FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Volunteer group made semifinals for $5 million governance prize
Regina, Saskatchewan, May 21st — Graduates from the University of Regina have envisioned a practical path forward for global governance. Hailing from across Saskatchewan, they banded together in 2017 in the hopes that fresh eyes and hard work could improve the state of world politics.
They were chosen as one of 100 semifinalists for the New Shape Prize, a $5 million USD competition funded by the Global Challenges Foundation – a nonprofit that identifies and addresses threats to humanity. Of 2,702 total submissions to the prize globally, only ten semifinalists were chosen from North America.
The team from Saskatchewan has now made their work public. Their paper, Ruling Ourselves: The deliberate evolution of global cooperation and governance, describes a path forward towards effective and ethical global governance. They show that global governance is both necessary and possible. Progress, however, will be slow. There are no silver bullets, only productive avenues of progress. They identify two categories of effort as crucial:
- Governance systems such as international institutions must be developed and modified incrementally. The world is changing, thus requiring new and different institutions over time.
- The primary reason why global governance is often ineffective today is that nations don’t have the same goals and don’t trust each other. Building trust and goal alignment thus emerge as the central challenges of our time.
The team of Saskatchewanians, Ben Harack, Kyle Laskowski, Robert Bailey, Jeanette Marcotte, Sam Jaques, and Steven Kuski graduated from the University of Regina throughout 2006-2018 with degrees in Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Psychology, Geology, Biology, Business, and Public Policy.
Lastly, two of the team’s member’s, Ben Harack and Steven Kuski, are attending the New Shape Forum in Stockholm, Sweden on May 27-29 – the closing event of the New Shape Prize. There they will participate in discussions focused on shaping existing governance ideas into a workable reality. Ben, the team’s leader, described one of the challenges they face, “Envisioning an achievable and worthwhile future is extremely difficult, but it’s also hard to express. If you describe the incredible possibilities for progress, you may be labelled as naive even if your arguments are sound. Equally, if you focus too much on the very real problems that we need to solve, you might be accused of lacking vision.”
Steven Kuski adds, “Global governance is complicated, and there are important reasons why it hasn’t made more progress in the last few decades. Unfortunately, most of the ideas we’ve seen for improving global governance cannot be implemented today because they assume that the nations of the world are willing to cooperate far more than they have so far.”
Saskatchewan has exported important governance ideas in the past, including Medicare in the 1960s, the first single-payer universal healthcare system in North America. Ruling Ourselves is unabashedly modern and forward looking, but it remains deeply rooted in Saskatchewan’s humanism and pragmatism.
Vision of Earth is a volunteer-driven think tank founded in Saskatchewan in 2009.