How international organisations can navigate the current era of ‘global shocks’

How international organisations can navigate the current era of ‘global shocks’

In an era of unprecedented global turbulence, the University of Oxford has launched the ‘Global Shocks’ podcast, featuring in-depth interviews with former leaders from the world’s major international organisations on responding to global shocks, adapting to them, and surviving turbulent times such as humanitarian emergencies, war, financial crises, and pandemics

Dr Jan Eijking, Global Shocks podcast host, and Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford said:

‘Whether it’s war in the Middle East, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or the recent Covid-19 pandemic: when sudden shocks reverberate across the globe, this puts multilateral institutions and non-governmental organisations under great amounts of stress. But we’ve seen global shocks happen throughout history, and often they’re interconnected and part of much longer-term turbulence.

‘How can we learn from those experiences? Our podcast and oral history project explores past lessons in conversation with former leaders of the world’s major international organisations.’

Hosted and produced by the programme’s Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Jan Eijking with the support of award-winning audio producer Melissa FitzGerald of Zinc Media and the research programme’s Co-Director Professor Patricia Clavin, the Global Shocks podcast aims to answer questions around how the world’s major international organisations respond to global shocks, adapt to them, and survive turbulent times such as humanitarian emergencies, war, financial crises, and pandemics.

Global Shocks enters the conversation with leading figures from these organisations to find out how they are affected by crisis and turbulence, what lessons they draw from the past, and what future prospects they have.

Current and future episodes include:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross, with Yves Daccord, the former Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • United Nations Peacekeeping, with Renata Dwan, former Chief UN Peacekeeping Policy and Best Practices Service
  • The International Monetary Fund, with Maurice Obstfeld, former Chief Economist IMF and former White House Economic Adviser
  • The World Health Organisation, with Ilona Kickbusch, former Head Global Health Promotion

The podcast miniseries spans about eight 30-minute episodes available here, while full-length recordings will also be made available as an oral history archive collection.

The podcast is spearheaded by the Oxford Martin Programme on Changing Global Orders led by co-directors Professor Patricia Clavin, Professor Andrew Thompson, Professor Louise Fawcett and Professor Andrew Hurrell. The programme combines scholarship in history and international relations to investigate how international organizations cope with and adapt to turbulence and major global shocks. Global Shocks is an oral history and podcast project developed as part of Changing Global Orders’ commitment to public outreach.

Patricia Clavin, Professor of Modern History in the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford said:

'With the world seemingly in state of perma-crisis, the Changing Global Orders research team is centrally concerned with the question: how do international organisations learn lessons from previous interventions? Our research reveals the past is a rich resource to inform policy-making for the future. It helps us to identify barriers to effective cooperation and pathways for overcoming them. That is why we’re bringing together historians and international relations scholars, and engaging in dialogue with experienced policy-makers. This new podcast series is one element of this work.'

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