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International Affairs Conference 2022 Call for Papers

10 December 2021

Proposals are invited for papers addressing the theme ‘Global Power Shifts: Connectivity, Cooperation and Conflict’

The Royal Irish Academy values diversity and strives for a culture of equality and inclusion in all of its activities. The Academy is committed to ensuring greater gender, disciplinary, institutional and overall diversity in every area of the Academy and its work throughout the island of Ireland. 

The Committee particularly welcomes applications from under-represented groups and communities, and encourages applications from early career researchers. Diversity will be a consideration in the selection of papers.

The RIA’s 2022 International Affairs conference is currently planned to take place fully on-line on Friday, 29 April. Depending on Covid-19 related restrictions, some panels may move to in-person presentation at Academy House. In all circumstances, speakers preferring to contribute on-line will be able to do so. The RIA is unable to provide financial support for travel or accommodation in the case of in-person presentations.

The international environment of the early 2020s is characterised by global power shifts, increasing tensions between great powers, new debate about the costs and benefits of economic connectivity between states and regions, and tensions between narrowly defined national interests and the need for cooperation to address global challenges. The Royal Irish Academy’s 2022 international affairs conference will address these themes.

The first decades of the twenty-first century have witnessed a shift of economic and political power away from the Euro-Atlantic West and towards the non-Western world, in particular Asia. The Indo-Pacific is arguably now the new economic and geopolitical centre of the world. At the same time, the relationship between the world’s two leading power, the United States and the People’s Republic of China, is characterised by increasing tensions. This raises questions about the possibility of war between the US and China and what should be done to avoid such a conflict. For other states it generates difficult dilemmas in terms of how to position themselves vis-à-vis the US and China. The European Union has launched its own Indo-Pacific strategy, although how substantive this will be and how it relates to the US-China strategic competition remains to be seen.

Whereas the 1990s and the 2000s were the highpoint of economic and technological globalization, the late 2010s and early 2020s have witnessed new debates about how best to shape and manage connectivity and possible economic de-coupling, in particular between the West and China. These debates are intertwined with China’s Belt-and-Road Initiative and new infrastructure and connectivity policies advanced by the US and the European Union.

For a small European state such as Ireland, these dynamics raise questions about how they may impact on the country, how Ireland can contribute to addressing the challenges involved and the embedding of national policy in responses in larger EU policies. These issues play out in Ireland’s 2021-22 term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The work of the Commission on the Defence Forces, which is due to publish its report by the end of 2021, will also contribute to debate on the role of the Irish Defence Forces in a changing global context.

High quality papers from the conference will be considered for publication in the RIA journal Irish Studies in International Affairs. The submission of paper proposals requires all paper proposers to agree to publish their papers in the journal should they be accepted.

Paper proposals (300 words in length) should be completed using this form by Monday, 7 February 2022 at 17:00.

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