Summer Workshop in International Organization Studies
“The Millennium Development Goals: Progressing Towards a Just Future”

July 24 – August 6, 2005
Waterloo, Ontario, 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) are pleased to sponsor the fifteenth Summer Workshop on International Organization Studies. Contingent upon funding, the workshop will run from 24 July until 6 August; and is being arranged with the cooperation of the International Jurists Organisation.

The workshop is designed specifically for junior international relations and law school faculty, advanced graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, lawyers and practitioners from civil society groups, policy staff from international organizations, human rights and development advocates, and others who might be included at similar levels of activities.

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

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

Program Themes
The general theme of the fifteenth ACUNS/ASIL workshop is the Millennium Development Goals, and in particular the role and importance of the MDGs as clear and measurable indicators of progress towards a more just global order.  Set within the broader context of the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs might be said to provide a visible test of the seriousness of the commitments accepted by 189 national delegations – including 147 heads of state or government – at the Millennium Summit in September 2000.  Each year since then, the UN Secretary-General has issued an annual report on progress (available at  So far at least, the record of achievement has been weak.  The MDGs have been used by some states to help shape their development plans, and by international agencies to provide a focus for coordination of their activities; but compared to what is required, only limited material and financial resources and political energy has been invested by developing and developed states in making good on these commitments.

2005 marks the first five-year review period for the Millennium Declaration and for the MDGs.  In his 2004 review of the implementation of the Declaration and MDGs, Secretary-General Annan noted that “the window of opportunity is rapidly narrowing and the political will remains largely absent.”  The five-year review, in this case, “provides potentially the last realistic opportunity to take the necessary steps” needed to accelerate efforts to meet the MDG targets by the established deadline of 2015.

Set within this context, some of the topics and questions that participants might consider examining for the 2005 ACUNS/ASIL Summer Workshop include: what progress has been made, and at what rate, towards the MDG targets?  Are the MDGs appropriate and useful as indicators of progress and as targets, or should they be revised? What frameworks or avenues exist to encourage and foster better, faster progress? What contributions could be made by actors other than states e.g. private sector corporations, non-governmental organizations, multilateral institutions, and individuals? What major impediments yet remain for developed countries to mobilize the resources needed to meet their commitments, and how – if at all – should these countries be held accountable for falling short? What are the wider implications of failing to achieve substantial progress towards the MDGs?

Participants will be encouraged to address political, legal, economic, social, development and other approaches to these issues (whether supportive or critical); and to examine the relationships between the Declaration and the MDGs, states’ policies and practices, and the existing structures, mechanisms and operations of the UN and its related agencies and organizations.  Research papers can attempt to offer ideas on how the UN and its member states, and other actors, might take concrete measures to improve upon their capacity and will to accomplish real, measurable progress towards improving the lives of people in urgent need to help around the world, and in so doing advance the effort to develop a more just global future for all.

Participants will be selected by a joint ACUNS/ASIL committee. Those selected will be expected to submit a ten-page draft of a research or policy paper to an assigned workshop director in advance of the workshop.  The research or policy paper must be original work prepared by the participant, not material that has been undertaken for other projects or  presentations.

Directors will make suggestions about additional readings, data, or arguments in order for participants to bring a more polished version of their paper to the workshop, to be distributed in advance of their presentations. Participants also will submit an abstract (2-3 pages maximum) prior to the workshop, and will be required to make an oral presentation during the workshop.  The working language of the workshop is English.

It is hoped that the workshop will provide valuable guidance in the final development of a dissertation, publication or policy piece.