Lecture 3: The Return of Mass Flight
In his 1989 essay The End of History? American thinker Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy was the endpoint of our political evolution, the best and final system to emerge after thousands of years of trial and error. Fukuyama seems to have been wrong: our recent history -- filled with terrorism and war, rising inequity and the mass flight of populations -- suggests that we've failed to create any sort of global formula for lasting peace and social equity. In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, Jennifer Welsh explores how pronouncements about the "end of history" may have been premature.**This episode originally aired November 2, 2016.
" ...and then there are those who have opened up their communities and homes to those fleeing their homeland. Starting the autumn of 2015, ordinary Europeans began to consider whether their spare storage rooms or bedrooms could be made available to asylum-seekers. ... And in our own country, in places like my home town of Regina, local churches are raising money to sponsor the resettlement of Syrian families. On the other hand, both national opposition to liberal asylum policies and local opposition to refugee processing and reception centres has been a growing phenomenon. "
Millions are on the move. Entire populations are leaving their home countries to find a better life elsewhere, creating two problems: what are we to do about the failed states left in the wake of this mass migration, and, what are the more stable Western nations supposed to do with this great mass of refugees and economic migrants at and within the borders? Both closing the borders and opening the borders raises questions about human rights, and the nature of the modern state.
**Please note: The 2016 CBC Massey Lectures are available to stream online until Tuesday, Aug 29. After this date they will be available for purchase on iTunes only.
Jennifer Welsh is Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) and a Fellow of Somerville College, University of Oxford. From 2013 until 2016, she was the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect. She co-founded the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, and has taught international relations at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the Central European University (Prague). Welsh is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on international relations, the changing character of war, and Canadian foreign policy. She was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, and is of Metis descent. She now lives in Italy, with her husband and two children.
- Read more about the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures
- The Return of History by Jennifer Welsh is published by House of Anansi