G7 and G20 Research Groups

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University of Toronto

Shaping Global Summitry

March 12, 2018
from 9am to 6pm
Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place

Summit diplomacy has long been central to international relations, but has changed substantially in several ways. A century ago the six-month-long Paris Summit in 1919 created the League of Nations, which became the foundation for the United Nations born at the San Francisco Summit in 1945. The annual summits of the Group of Seven major democracies began in 1975, first came to Canada in 1981, and then to Toronto and the University of Toronto in 1988 as the Cold War was about to end. To cope with the ensuing globalization and financial crises, Canada co-created the broader, more diverse Group of Twenty systemically significant states in 1999, fostered its elevation to the leaders' level in 2008, and hosted it in Toronto along with the now Group of Eight summit in nearby Muskoka in June 2010. Canada is now preparing to host the G7 Summit in Charlevoix on June 8–9, 2018, and is seeking a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

During this time, these global summits have changed in their membership and participants, agenda, frequency, duration, intimacy, civil society engagement, ambition and, above all, results. Have these changes enabled them, and their Canadian leaders, to cope with compelling contemporary challenges such as climate change, economic protectionism, gender inequality and nuclear proliferation? How might these summits and their supporting ministerial meetings be shaped to do a better job?

To find answers, this conference on "Shaping Summitry" assembles, at the Munk School of Global Affairs at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, Canada's leading contributors to global summitry from the political, governmental, scholarly, business, civil society and media communities. It will feature the policymakers who have pioneered and guided the global summits of our times, the students and professionals who carefully assess how much and why summit promises have been kept, private sector stakeholders and the scholars who have told the world the inside story of the some of the greatest summits thus far.

This conference commemorates several anniversaries from the summits' policy and analytical worlds: 100 years since World War I produced Paris 1919, 90 years for the diplomatic relationship between Canada and its G7 partner Japan, 40 years for the International Relations Program and International Relations Society at Trinity College and the University of Toronto, 30 years since the 1988 G7 Toronto Summit and the founding of the G7 Research Group, 20 years for the Robert H. Catherwood Scholarship and the finance G20, ten years for the G20 summit and the G20 Research Group, and five years for the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History. These anniversaries offer a baseline for assessing how summitry has been and will be shaped, as Canada again has the opportunity to lead global summit governance.

Confirmed speakers include Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, Honourable Bill Graham, who helped start the G7 Research Group in 1988, the noted historian Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Barbara Eastman, head of the Toronto Summit Office in 1988, Sir Nicholas Bayne, currently at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Fried, currently Canada's G20 sherpa, and Tiff Macklem, who as Canada's G20 finance deputy helped lead its participation in the G20 summits from 2008 to 2010. It also draws on alumni who have gone on to distinguished careers, including Susan Hainsworth of the World Trade Organization, Kartick Kumar at the World Bank Group/IFC, and Lynn Robertson of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The conference is sponsored by Trinity College's International Relations Program, International Relations Society, Global Governance Program, Robert H. Catherwood Scholarship, Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, the Munk School of Global Affairs and its Centre for the Study of Global Japan and Asian Institute, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Munk School for Global Affairs
Trinity College in the University of Toronto Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History International Relations Society
Robert H. Catherwood Scholarship Fund Arts and Sciences Students Union at the University of Toronto
Insurance Bureau of Canada

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