The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA

Call for papers - 'International politics in times of risk and uncertainty: the COVID-19 crisis and beyond'

24 November 2020

Call for papers for the 2021 International Affairs online conference. Deadline: Monday, 8 February 2021 at 17:00.

We welcome proposals from scholars in all academic disciplines, as well as current and retired practitioners in foreign policy, government and civil society.  Paper proposals (300 words in length) should be completed on this form by Monday, 8 February 2021 at 17:00.

The conference, 'International politics in times of risk and uncertainty: the COVID-19 crisis and beyond', will take place online on Thursday, 29 April 2021.

Conference Theme

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed a fundamental new challenge to humanity and complicated an already unstable international situation. Nationally, regionally and globally governments and international organisations face complex questions about appropriate responses to the pandemic and about their ability to mobilise the political will, public support and resources necessary to address this crisis effectively.

At a time of increasing populism and nationalism and intensifying great-power tensions, the crisis is interacting in complex and unpredictable ways with these dynamics—intensifying some, but also adding new dimensions. The United States and China’s responses to the crisis are impacting on their power and standing as the world’s two leading powers, as well as on their bilateral relationship, but the longer-term consequences for global politics remain highly uncertain. Coming a decade after the Great Recession of 2008–09, the COVID-19 pandemic has also triggered a second global recession, once again raising questions about the appropriate balance between stimulus and austerity and the ability of states to collaborate internationally in addressing economic crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has also generated concerns about dependence on global supply chains (in particular for the provision of personal protective equipment but also, in the future, for a possible COVID-19 vaccine). More broadly, this is raising questions about whether globalisation can or should be reversed (at least in part); an argument that intersects with calls in some quarters to economically de-couple from China.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also posing new and complex challenges for multilateral institutions, particularly the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Group of 20 (G20) and the European Union (EU). Compared with their approach to the 2008–09 recession, governments—especially that of the US under the presidency of Donald Trump—have been reluctant to use international institutions to develop collective responses to the pandemic. The WHO has played an important role in responding to COVID-19, but the crisis has also highlighted the organisation’s limitations, leading to calls for its reform. The EU has played only a limited role in addressing the public health dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic but has assumed a major role in responding to the economic crisis within Europe. At the European level, these dynamics will feed into the on-going debate about the future direction of European integration.

Call for papers

The Royal Irish Academy’s Standing Committee on International Affairs welcomes proposals for papers on all aspects of the global politics of the COVID-19 pandemic for its conference on Thursday, 29 April 2021. This may include political and associated economic, security, social, legal and historical dimensions of the issue. Papers are welcomed on comparative national and regional responses to COVID-19; other disease pandemics and their global health challenges (whether historical or more recent); the interaction between the COVID-19 pandemic and great-power relations; the economic impact of the pandemic (and related issues of globalisation, dependence and de-coupling); the impact on the Global South and global inequality; international security issues (including cyber security); and the role of international institutions in addressing the pandemic and its consequences. 

The committee strongly encourages applications from advanced doctoral students and postdoctoral colleagues and seeks to support diversity in the submission and selection of papers.  

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

We welcome proposals from scholars in all academic disciplines and encourage applications from early-career researchers as well as current and retired practitioners in foreign policy, government and civil society.  

Proposals (300 words in length) should be completed on this form by Monday, 8 February 2021 at 17:00.  

The conference will be held online, on Thursday, 29 April 2021 which is now open for booking here.

  • Mr Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence will address with conference with the keynote lecture.
  • G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University will deliver the plenary lecture.

Please email with any queries.

Data Protection

All personal data collected will be used solely for the purpose of conducting a review assessment in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please also refer to the RIA Publications Department's Data Protection and Retention Statement and Jotform Transparency Statement  which are both contained on our GDPR webpage linked to above.  Data in submissions to this Call may be shared with the Standing Committee for International Affairs, reviewers, RIA publications and administrative personnel.  Data, including CVs will be retained for the duration of the review process and administration of the conference and journal.

Stay up to date with the Royal Irish Academy newsletter

Sign up now