GSG’s Research in Ethics and Globalisation Section (GSG-REG) hosted a conference on the crisis of legitimacy confronting global governance in Rijeka, Croatia with GSG’s strategic partners, the Faculty of Philosophy and the Department of Cultural Studies, at the University of Rijeka. The conference was opened by a lecture on transitional justice and legitimacy by Dr. Chris Lamont on 7 May. The following day panels explored various themes such as the emergence and resilience of protest movements from the United States to the Western Balkans and transitions in North Africa.
Dr. Vjeran Pavlakovic of the University of Rijeka opened the first panel of the conference with a presentation on the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the United States. Dr. Pavlakovic’s field research at sites of protest across the United States provided insight into both the participants of the Occupy Movement and their political demands. Dr. Andrej Zwitter of the University of Groningen then went on to discuss globalizing rights in the context of contested theories of international law. Dr. Zwitter’s presentation was followed by a paper by Vedran Obucina of the University of Rijeka, who illuminated a wide array of radical movements on the right and left in the Western Balkans.
In addition to the above, conference participants also explored contemporary developments in North Africa. Dr. Chris Lamont presented on transitional justice in Tunisia in a paper that argued for a broader approach to understanding transitional justice that would more effectively integrate demands for social justice and socio-economic rights. Dr. Lamont’s presentation was followed by Dr. Vivienne-Matthies-Boon, who explored crony capitalism in post-Mubarak Egypt with a particular focus on the corrupt practices and economic assets of the Egyptian Army. Dr. Petar Popovic of the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro kept with the theme of corruption and social justice in his presentaion on organized crime and security services in the Western Balkans in a paper which illuminated criminality in the security services across the region.
In addition to the conference, Professor Joost Herman travelled to Rijeka to participate in strategic meetings which were held with GSG-REG’s partners that will facilitate future cooperation between Rijeka’s Faculty of Philosophy and Groningen’s Faculty of Arts, and will result in many more events hosted in both Croatia and the Netherlands. Indeed, there is already a strong record of research collaboration between Groningen and Rijeka as Dr. Chris Lamont and Dr. Vjeran Pavlakovic were both Fulbright Scholars in Zagreb during 2002-2003 and most recently Dr. Pavlakovic contributed a paper to a special issue of Europe-Asia Studies edited by Dr. Lamont and Professor Dejan Jovic of the University of Zagreb. Future initiatives planned between Rijeka and Groningen include funded PhD student exchanges, undergraduate exchanges, staff exchanges, and even a potential IR summer school on the Adriatic island of Cres.
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