Campus Life

Lecture to examine how next UN secretary general will perform during crises

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for Global Studies (CGS) will host Ian Johnstone, professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Lewis Katz Auditorium at University Park. His lecture, "A World in Turmoil: Priorities for the next U.N. Secretary General,” will investigate the crises facing the United Nations as it is handed over to a new secretary general.

With issues such as the U.N. Security Council paralysis for Ukraine and Syria; an increase in violent extremism; cyber attacks; Ebola, Zika and other infectious diseases; unprecedented flows of refugees and migrants; and continuing allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, the U.N. is facing a crisis of relevance and legitimacy — and the question of who will be the next secretary general only becomes more pressing. Johnstone, who has worked with two previous secretaries general, will examine these specific crises and present a set of priorities for Ban Ki Moon’s successor.

Johnstone previously served in the executive office of the secretary general. He has recently published three works: "The Oxford Handbook on International Organizations" (forthcoming 2016); "Law and Practice of the United Nations, 2nd edition" (2016); and "The Power of Deliberation: International Law, Politics and Organizations" (2011). Along with his recent publications, he currently serves on the editorial boards of the Global Governance journal and International Organizations Law Review. His writing has not stopped him from continuing his work with the U.N., where he works as a consultant when he is not teaching courses in international organizations and peace operations.

Through his experience with the U.N., Johnstone will share his knowledge in this presentation. The evening will conclude with a question and answer forum with Johnstone moderated by Sophia McClennen, director of CGS and associate director of the School of International Affairs. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Rock Ethics Institute, and the School of International Affairs.

For a complete listing of the Center for Global Studies’ events, or to learn more about Johnstone's lecture, visit

Last Updated March 08, 2021


  • Sarah Lyall-Combs, Assistant Director, Center for Global Studies