Challenges of Government Conference 2017

Monday 19 June and Tuesday 20 June 2017

This year’s Challenges of Government Conference at the Blavatnik School of Government (our annual event) is on ‘Bridging the Gap’ - how to renovate politics, public service, economies, and bolster international cooperation so as to build more cohesive and trusting societies. Politics across the world is changing fast. A new populism is strengthening. Globalisation is under fire, so is the political status quo. Across every continent, leaders are having to ask how they can reconnect to people who are turning against the establishment elite.

Sign up to register your interest and receive information on the conference. 

Key thematic issues addressed at COGC 2017 are likely to include the following (subject to change):


  • Breakdown of democracies and renovating politics – Is rising populism a harbinger of democratic decay or an opportunity for developing a more responsive politics?
  • Inclusive nationalism and narratives of citizenship and membership – How do we balance the rights of citizenship and recognise national ‘belonging’ in the context of strong migration flows?
  • Common discourses in a splintered information age – What are the challenges and opportunities for politics presented by more compartmentalised patterns of information consumption in the digital age?


  • The global economy and inequality: Is capitalism broken? – Do we need to rethink the current rules of the game, including on regulation, theory of the firm and the model of stakeholder value?
  • Universal basic income and the future of work – Is UBI a possible solution to inequality and unemployment in the context of technological progress and acceleration of robotics?
  • Justice, redistribution and global taxation – In a world increasingly dominated by multinational corporations, how do we move toward fairer systems for taxation across the globe?

Public Service

  • Entrenching public sector values in an age of political transformation and uncertainty – How do we retain the best and brightest in the public sector and what should our public-sector values be?
  • How do we meet the expectations of citizens? – How do we address citizens increasingly being fed up with unresponsive public services?
  • Is high performance possible in service delivery? – How do we get governments' institutions to become more agile and do what they are supposed to be doing?

Confirmed External Speakers (as of March 2017) include:

  • Ms Geraldine Buckingham, Global Head of Corporate Strategy, Blackrock
  • Professor Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Mr Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England
  • Professor Arlie Hochschild, Professor Emerita, University of California at Berkeley
  • Ms Thuli Madonsela, former Public Protector, South Africa
  • Ms Swati Ramanathan, Co-Founder, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy
  • Ms Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Ms Hu Shuli, Editor-in-Chief, Caixin Media
  • Dr Yuli Tamir, former Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Education, Israel

This page will be updated with more information in the coming weeks, in the mean time check out Dean Ngaire Woods's view of the issues in this article: We don’t live in a world in which post-truth politics is inevitable.