Ngaire Woods: “Plebiscites exacerbate polarization and divide societies more and more.”

The founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford is set to be the keynote speaker at the “Global Paths: Seeking Common Ground” conference, organized by the Luksic Scholars initiative of the Luksic Foundation. This event is focused on creating dialogue about the role of public service in fostering Chile’s development and on identifying the most effective methods for building consensus.

Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, will be addressing topics such as how academia can equip future political leaders for a divided world and the impact of forming unconventional coalitions on effective governance during her visit to Chile.

As a keynote speaker for the “Global Paths: Seeking Common Ground” conference, organized by Luksic Scholars, an initiative of the Luksic Foundation, Dean Woods is currently in-country for the event scheduled for Tuesday, January 9th.

In an interview with El Mercurio, Dean Ngaire, who is also an academic of global economic governance, highlighted several challenges that democracies are facing around the world today. These include the difficulty of increasing polarization in society, the questioning of government institutions, and the use of referendums and plebiscites as an “alternative” to representative democracy.

She emphasized that “when politicians are elected to assume responsibilities, but instead turn around and say they want to hear our voices individually, what they are saying is that they are looking for shortcuts to representative democracy. This is the case in Chile, regarding the Constitution, in Australia regarding the Aboriginals, and in Brexit.” She pointed out that plebiscites “exacerbate polarization and divide societies more and more.”

Specifically addressing the three constitutional plebiscites held in Chile, Dean Woods remarked, “constitutions are not magical solutions. Many governments attempt to modify electoral systems through constitutional changes, hoping to address underlying issues. While constitutions can sometimes offer solutions, if they do not turn out well, they can crystallize the status quo.”

International Conference: “Global Paths: Seeking Common Ground”

Dean Ngaire will be the main speaker at the “Global Paths: Seeking Common Ground” conferece which will take place on Tuesday, January 9th at 6:30 pm Chile time. She will provide a keynote speech on how to improve the governance of organizations, the challenges of globalization, development, and the role of international institutions and global economic governance.

Her speech will be followed by a panel discussion held amongst experts with vast experience in the public and private sectors, including the former Undersecretary of Public Health of Chile, Paula Daza; economist and former Chairman of the Board of CODELCO, Oscar Landerretche; professor of the Faculty of Government of the University of Chile and former Undersecretary of Higher Education, Verónica Figueroa; and Chilean lawyer and academic, Sebastián Soto.
The event will be live-streamed via the website
For more information, please contact [email protected].