About the Ideas Forum
A project of the OSUN Hannah Arendt Humanities Network, the Ideas Forum brings together students, faculty, and staff from across the OSUN community to engage in thoughtful conversation about some of the most important and controversial topics of the modern day. Throughout each forum, students have the opportunity to engage in rigorous, intellectual dialogues, attend lectures, and participate in break-out sessions with speakers and other students.
The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), with support from OSUN's Hannah Arendt Humanities Network at the Hannah Arendt Center will be hosting an Ideas Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event is being co-organized by the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) and the Innovation Foundation for Democracy at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the outbreak of war in the Middle East and intensifying strategic competition between China and the United States has led to enormous changes in the architecture of the international system. Concurrent to these developments is the rise of the Global South, which, while once peripheral to international affairs, is now an indispensable part of the global economy, a lynchpin in critical supply chains, and vital to the geopolitical balance of power. In turn, this forum will be centered on examining how nations across the Global South – from India and Brazil to South Africa and Egypt – are recalibrating their political agendas in response to the return of great power competition between the US, China and Russia, and the breakdown of the post-Cold War international system.
Despite representing the majority of the world’s population and accounting for an increasing amount of global GDP, these nations are often sidelined during critical policy making initiatives spearheaded by their Western counterparts. Moreover, the groundbreaking expansion of BRICS to include six new countries – Iran, Ethiopia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and Egypt – stands as a pivotal change that could lead to the restructuring of global trade, the flow of energy investments, and makeup of critical supply chains. Given these realities, leaders in capitals around the world from Washington and Brussels to Beijing need to develop a deeper understanding of the concerns and challenges that these nations face and modify their policy objectives accordingly.
The forum will aim to bring together leading academics and policy practitioners to explore these issues and better understand how this powerful bloc of nations will impact the trajectory of world politics in the decades to come. Over several days, scholars and students from around the OSUN network will have the opportunity to engage in rigorous discussions, attend lectures, and participate in break-out sessions with keynote speakers and other students.
Deadline has passed
The 2023 Ideas Forum was co-hosted by the Bard High School Early College. Read more about the forum on our Medium page here.
The American-led world order that was created in the aftermath of World War II is being challenged by a variety of forces – by authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, the persistent long-term threats posed by climate change, as well as by a series of technological and economic disruptions that have helped undermine America’s trust in its core institutions. As the average citizen struggles to adapt to these tumultuous developments, many have begun to question America’s role in world affairs. The objective of this forum will be to better understand competing positions on this topic, with a particular focus on democracy and human rights in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine, and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Our past forums have included Nationalism (taking place at the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan) and Antisemitism (Bard College, New York).
The forum "Nationalism Around the World" brought together 18 scholars, experts, and OSUN students at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, during November, 2022. The Forum featured robust conversations on two subjects: 2) a comparison between Nationalism as it is understood in Europe and Nationalism as it is understood in Asia, and 2) Nationalism in the Chinese-Taiwanese context specifically.
Our forum "Why Antisemitism Now?" brought together 12 OSUN scholars and two outside experts, Professor Susie Linfield of NYU and Dr. Shadi Hamid of Brookings Institution, to discuss antisemitism from a variety of angles. Bard College President Leon Botstein, Bard’s Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Joshua Boettiger and Ken Stern, Director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, also joined as field experts during the forum sessions. In addition to panel discussions and class visits, forum participants read excerpts from Professor Walter Mead's recently published book The Arc of a Covenant.