spite of Crisis: The Story of South Korea

Professor Ringen established the success story, showed that it was not 'plain sailing' but a backdrop of continuous crisis and explained why the end result was still success.

Speaker: Stein Ringen, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Oxford, Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford.

More information about Stein Ringen


Shaukat AzizMonday 6 February
The World As I See It

This lecture took a personal global perspective of states in crisis, focusing broadly on threats and opportunities.

Speaker: Shaukat Aziz, economist, former Prime Minister of Pakistan.



Professor Alan WolfeThursday 9 February
Biting More Than Can Be Chewed: How the US State Became a Prisoner of Its Own
Rhetoric about Evil

In the aftermath of September 11, US foreign policy makers adopted an understanding of the nature of the enemy they were facing by adopting ideas of radical evil associated with the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin.  As a result, they asked far more from government than any state could ever provide: specifically the abolition of evil in the world, a task that, if possible at all, is best left to religion.  At a time when the state can be almost nothing in domestic life, it chose to try to do everything in its national security policy.  Professor Wolfe explained how US policy makers became seduced by the language of evil when they should have focussed more on the nature of politics.

Speaker: Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

More information about Alan Wolfe