Curatorial Initiatives
Kant's Essay

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Sovereignty, Democracy, Human Rights: Dialogues on Perpetual Peace

International Peace Institute
Trygve Lie Center, 777 UN Plaza, New York
November 16, 2010

This workshop at the International Peace Institute (IPI), the capstone event of the Perpetual Peace Project. builds upon the active participation of all attendees. It was structured as roundtable discussion around three key elements of Kant's essay:

- Collective security and the implications for sovereignty;
- Democracy, governance, and rule of law; and
- Human rights and cosmopolitan citizenship.

With this workshop the Perpetual Peace Project aspires to stimulate a conversation on current obstacles to international peace and security, ways to overcome them, and the implications for sovereign states. This conversation included practitioners who work directly on the prevention and solution of violent conflicts, diplomats who have the power to truly make peace a sustainable reality, and scholars who engage with the idea of peace. The workshop also featured selections from the Perpetual Peace Project film initiative, which features conversations with renowned philosophers and practitioners reflecting on Perpetual Peace with reference to current international priorities and conflicts.

Introduction and Keynote Remarks

Opening remarks by Warren Hoge (IPI), Aaron Levy (Slought Foundation), and Horia-Roman Patapievici (European Union National Institutes of Culture)

Keynote address by Norbert Darabos, Minister of Defence and Sports, Government of Austria, with concluding remarks by Michael Doyle (Columbia University)

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Session 1: Sovereignty and Collective Security

At the heart of Immanuel Kant's essay lies the idea that the natural state between nations is war, not peace. Peace, therefore, must be established by securing the right of all nations through the foundation of a federation of free states. "This league does not seek any power of the sort possessed by nations, but only the maintenance and security of each nation's own freedom." This session will focus on the key challenges of collective security and the implications for sovereignty. What is the current condition and future potential of global collective security? What reasonable constraints on sovereignty must states accept to exit their natural state of conflict in favor of establishing a global legal order with the goal of preventing war forever? Non-state actors also have a growing influence on global collective security. How should sovereign states engage with them?

Moderated by Edward C. Luck (IPI), with opening remarks by Robert Jervis (Columbia University) and Pedro Serrano (European Union)

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Session 2: Democracy, Governance, and the Rule of Law

The first Definitive Article of Kant's Perpetual Peace states that every nation must have a republican constitution, which for Kant meant that it must have a government characterized by the rule of law and a separation of powers rather than "despotism." This session will focus on the relationship between international security and domestic governance. To what extent is collective security dependent upon the spread of democracy and the rule of law? What is the proper role of the international community in promoting good governance and the rule of law or in strengthening weak and fragile states? How should "illiberal" regimes be addressed by the international community? Are they necessarily an impediment to the establishment of lasting peace and security?

Moderated by William C. Banks (Syracuse University), with opening remarks by Pablo de Greiff (International Center for Transitional Justice) and Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein)

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Session 3: Human Rights and Cosmopolitan Citizenship

The Third Definitive Article of Kant's Perpetual Peace relates to the establishment of a "cosmopolitan right" to hospitality based upon a sense of common ownership over the earth's surface. In simple terms, this relates to the right to travel to a foreign country and not be treated like a spy or enemy. But, significantly, this also relates to the legal establishment of individual rights that transcend any single nation-state. This session will focus on the complex relation between individual rights and state-based international law. In a time of heightened population movements, what obligations does a right to hospitality create for the care and protection of refugees and immigrants? Who must satisfy these obligations? Currently, to what extent do human rights and international humanitarian law establish a layer of cosmopolitan or global citizenship above and beyond--or in complement to--national citizenship?

Moderated by Gudrun Harrer (Diplomatic Academy Vienna), with opening remarks by Elazar Barkan (Columbia University) and Iain Levine (Human Rights Watch)

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The recordings featured on this webpage are from a one-day workshop at the Trygve Lie Center at the International Peace Institute, United Nations Plaza in New York, on November 16, 2010.

The workshop was co-organized by the European Union National Institutes of Culture, International Peace Institute (IPI), Slought Foundation, Syracuse University Humanities Center, and United Nations University, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations.


Saiful Azam Abdullah
Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations

Robert Afriyie
Security Council Report

William C. Banks
Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), Syracuse University

Elazar Barkan
Columbia School of International and Public Affairs

Meiko Boynton
International Peace Institute

Rosi Braidotti
University of Utrecht

Norbert Darabos
Government of Austria

Pablo De Greiff
International Center for Transitional Justice

Ine A. Declerck
Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations

Michael Doyle
Columbia University

Catherine Fieschi
British Council

Shepard Forman
Center on International Cooperation

Eugenio Vargas Garcia
Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations

Marijan Gubic
Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in New York

David Harland
United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office

Gudrun Harrer
Der Standard, Vienna University and the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna

Warren Hoge
International Peace Institute

Robert Jervis
Columbia University

Diane Nya Kadji
Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations

Emilia Katosang
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations

Gregg Lambert
Syracuse University Humanities Center

Sebastien Lapierre
United Nations Department of Political Affairs

Iain Levine
Human Rights Watch

Aaron Levy
Slought Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania

Edward C. Luck
International Peace Institute

Adam Lupel
International Peace Institute

Samer Mahmassani
Office of the Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations

Francesco Mancini
International Peace Institute

Christopher Matthews
Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Joanne Myers
Carnegie Council

John Palmesino
Jan van Eyck Academie

Horia-Roman Patapievici
EUNIC and the Romanian Cultural Institute Network

Milica Pejovic
Permanent Mission of Montenegro to the United Nations

Martin Rauchbauer
Austrian Cultural Forum

Ana Cristina Rodriguez-Pineda
Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations

Ann-Sofi Ršnnskog
Jan van Eyck Academie

H.E. Gert Rosenthal
Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations

Richard Sennett
London School of Economics

H.E. Pedro Serrano
Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Jerobeam Shaanika
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations

Andreas Stadler
Austrian Cultural Forum NY

Hansjoerg Strohmeyer
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Nikolas Sturchler
Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations

Corina Suteu
Romanian Cultural Institute in New York

Alfredo Fernando Toro-Carnevali
Permanent Mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations

Claudia Maria Valenzuela Diaz
Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the United Nations

H.E. Christian Wenaweser
Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations

Constance Wilhelm
Center on International Cooperation

H.E. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations

Corri Zoli
Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism

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