Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador Jean-Marie Guéhenno as Senior Fellow. During his two-year fellowship, he will be working on a book tentatively titled The Second Renaissance: In Search of a New Balance Between the Individual and the Collective.
The author of three previous books, Guéhenno is an expert in peacekeeping, transnational security threats, and global governance. Currently, he is a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution and a member of the UN secretary-general's High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. From 2014 to 2017, he was president and CEO of the International Crisis Group and from 2010 to 2014, he was director of the Center for International Conflict Resolution and Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University. He was UN under-secretary-general for Peacekeeping Operations from 2000 to 2008.
The ambassador also served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France as a member of the policy planning staff (1979-1981); he was head of cultural affairs of the French Embassy in the United States (1982-1986); director of the policy planning staff (1989-1993); and ambassador to the Western European Union (1993-1995).
"My life has been one of a practitioner who then reflects as an intellectual on his experience," says Guéhenno. "In this new book, I hope to take stock of my national and international experience to help find ethical responses to the political challenges of our time."
The book will explore how several parallel transformations are coming together, which are going to profoundly change the way human beings relate to each other and societies organize themselves. The internet is transforming individuals' relationship with knowledge as radically as the invention of the printing press did in 16th century Europe, and at the same time nation states are challenged on multiple fronts. Moreover, territorially-based political institutions compete with multiple new actors not bound by geography and which provide alternative responses.
Guéhenno will argue that China and advanced western societies share the same predicament: a vision of the individual that over-emphasizes the economic dimension of human beings and human societies, reducing them to a unidimensional pursuit of economic success. The purpose of human institutions should be to empower individuals to have a "good life," that is a life in which society empowers the individual, but also, and as importantly, a life in which the individual makes more than an economic contribution to society. The litmus test of a good society is how it empowers human beings to continuously reinvent themselves, and in the process, reinvent society. The book will explore practical responses that will make such a goal attainable.
"We are honored to welcome Ambassador Guéhenno as a Carnegie Council Senior Fellow," says Carnegie Council President Joel Rosenthal. "We will benefit greatly from his project and appreciate the opportunity to work with him."
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Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1914, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an educational, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that produces lectures, publications, and multimedia materials on the ethical challenges of living in a globalized world.