From the League of Nations to the United Nations
MWP/EUI Conference, ‘From the League of Nations to the United Nations’
For 21-23 March 2013, two Max Weber Fellows, Simon Jackson, and Konrad Lawson, alongside Antara Halder from the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Alanna O’Malley from the Academic Careers Observatory, and Natasha Wheatley from Columbia University, organised a ground-breaking conference on the League of Nations and the United Nations. Hosted by the Max Weber Programme, the Global Governance Programme and the Department of History and Civilisation, the conference received an enormous response to its call for papers, with over 150 applicants.
The conference was structured thematically around the main areas in which policy developed at the League of Nations and the United Nations. Each panel focused on a specific sphere of activity – institutional politics and change, economic development policy, international law and human rights etc. – with a view towards tracing the evolution of ideas, modes of practice and institutional development in these spheres. Selected participants included a wide range of scholars, from PhD candidates to full professors from Europe and North America. The debates which raged over the three days were highly stimulating and productive.
On the first evening, the participants visited Villa Salviati, the new home of the historical archives of the European Union, where Professor Susan Pedersen from Columbia University gave the keynote address, ‘From Geneva to New York: mandatory statehood in the making’. Ryan M Irwin, University at Albany, SUNY, gave a second keynote address on Friday evening, the 22nd, ‘Sovereignty, order and Africa: the irony of self-determination’.
The conference concluded with some insights into the role of the League of Nations and the United Nations in constructing world order in the twentieth century, and how this contributes to the development of a history of global governance. The conference organisers also made use of social media to communicate with other scholars, tweeting @LON2UN.