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Scott Barrett / Columbia University

Global Cooperation Put to the Test

25.06.2015 Climate change, nuclear proliferation, pandemics—with globalization well underway, successful cross-border collaboration is becoming ever more important in assuring the well-being of future generations. From 1 to 3 July 2015, the Centre for Global Cooperation Research—the youngest of ten Käte Hamburger International Centres in the Humanities sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research—will be marking the half-way point of its first funding-phase with an international conference bringing together a range of experts in the field of cooperation research.

Since 2012, the Centre—a central research institute of the University of Duisburg-Essen—has welcomed a total of 57 visiting academics from all over the world to its facilities in the Duisburg Inner Harbour. Their time here has been spent assessing the prospects for global collaboration in the 21st century—a task which, given the growing challenges facing us in regard to peace, the environment, and health, is believed by many to be more urgent than ever. The collaborative generation of knowledge, says Centre Co-director Professor Dirk Messner, ‘is a prerequisite for global collective action’. In line with this, the Centre, now three years post foundation, will be using the half-way point of its first funding-phase as an opportunity for both retrospective and prospective reflection. Under the rubric ‘Global Cooperation: Can We Build on It?’, the international Midterm Conference will bring together around 100 academics active in this new area of research. As Professor Tobias Debiel, the Centre’s Managing Director, remarks: ‘The Centre has evolved into a kind of hub for transdisciplinary cooperation research and has acquired a high profile internationally, both in print and in the conference world. Now we are keen to see what ideas we can garner from the Duisburg conference as regards drawing the strands of our research even closer together over the next few years.’

Launching proceedings (on 1 July 2015), Professor Scott Barrett of Columbia University, New York, will deliver the 12th Käte Hamburger Lecture. In the atmospheric surroundings of the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Professor Barrett will set out his view as to why cooperation sometimes succeeds but mostly doesn’t. Citing examples of successful cooperation, he will show how international collaboration, institutional design, and the use of incentives can help ensure the effective supply of global public goods. A response to the lecture will be given by Margret Thalwitz (former World Bank director and Senior Expert Fellow at the Centre), after which comments and questions will be taken from the floor.

Over the following two days, guest researchers at the Centre will join with invited experts to consider the topics and methods in play in the current research-process and representatives of relevant think-tanks and research institutions will identify likely trends in global cooperation research.

Centre’s Annual Report Published

As it comes up to this midway point, the Centre has recently published its third annual report. In the course of its first three years, the Centre has brought together guest researchers representing 23 nationalities and 9 different disciplines. Together they have helped shape an impressive research-community that has brought the new field of global cooperation research to life.

One of the report’s main objectives, according to Dr Markus Böckenförde, the Centre’s Executive Director, is to communicate this energy: ‘From the very start, our visiting scholars have helped create a lively and diverse culture of debate at the Centre. We wanted our annual report to convey this atmosphere in an engaging and readable way.’ Besides offering interested readers the chance to look in greater depth at the exploratory quests underway at the Centre, the report is intended to arouse curiosity in the challenges of global cooperation and how to tackle them. This year’s report includes a commentary by Centre Co-director Professor Claus Leggewie on Vermeer’s famous painting The Geographer—a look back at one of those moments in which scholarly curiosity points to the future and prompts us constantly to renew our resolve to tackle the challenges facing the planet.

The Centre’s publications are freely accessible on its website. Given our international focus, the majority of these appear in English.

Global Cooperation Re:search 2014 - Annual Report 3

Programme Midterm Conference


Martin Wolf
Head of Public Relations
Tel: +49 (0)203 379 5238