What world will emerge from and after the coronavirus crisis? Are we witnessing a breakthrough in European integration? What awaits transatlantic relations after the US elections? How to green the economy? These are just some of the questions that we will be asking during the new edition of the World in Focus. We also want to hear your questions, so join the discussion and find out what the world is talking about.
World in Focus. Warsaw international meetings is a series of events about Poland, Europe and the world, during which we discuss the most pressing international issues. These talks are especially important in times of new challenges, crises and global changes. Intellectuals, experts and practitioners from Poland and Europe will appear on stage, but we invite everyone interested in current events and visions of the future of international relations to the discussion.
For the fifth time, we will reflect on the processes of a changing world and ask questions about Poland’s place in global changes.
This year’s edition of the World in Focus is devoted to the change that is rapidly taking place in European and international politics. The coronavirus has shaken the world order and forced quick decisions going further than previously thought possible. The future shape of the world will be decided by those who respond best to this crisis. During the World in Focus we will talk with you about whether Europe is effectively responding to this challenge. How will the global economic and political system change? Will we return to the old order? Is the crisis a chance for radical change? How can we save our planet?
The World in Focus is open to everyone. On October 15th we will meet at the opening debate online, and we will conduct further online discussions until November 5th. See you there!
Themes in Focus
Please check themes of the current edition below.
Poland as a country in the heart of Europe, a member of the European Union and other global institutions is affected by the processes of the changing world. Each crisis is an opportunity, but also a threat: Opportunity – to verify existing alliances, reduce divisions and find progressive solutions. Threat – for the political stability of institutions such as the European Union amongst others. What role will Poland play in all this in the post-pandemic world? Can it actively co-decide about the future of the European project? Will it cope with the economic and social challenge of the coming global crisis?
For Europe, the pandemic is a constant test – and one of many. At first, due to limited powers or tardiness, Brussels let nation states react on their own, only to take decisive actions in a later phase, creating a groundbreaking Recovery Fund and working towards a European Green Deal. The EU is undergoing another test in its neighbourhood: in Belarus, on the Mediterranean, on Libya’s coast and in Lebanon. Is Europe, with its ambitions of being a global player, able to rebuild and strengthen its internal structure and respond to challenges at its borders?
2020 did not treat international politics gently, providing its own share of shocks and conflict. Xi Jinping’s China’s assertiveness expresses itself in more aggressive actions, either against protesters in Hong Kong, on border with India or under the guise of threat-laden “mask diplomacy”. Meanwhile, the United States abdicates, perhaps temporarily, global leadership and Europe proves not yet able to pick up the mantle. At the same time, traumatic experiences may lead to greater cooperation, including a reform of multilateral institutions and creation of new dialogue fora. In what shape will the world emerge from the crisis and what can Europe do to put it back on the right track?
Climate change issues have become a permanent feature of political considerations and social debates. Poles know more and more about it and are more and more involved in the fight for sustainable development. The effects of the changes are already felt in the form of prolonged periods of drought, heat waves and frequent storms. Failure to act decisively to protect the climate will result in an environmental, financial and humanitarian crisis spanning the whole world. The economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic presents another challenge in making climate neutrality a priority. What will be the solutions of the European Reconstruction Fund and will it allow the implementation of climate goals? How to make the welfare of the planet a priority in the face of a global crisis?
An abrupt closure of virtually every country made borders, hitherto barely visible or just mildly inconvenient to most of us, woefully tangible. They had always been, of course, tangible to those trying to reach Europe. The pandemic has forced us to confront questions about security, control and freedom that, in simpler times, the European Union and the Schengen zone used to make irrelevant. Closed borders, quarantines and cancelled flights did not, however, isolate societies from each other. Quite to the contrary: protests in the United States and Belarus reverberate around the globe, while climate activists gather under a common banner. What do borders mean to us? For whom are they a hindrance and who can reach across them?
Crises tend to provoke extreme and often contradictory reactions. A desire to return to status quo ant clashes with a yearning for a radical change that will fix the errors of the old world and prevent future catastrophes. In reaction to the pandemic, the European Union made ground-breaking decision, climate action is intensifying, while antiracist movements strive to put history to account and build a more just society. Can these efforts succeed? Where is the “pain threshold”, beyond which further changes provoke a backlash? What can be achieved by individual citizens and where institutional change is necessary?
The global crisis caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus turned out to be a challenge not only for individual sectors of the economy, but also for civil society. The situation forced the restriction of many civil liberties, sometimes disrupting the foundations of a healthy democracy. Schools and public places were closed. The elections were canceled. All this challenged our understanding of social life. Is the current situation a chance to imagine new forms of social functioning? Will the crisis strengthen our democracy? Or, on the contrary, will it create the ground for extremism? What is the role of active citizens in shaping political systems?