Aula Inaugural dos Programas de Doutoramento CES-UC

Is Suffering a Source of Global Progress?

Michael Barnett (George Washington University)

13 de outubro de 2017, 15h00

Auditório da Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra


Humanitarianism, human rights, global public health, and various other initiatives of the international community are often interpreted as signs of moral progress, and the great leaps forward often come on the heels of great suffering. Why? Does the presence of suffering suggest that progress is parasitic on human tragedy and misery? But why does the international community respond in this way? I want to suggest that these so-called advances are ways of answering a moral crisis and restoring a belief in the idea of humanity. These acts of humanity are not about the physical suffering of others, but rather as a way of addressing our crisis of faith.

Nota biográfica

Michael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at the George Washington University. His research interests include the Middle East, humanitarian action, global governance, global ethics, and the United Nations. Among his many books are Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and RwandaDialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional OrderEmpire of Humanity: A History of HumanitarianismRules for the World: International Organizations in World Politics (with Martha Finnemore); Security Communities (co-edited with Emanuel Adler); Sacred Aid (co-edited with Janice Stein); Power and Global Governance (co-edited with Raymond Duvall); and Humanitarianism in Question (co-edited with Thomas Weiss). 
Currently, he is an Associate Editor of International Organization.  His current research projects range from international paternalism, the changing architecture of global governance, to the relationship between human rights and humanitarianism. His most recent book is The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of the American Jews (Princeton University Press).

He previously taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Macalester College, Wellesley College, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; was a visiting scholar at the New School for Social Research and the Dayan Center at Tel-Aviv University; and was a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.  Professor Barnett is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the recipient of many grants and awards for his research.