The Committee on Global Thought orients its research and programming around three major thematic areas, Global Governance, Global Political Economy, and Global Politics and Culture.

Global Governance

Global Governance explores the challenges of thinking about and effectuating governance in a global era. Globalization raises classical governance issues, namely who exercises the authority to govern or manage others, how this authority is legitimized, and how the governance can be implemented and made accountable. However, globalization also poses new challenges for thinking about the concept of governance, as global issues have no single or natural locus of governance. The international legal order with the UN at its center is one of many global governance regimes. It coexists, sometimes competes with, and at others, complements local and regional, state and non-state, participatory and special interest regimes.

Global issues have no single or natural locus of governance.

Specific issues within this focus area might include the international legal order and its relation to national, local, state, non-state, participatory, special interest and other legal regimes; global public goods; multi-stakeholder governance; public vs. private global governance; and the mechanisms of global governance.

Global Political Economy

Global Political Economy explores the economic forces that shape globalization and its effects on countries and world citizens. Economic globalization has impacted national-level economies and individual citizens around the world, from income convergence and global financial instability, to human development achievements and migration flows. Understanding these forces in historical and contemporary context is essential to addressing the opportunities and dangers presented by global economic ties. As countries increasingly undertake active development policies to catch up with the more advanced members of the global community, new debates emerge on the global balance of power, international support for less developed countries, and the rise of new global players.

Understanding global economic forces in historical and contemporary context is essential.

Specific issues within this focus area might include world trends in human development; income distribution worldwide and within countries; global financial, monetary and trading systems; financial volatility and debt crises; the economics of global environmental and climate issues; and policy making in and for developing countries.

Global Politics and Culture

Global Politics and Culture explores the impact of globalization on cultural diversity. The era of globalization has not eliminated established historical debates, for example on the place of the individual in society or the tension between religion and secularism. Rather, these debates take on new forms and manifestations in the global era. As local, global and transnational identities emerge and evolve, new expressions of solidarity, ethics and political action emerge as well.  For the prevailing presuppositions of globalization’s effects on cultural diversity to evolve, we must explore new concepts and categories that have emerged as central in the study of culture and politics in recent years. Both enduring and newer issues must be understood with historical depth as well as an appreciation for contemporary debate.

Cultural debates take on new forms and manifestations in the global era.

Specific issues within this focus area might include religion and secularism; feminism; identity politics; opposition to violence and terror; cosmopolitanism and urbanism; nationalism; ethnicity and identity; and post-colonialism.