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Seminar Series “Responding to Disruption: Government, populism, the pandemic, and the breakdown of public trust”

Organised by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, the MA in Politics and International Relations and the European Institute, Liverpool Hope University

After a year of global pandemic, a US election conducted in near dystopian circumstances and, for some, the existential challenge of Brexit to the EU and UK, issues of public trust in the ability of governmental institutions to achieve effective policy solutions would seem inevitable. This has manifest in international relations as inconsistent Trump led US foreign policies have moved away from multilateralism and internationalism; as authoritarian and populist style politics gained voter credence to compete with liberal democratic national political solutions; and as the pandemic stubbornly overcame well intended but weak, confusing, and sometimes reluctant governmental health and economic policy responses.

In the light of, hopefully, a more optimistic vaccine led upland in this new year, what responses can be expected from international and national governments to re-establish trust in the efficacy of liberal and Democratic politics? What lessons, if any, have been learned?

In a program of webinar Q&As, organized by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Center and the MA in Politics and International Relations at Liverpool Hope University, invited experts in their field comment on passwords towards the reestablishment of public trust in a post Covid/Brexit/Trump environment.


Friday 30 April

“The UK, the EU and the Labour Party: Lessons in the relaunch of Trust”. Dr Richard Corbett.

Dr Richard Corbett CBE FRSA was a Member of the European Parliament from 1996 to 2020, except for 2009-2014 when he was a senior member of the cabinet of Herman Van Rompuy, the first full-time long-term President of the European Council. He was Leader of the Labour MEPs from 2017-2020, and as such a member of the Labour party NEC and attended Shadow Cabinet. In the Parliament he was for ten years the spokesman on constitutional questions for the Socialist & Democrat Group and was the Parliament's rapporteur on the Constitutional and Lisbon treaties as well as on revising the parliament's own internal procedures. He has written several books on European affairs and was a visiting Professor at the College of Europe.

Webinar via Zoom: 11:00 am -12:00 pm. Register in advance at:


Friday 7 May

“Sino-American Relations: Is Mistrust Inevitable?”. Emeritus Professor Anthony McGrew.

Tony McGrew is Distinguished Professor of Global Public Policy in the College of Liberal Arts at Shanghai University, Shanghai (2019- ) and Deputy Director of the Centre for the History of Global Development. From 2015 -18 he was Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce and Professor of Global Public Policy at La Trobe University, Melbourne as well as Director of the La Trobe Confucius Institute. Prior to this he was Executive Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Strathclyde University (2010-2014). Educated at the University of Southampton (BSc and PhD) specialising in international relations where he also held the position as Dean of the School of Social Sciences (2006-2010). Has held several visiting positions at Universities in China (Nanjing, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences), Japan (Chuo Tokyo, Ritsumeikan, Kyoto), Ireland (Trinity College), Estonia (NATO Baltic Defence College), and Australia (Australian National University). Publications have concerned the subjects of globalization, global political economy, cosmopolitanism, and global governance. Current research projects include:  global international theory; ‘After Globalization?’ (or the questionable demise of globalization); and Chinese ‘schools’ of international relations.

Webinar via Zoom: 11:00 am -12.30 pm. Register in advance at:

Friday May 14

"The sovereignty illusion: Britain, Ireland and the challenge of European integration"

Dr Michael Holmes, Associate Professor of European Politics at the European School of Politics (ESPOL) in the Catholic University of Lille, and Director of the Lille-Liverpool European Institute.

Webinar via Zoom: 11:00 am -12:00 pm. Register in advance at:

Friday 21 May

“Trust, the Paris Agreement and COP26”. Professor John Vogler.

John Vogler is Professorial Research Fellow in International Relations at Keele University. He has been involved with the international relations of the environment over the last three decades and is the author of numerous publications including Climate Change in World Politics (2016) Palgrave Macmillan. he is currently working on the prospects for COP 26.

Webinar via Zoom: 10:00-11:30 am. Register in advance at:


Friday 28 May

“Deference, Trust, Populism and Contemporary British Politics”. Professor Catherine Marshall.  

Professor of British Studies at CY Cergy Paris Université in France (formerly the Université of Cergy-Pontoise), Director of the AGORA research centre and of the MA Political Ideas in a Digital Age. Her research focuses on the history of ideas in the second-half of the nineteenth century. She also works on the development of political ideas in Victorian Britain and on their legacy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She is the co-editor, with Bernard Lightman and Richard England, of a 3-volume critical edition of The papers of The Metaphysical Society (1869-1880) (OUP, 2015) and The Metaphysical Society. Intellectual Life in Mid-Victorian England (OUP, 2019). She also co-edited, with Jean-Paul Rosaye, an issue of the journal Philosophical Enquiries on "L’idéalisme britannique - British Idealism" (Editions Matériologiques, 2018) and co-edited with Stéphane Guy, The Victorian Legacy in Political Thought (Peter Lang, 2014). She has just published a monograph entitled Political Deference in a Democratic Age. British Politics and the Constitution from the Eighteenth Century to Brexit with Palgrave (2021). Her next project will be on classical liberal Victorian women.

Webinar via Zoom: 10:00-11:00 am. Register in advance at: