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Rising Independence

Movements Around the World: The State of Sovereignty Initiatives in Scotland, Québec and Catalonia

May 14, 2013

Independence Movements

The year 2012 was marked by a resurgence of sub-national independence movements around the world. On the heels of its first absolute majority victory in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish National Party led the charge for a referendum on independence. After reaching an agreement with the British government, an up-or-down vote will be held in late 2014. In Québec, the Parti québécois formed a minority government in late 2012, bringing independence back onto the agenda after nearly 10 years out of power. In Catalonia, over one million people marched in support of independence in September 2012. Though the moderate separatist government led by the Convergence and Union Party lost ground in recent elections, separatists still make up enough seats to be able to call a referendum on independence. The Spanish government has vowed to block any vote on the issue.

This program aimed to frame the debate on these independence movements and discuss their possible trajectories in 2013 and beyond. The event provided a forum to discuss and exchange on differing experiences with similar referendums and devolution in the past.


Link: Listen to the Panel


Meet the Moderator

Charles King

Charles King is Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University, where he previously served as chairman of the faculty of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is the author of five books on European history and politics, including Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams (W. W. Norton, 2011), which received the National Jewish Book Award; The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus (Oxford University Press, 2008); and The Black Sea: A History (Oxford University Press, 2004). He lectures widely on eastern Europe, social violence, and ethnic politics, and has worked with broadcast media including CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, the History Channel, and MTV. A native of the Ozark hill country, King studied history and politics at the University of Arkansas and Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

Meet the Panelist

Stephane Paquin

Stéphane Paquin holds a doctorate in international relations from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) under the direction of Bertrand Badie. He was also an associate professor in the School of Applied of Politics at Sherbrooke University, visiting Predoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University in Chicago, lecturer at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, guest professor at the University of Montreal, associate professor at the UQAM and Acting Director General of the International Association of Political Science (International Political Science Association).

Dr. Paquin has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Fulbright, the SSHRC, the FQRSC and PIERAN. In 2008, he was selected in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. government. Dr. Paquin is also accredited ambassador of the Palais des congrès de Montreal.

Clara Ponsati

Clara Ponsati is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University where she teaches classes on Strategy, Politics and Economics, and on the Crisis in Europe. She is a Professor at the Institute of Economic Analysis-CSIC in Barcelona - where she served as director 2006-12 - and at the Barcelona School of Economics. Previously she taught at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and had visiting appointments at the U. of California San Diego and the U. of Toronto. Ponsati is a specialist on Game Theory and Public Economics, with interest on negotiations, bargaining, and voting. Her present research explores the links between group formation and majoritarian institutions, to understand the causes and effects of meritocracy and egalitarianism in the performance and stability of democratic organizations.

Kimberly Cowell-Myers

Kimberly Cowell-Meyers is Assistant Professor of Government and affiliated faculty with the Women & Politics Institute at American University. Her work focuses on the politics of gender, religion and identity, including the role of gender in institutions such as legislatures and political parties. She is the author of Religion and Politics in the Nineteenth Century: The Party Faithful in Ireland and Germany (Greenwood Press, 2002) and several articles in Political Studies, Politics & Gender, Perspectives on Politics, PS: Political Science and Politics, the Journal of Women, Politics & Public Policy, Women & Politics, Irish Political Studies and Nationalism and Ethnic Studies. She has worked in the British Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the US Institute of Peace and was recently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Women into Politics at Queen’s University in Belfast. At American University she teaches comparative politics, American politics, political theory and research methodology and an occasional Honors colloquium on Northern Ireland.

Andrew Hughes Hallett

Andrew Hughes Hallett is Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. From 2001 to 2006, he was Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University (Nashville) and before then at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He is a graduate of the University of Warwick (UK) and London School of Economics, holds a Doctorate from Oxford University, and is a visiting Professor at the University of St Andrews (Scotland). He has been Visiting Professor in Economics at Princeton University (Fulbright Fellow 1992-4), Bundesbank Professor at the Free University of Berlin (2005), and has held visiting positions at the Universities of Warwick, Frankfurt, Rome, Paris X, Cardiff and at the Copenhagen Business School.

Concurrently he acts as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London); a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland's Academy of Sciences) and former chair of their Economics Committee; and as joint editor of the Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Professor Hughes Hallett's research interests lie in the fields of international economic policy; policy coordination; fiscal policy; the political economy of monetary integration and institutional design; and the theory of economic policy. This includes applications of game theory; fiscal-monetary interactions; exchange rate regimes; optimal policy under uncertainty; risk sharing; policies in transition or developing economies; and the issue of structural reform. In the past he has also worked on commodity markets and problems of financial market stabilisation, numerical methods in economics, and on strategic trade policy. In these areas he has published many papers in leading academic journals; plus 8 books and 16 government or agency reports, and has acted as expert witness to select committees of the Houses of Parliament on several occasions.

Beyond the academic world, he has acted as consultant to the World Bank and the IMF at various times; also the Federal Reserve in Washington, the Institute for International Economics in Washington, and to the UN, UNESCO, OECD, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and to various governments and a number of central banks in Europe. These assignments have ranged from evaluations of trade policy; fiscal and monetary stability; the scope for stabilising financial/commodity markets; to an assessment of the dollar and partner currencies; investment under uncertainty; and evaluating of the best exchange rates for joining the Euro for the European Commission. He was one of 14 academics selected to review the UK government's the case for joining the Euro; and one of 18 selected by the European Commission to review the progress and future challenges of the new European currency and economic system. Currently he sits on the Council of Economic advisors to the Scottish government, and as an expert advisor to the Kalman Commission of the UK government on economic governance.

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