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Summer Workshop in International Organization Studies
“Global Public-Private Partnerships”

July 20 – July 29, 2009
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Download the Call for Applicants 

Program Structure
The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the American Society of International Law (ASIL), in cooperation with the University of Alberta and the United Nations University, are pleased to announce the nineteenth ACUNS-ASIL Summer Workshop on International Organization Studies. The workshop will run from 20 July-29 July 2009, in Edmonton, Alberta.

The workshop is intended to foster excellence in emerging scholars and practitioners who are at a relatively early stage in their careers. Therefore it is designed specifically for junior professors in international relations and international law faculties, post-doctoral and advanced doctoral level students, young lawyers and practitioners from civil society groups, policy staff from international organizations, human rights and development advocates, and others at similarly early stages of their professional careers.

The purposes of the workshop are, first, to encourage new directions and new ideas in the analysis of international organization(s) and related legal studies; second, to establish and strengthen contacts between international relations and legal scholars and the United Nations practitioners; and third, to stimulate advanced research and  teaching in the specific workshop subject matter.

The academic program of the workshop will be led by the co-directors, who have specific expertise as academics and/or practitioners in the fields of international politics and international law. Each workshop participant selected will be assigned to one co-director, and will develop their research project with her/his guidance.

Program Themes
A Global Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a collaborative relationship typically formed between a corporation or industry association; an intergovernmental organization; and national authorities. Public-private partnerships have been quite common for some time in national domestic environments. However, their increasing prominence at the global level is more recent and less well understood. These relationships have emerged at the global level in recent years for several reasons, including the inability of local governments, especially in the developing world, to deliver certain services; the paucity of resources available to intergovernmental organizations to meet the socio-economic, environmental and human security demands of people around the globe; the desire on the part of governments and international organizations, like the United Nations and the World Bank, to use existing private networks for service delivery instead of duplicating them with public ones; and the need to tap into the expertise that private entities can bring to certain projects. At a time of global economic downturn, we can expect Global PPPs to become increasingly attractive to both public and private sectors.

Global PPPs hold out new promise for innovative and inclusive governance practices. Nonetheless, they are emerging and developing most often in the absence of norms and guidelines to regulate these relationships. Is it appropriate for any and all private actors to participate in Global PPPs? What criteria would identify the most desirable partners? How do private entities that are accountable to shareholders reconcile their participation in a project with governments and international organizations which are accountable to citizens and member governments respectively? How might the outcomes of Global PPP projects be evaluated? What do current examples of Global PPPs suggest about best practices with regard to reporting and decisionmaking procedures? Do Global PPPs signal a loss of power on the part of governments and international organizations now dependent on private actors for help? Or are Global PPPs welcome examples of burden-sharing and subsidiarity arrangements that can free up governments and international organizations to do other work? Do the answers to these questions vary across issue areas? The emergence of Global PPPs has brought with it a range of questions demanding analysis. Our workshop will go some distance in providing that analysis.