Annual Conference

Every year, SPP organizes a conference on a pressing issue in global public policy. Inviting bright, innovative minds across disciplines to speak, SPP aims to provoke debate and ideas on policy-relevant concerns of the international community.

You can find programs, videos, and photos of past conferences below.

Another Day Lost: 1906 and counting... by Issam Kourbaj. Photo: SPP/Daniel Vegel

the view from here: artists // public policy
June 4-7, 2016

From Ai Wei Wei to Banksy, we can see art engaging policy and the political sphere. But in an increasingly connected world where cultural production is ever more easily disseminated, how can this engagement be most effective and meaningful? The 2016 annual conference focuses on a series of questions that are not often asked in the world of government or academia. How do artists engage with issues in public policy? How do artistic representations of issues change how they are perceived? Can artists promote wider public engagement in policymaking? How do artists challenge ideas in their societies and to what end? How does humor intersect with politics, censorship, and violence?

Focusing on Hungary, India, Mexico, Sudan, and Syria, we are seeking a truly global perspective on issues including democracy, drugs, migration, violence, and censorship.

The conference program is available here.

Videos of some panels are available here, and more videos will be available soon.

Saskia Sassen (Columbia University) explains the "expulsion" of the long-term unemployed from society. Photo: SPP/Daniel Vegel

Democracy Shunned: Debates and Prospects
June 17-18, 2015

After the vaulted expectations of the immediate Cold War period, models of liberal democracy are under intense strain. Popular disaffection, corruption, institutional sclerosis and electoral manipulation are symptoms of "democracy shunned," a challenge impacting new and old democracies alike.

The conference program is available here.

Videos of the panels and interviews are available here.

Kati Marton speaks at a panel during Rolling Back the Rollback. Photo: SPP/Daniel Vegel

Rolling Back the Rollback
April 7, 2014

Recent events and developments in a number of European countries give rise to serious concerns about the stability of democracy in parts of the continent. Constitutional and other legal changes, a cut-down on freedom of the press as well as the freedom of association, challenges to the independence of the judiciary, xenophobia, anti-EU attitudes, low voter turnout, erosion of trust in government, and corruption -- all pose growing challenges to the prospects of open societies in Europe.

The conference program is available here.

Videos of the panels are available here.