1150 - 1320

Sovereign states are facing increasing competition from supranational and sub-state actors and networks. The forces of globalization, from increasing digital connectivity to changing patterns of migration, are testing national governments even further. Can states prevent fragmentation, or should they focus on improving policy-making in a fragmenting world?

Discussion points

  • How are new patterns and habits of digital connectivity changing relations between  governments and their populations?
  • Are sovereign states still fit for purpose as the basic building blocks of international order? Can regional organizations or other supranational bodies provide a real alternative to, or attain the same legitimacy as, the familiar state model?
  • How might powerful, large countries like China, Russia, India or the US, which place a high value on national sovereignty, adapt or try to exert leadership in this more fluid context?


Professor Simon Anholt, Founder, The Good Country Party
François Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, United Nations
Margaret MacMillan, Warden, St Antony’s College and Professor, International History, University of Oxford 
Dr Shashi Tharoor , MP for Thiruvananthapuram, India and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs; Minister of State for Human Resource Development (2012—14); Minister of State for External Affairs (2009—10)

Moderator: Philip Stephens , Associate Editor, Financial Times

Session Paper