Professor Emeritus of Princeton University delivers insightful lecture on the trends on modern democracy
HABIB UNIVERSITY, August 25, 2016: Habib University hosted a public lecture featuring Dr. Richard Falk – a renowned international law and international relations scholar – here at the Tariq Rafi Lecture Theater. The lecture, titled ‘Sovereign States, Human Rights, and World (Dis)Order’, was part of Habib University’s Dean’s Lecture Series, which invites notable intellectuals and research scholars from around the world to discuss global socio-economic issues.
Dr. Richard Falk is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University, and Research Fellow in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He recently completed a six-year term as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine, and his talk at Habib University revolved around tracing the roots of the contemporary international political order and its implications for inter-state interactions with respect to human rights, law, and justice.
Starting his lecture with a bit of history, Dr. Falk recalled the sense of achievement in the West following the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The political commentators of that era, Dr. Falk reflected, had expected the fall of the USSR to lead to an age of universal human rights, economic freedom, and justice. Instead, sovereign states quickly started moving away from these ideals to take a more realist approach to diplomacy and inter-state politics.
According to Dr. Falk, the West failed to deliver what it promised the world after the fall of communism. To demonstrate his point, Dr. Falk spoke of the US invasion of Iraq, where, he said, people are still hoping for a semblance of stability and peace. While on the topic, Dr. Falk narrated a saying that has become famous in the region since the invasion of the Western powers: “People prefer a 100-year period of tyranny to a single year of chaos”. These reactionary sentiments, according to Dr. Falk, are fueling the rise of non-state actors and belligerent states who, for the first time in history, are both capable and willing to inflict mass scale terror.
‘We are seeing the rise of a democratically elected autocrat across the globe’ – Dr.Falk quoting various examples pic.twitter.com/5ig6aCzxQS
— Habib University (@HabibUniversity) August 25, 2016
Dr. Falk also brought attention to the reemergence of autocrats who are gathering power through the channels of democracy. These include the likes of Narendar Modi of India, Shinzo Abe of Japan, and Donald Trump of the USA. The rise of these individuals shows the dwindling confidence of the masses in the established democratic order, according to Dr. Falk.
The lecture was attended by scholars and researchers from within Habib University, as well as notable faculty members and students from different educational institutes and NGOs.
In a post lecture interview, Dr. Falk congratulated Habib University for its prolific educational pedagogy and for hosting a memorable event. He was also appreciative of the audience, which, he noted, was receptive to his ideas while still being critical of the concepts he presented.