Envisioning a world better led, served and governed

One of the things that unites our students, who come to Oxford from all corners of the world, is their belief in our vision of a world better led, better served and better governed. When they arrive, they are immersed into a course that requires their full commitment and attention, that challenges them to think differently, to expand their knowledge, learn new skills and to apply them in a variety of “policy challenge” scenarios.

Clearly, for the Class of 2013, the course also stimulated a great deal of thinking outside the classroom. That is why a group of students last year got together to produce a collection of essays where they could envision the future and imagine what a world better led, served and governed might look like. If the year is now 2050, they asked themselves, and we have been working in our chosen fields in public leadership for around 35 years, what kind of a future have we helped to create?

They took an activist approach to their writing, thinking about the future they wanted to see, not just imagining the most possible or plausible future. Together, they took on a broad range of issues and perspectives, reflecting the rich diversity and difference of their experiences. As individuals, they each wrote in their own styles with their own perspectives – some took an analytical approach, others expository, yet others more personal and conversational. Although not an academic publication, the essays benefited from rigorous peer editing by their fellow students.

Lead editor, Aaron Maniam, explained the motivation behind their efforts to produce this publication on top of all their other obligations as students, “The Blavatnik School is marked only by its intellectual rigour and diverse community, but also by the many opportunities it creates and facilitates for students to thrive. Working on ‘Better Led, Served and Governed’ was a wonderful way to delve into some of the concepts and conceptualisations we explored in our academic modules, to test them against the rigours of reality and refine them in the crucible of practice.” 

Dean Ngaire Woods, in her Foreword to the publication, says, “These essays and the process of writing them exemplify the kind of learning community we hope to nurture at the Blavatnik School: independent, questioning and deeply collaborative.”

You can download the book, “Better Led, Served and Governed – envisioning the future,” in its entirety or in four different parts. A full content list is below:




Part 1 - Governance (download pdf)

  • Charlotte Mazzoni – Requiem for 20th century European democracies: a note from the future
  • Rahul Nayar – Information symmetry: reimagining the technology of governance
  • Leonardo Quattrucci – Human-centred policy
  • Tom Quirk – Considering the counterfactual – addressing biases in policymaking
  • Zeina Ammar – Ideology redux

Part 2 - Regional politics (download pdf)

  • Adaudo Anyiam-Osigwe – A new nationalist agenda for Nigeria
  • Mariama Sylla – Gender parity: a key enabler of development in Africa
  • Vrinda Bhandari & Mehreen Shahid – Improving Indo-Pak relations
  • Tara Paterson – Another way: re-imagining Canada’s relationship with oil
  • Neta Gruber – An Eastern Mediterranean union? Possible lessons from the EU peace vision
  • Zack Sabella – A future for Palestine
  • Felipe Torres Raposo – Countering the quiescence trap in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Manjit Nath – Redefining local government – the case of Assam
  • Ahmed Safar – Understanding the politics and economics of Libya’s public sector reforms: personal observations

Part 3 - Society and how we live (download pdf)

  • Jeremy Arthur – Living forever: age-free elites
  • Alex Chan – Rethinking mobility
  • Max Harris – Escaping prison: why abolishing prisons is the imperative of our generation
  • Sven Jungmann – Complexity navigators – the future of healthcare
  • Nicolas Robinson Andrade – Social movements and activism
  • Louis Chambers – The case for cities: climate leadership from the bottom-up
  • Bronwyn Lo – Climate change and public understanding

Part 4 - New views of economics (download pdf)

  • Intan Natasha Putri – Empowered people leading their own development: are we missing anyone?
  • Tatianna Silva – Sustainable waste management
  • Levent Tuzun – Unbundling unbundling