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Crowdsourcing IO Reform

International organizations face a daunting array of challenges: proliferating mandates, challenges from civil society, and intermittent state support. This has given rise to a scholarly debate over the future of multilateralism. Stewart Patrick suggests that today’s international order reflects a number of very brittle international organizations, with an increasing amount of cooperation occurring outside of them in new types of fora. Thomas Weiss argues that this more minimal approach to multilateralism is not enough, and that stronger international organizations are needed.

Rather than take sides in this debate, I am interested in answering the following question: if we want to make existing international organizations more effective, then how can we do this? For the past two years, graduate students in my International Organizations class have been wrestling with these issues. Working in teams with a randomly assigned international organization, they’ve been tasked with identifying a barrier to that organization’s effectiveness and then proposing strategies to address this problem.

Consistent with our outreach mission, students also distilled those long papers down into brief op-eds. The latest set of op-eds is posted on the class blog, and links to the eight student op-eds from this year that have already been published elsewhere appear below:

More to follow on this project as we move forward in the coming months.

Martin S. Edwards


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