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Global Public Policy Network
GPPN Annual Conference (Virtual)
 March 4 to 6, 2021

Hosted by Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP),

the University of Tokyo

The Crisis of Globalization as We Know It

Starting from the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and especially with the events of and after 2016 (Brexit, election of Donald Trump as US President, heightened US-China tensions), many commentators of international affairs have started to point to a crisis of globalization. The Covid-19 pandemic has massively contributed to this line of argument. International travel has been completely disrupted all over the planet, and globalized production chains are increasingly perceived as too risky. Despite the obvious global nature of the pandemic, the lack of international coordination has been all too evident.

Indeed, while a voluminous literature has been accumulating over several decades concerning the necessity to go beyond the nation-state, and the considerable growth of multilateral diplomacy, regional integration, and International Organizations, the nation-state has re-emerged, in a time of acute crisis, as the most important reference framework for policy making, but also for political mobilisation. Borders have been shut everywhere, nationals have been repatriated, new economic policies, stimulus and rescue packages have been devised primarily on a national base. Even in the EU, where regional integration is extremely deep and fully institutionalised, the response to the pandemic was at the beginning almost completely developed at a national level by national governments.

Furthermore, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears that international efforts for sustainable development grounded in multilateralism may have been derailed. With all probability, as announced by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the SDGs cannot be met by 2030, given the severe economic contraction of 2020 and the ensuing social and political problems of the next few years. On the other hand, however, the pandemic has also introduced habits such as telework, which may help the progress on some SDGs.

Despite all this, one may argue that the need for an enhanced global governance remains strong, and it has been intensified by Covid-19.


We invite students at all GPPN Schools to contribute to a discussion about the state of globalisation in the light of the risks it can harbour and the advantages it can offer. What kind of globalization is still possible? To the benefit of whom? Based on what economic, ethical and political principles? We also would like students to think about concrete proposals for the advancement of regional and international cooperation, for the strengthening of global governance mechanisms and institutions, in specific areas as well as in the more general domain of international relations.


For instance, what kind of reforms could benefit the UN system? Should WHO be reformed to ensure more political independence and more adequate funding? How can WTO be put in a condition to perform its functions again? Or: what can be done to protect local identities and lifestyles without on the other hand retreating into isolation? How can global travel be made more ecologically and socially sustainable? How can production chains be more ecologically and socially sustainable? Or: what can local authorities do to mitigate adverse social and economic effects of globalization in their jurisdiction?

The Challenge

Students from GPPN Schools were invited to form teams of 4 or 5 members, and work together to develop proposals for this online conference. We called for student presentations on public policy/international relations proposals that demonstrate:

  • A precise identification and analysis of an important and pressing problem; this precise analysis of the problem will need to be clear prior to discussion of any possible solutions

  • A strong use of analytics and empirics and how these can be applied to inform a solution to the public policy problem identified

  • An astute understanding of how policy solutions can be implemented given the interests of the policy actors in the chosen context

  • A clear awareness of whether and when similar solutions have been tried in the past, why they were successful or how they can be amended in order to be successful in the future.

Conference Highlights


Student Projects

Please see the Conference Booklet for details of the students' projects and participating teams.
You can also view the list of projects, videos and abstracts here.

Deans’ Roundtable


5 March 2021


JST 21:00 | SGT 20:00 | CET 13:00 | GMT 12:00 | BRT 09:00 | EST 07:00|


Digitalisation, Digital Governance, and
the Transformation of Public Policy Education
Watch the video recording here.


Keynote Series


6 March 2021


|JST 09:00 |SGT 08:00 | CET 01:00 | GMT 0:00 | BRT 21:00 (5 Mar) | EST 19:00 (5 Mar)|


Featuring Bilahari Kausikan and Yumi Araki

Watch the video recording here.

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