New Challenges for the Hague Institute for Global Justice
By Steven van Hoogstraten, Hague Institute for Global Justice, CEO ad interim.
The Hague Institute for Global Justice has turned a corner by 1 January 2017. Not only was this the end of a first period of 5 years, it also marked the return of its first President Dr Abi Williams to the USA after he completed his term of 4 years at the Institute.
Dr Williams has been of enormous importance for the launching phase of the institute, and deserves all credit for his great efforts and competence to give the Hague Institute a positive name in the world.
As the government funding for the Institute was always meant to be limited to the first 5 years, THIGJ will now have to stand on its own feet and turn to different partners for the main funding. These partners are of course the organizations, institutions, media and industries which have a stake in the issues under the banner of Global Justice, and who would like to make use of the research capacity of THIGJ , to engage in capacity building / training or to organize seminars and conferences at this ideally located institute.
The important themes for the Hague Institute are the Prevention and Resolution of Conflict, the world wide fight for societies based on the Rule of Law, and the improvement of Governance and Accountability. These main streams easily break down in more precise chapters, like water diplomacy, judicial heritage, prevention of mass atrocities, the role of cities, international criminal accountability, migration, education for peace, etc. I think it is fair to say that the agenda of the Hague Institute contributes as a whole to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and in particular to goal nr 16 about strengthening the framework for Peace and Justice.
The City of The Hague has brought an innovative angle to the work of the institute by making funds available for Delft University, in order to contribute to the concept of Global Justice from the perspective of Technology and Innovation. The use of modern technology (think about Drones, big data, spatial observation or the ever faster internet) brings opportunities and even solutions which did not exist before for the work of the international institutions in The Hague. But Technology if not a neutral term, ethical dilemmas may easily be connected to the interface of technology and justice. Who is controlling the internet?, to mention just one. That is why it is important to be inclusive to this new and important paradigm, which has also been given prominence by the United Nations.
For the time being, The Supervisory Board of THIGJ has decided on an interim phase and will consider the appointment of a new Dean or President only a bit further in time. The focus is now on becoming a viable, stable and externally funded institute, which can adapt to the wishes of the market and at the same time be a credible force in the public debate about global justice. No doubt that contact will be made with the world of Philanthropy, which is known for its interest in the efforts to bring more peace, justice and accountability to our times.