Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions

Mark P. Lagon and Anthony Clark Arend, Editors

"The concept of human dignity is powerful, but the international institutions and legal regimes charged with realizing it are not. Lagon and Arend have assembled a wealth of new strategies for strengthening these institutions to make human dignity a reality in the lives of more people."
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What does human dignity mean and what role should it play in guiding the mission of international institutions? In recent decades, global institutions have proliferated—from intergovernmental organizations to hybrid partnerships. The specific missions of these institutions are varied, but is there a common animating principle to inform their goals? Presented as an integrated, thematic analysis that transcends individual contributions, Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions argues that the concept of human dignity can serve as this principle.

Human dignity consists of the agency of individuals to apply their gifts to thrive, and requires social recognition of each person's inherent value and claim to equal access to opportunity. Contributors examine how traditional and emerging institutions are already advancing human dignity, and then identify strategies to make human dignity more central to the work of global institutions. They explore traditional state-created entities, as well as emergent, hybrid institutions and faith-based organizations. Concluding with a final section that lays out a path for a cross-cultural dialogue on human dignity, the book offers a framework to successfully achieve the transformation of global politics into service of the individual.

Table of Contents

John J. DeGioia

Introduction: Human Dignity in a Neomedieval World
Mark P. Lagon and Anthony Clark Arend

I. Traditional Institutions
1. The United Nations Security Council
Nancy E. Soderberg
2. The Responsibility to Respect: Victims and Human Dignity at the International Criminal Court
Tod Lindberg
3. The UN Secretary-General and Human Dignity: The Case of Kofi Annan
Abiodun Williams
4. Regional Security Organizations and Human Dignity
Chester A. Crocker
5. Inclusive Growth, Institutions, and the Underground Economy
Anoop Singh
6. The Global Human Rights Regime: Assessing and Renovating the Architecture
Mark P. Lagon and Ryan Kaminski
7. The Human Dignity Lens on Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Anthony Clark Arend

II. Emerging Institutions
8. Transcending HIV/AIDS Social Stigma: Putting Human Dignity Center Stage in Global Institutions
Rosalía Rodriguez-García
9. The New Global Landscape for Poverty Alleviation and Development: Foundations, NGOs, Social Media, and Other Private Sector Institutions
Raj M. Desai and Homi Kharas
10. Statelessness, Sovereignty, and International Law: Promoting the "Right to Have Rights"
Benjamin Boudreaux
11. Fighting Human Trafficking: Transformative versus 'Cotton-Candy' Partnerships
Mark P. Lagon
12. Religion and the Global Politics of Human Dignity: The Catholic Church and Beyond
Thomas Banchoff
13. Faith-Based Institutions and Human Dignity: A Growing Presence on the Global Stage
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca
14. Business, Human Rights, and the Internet: A Framework for Implementation
Michael A. Samway

III. Institutions and Values: The Future
15. Constructing a Dialogue on Dignity: The Path Ahead
Mark P. Lagon and Anthony Clark Arend




"The concept of human dignity is powerful, but the international institutions and legal regimes charged with realizing it are not. Lagon and Arend have assembled a wealth of new strategies for strengthening these institutions to make human dignity a reality in the lives of more people."—Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First

"Anthony Arend and Mark Lagon have compiled an important and timely set of essays exploring the relevance of the concept of human dignity for the dialogue about the global institutions and human rights. These essays invite readers to examine emerging concepts that may impact policy, scholarship and activism alike for generations. All who seek to improve the human condition could benefit from this thoughtful book."—Dan Porterfield, President, Franklin & Marshall College

"With this robust volume, Lagon and Arend importantly focus the discussion on human dignity, distinguishing it from human rights while providing a broad platform to observe how the concept is operationalized in a wide variety of governance settings. With traditional international structures coming under strain, and as the world develops new models, the studies contained in this book provide invaluable lessons on both the importance of embedding an ethic of human dignity and the mechanisms to do so."—Ana Palacio, member of the Spanish Council of State, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain

"Anthony Arend and Mark Lagon have constructed a definition and a framework of human dignity that provide a foundation for advancing human rights by transcending time-bound and increasingly sterile debates about civil and political versus social, economic, and cultural rights. The essays in this volume are both reflective and practical, informed by a compelling blend of philosophy, advocacy and institution-building."—Anne-Marie Slaughter, President, New America Foundation


Anthony Clark Arend Thomas Banchoff Benjamin Boudreaux Chester A. Crocker Raj M. Desai Ryan Kaminski Homi Kharas Mark P. Lagon Tod Lindberg Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia Anoop Singh Nancy E. Soderberg Abiodun Williams

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Mark P. Lagon is global politics and security chair, Master of Science in Foreign Service Program, Georgetown University; adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and former US ambassador at large to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Anthony Clark Arend is director of the Master of Science of Foreign Service Program and professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. He is the author of Legal Rules and International Society.

384 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-119-1
Oct 2014

384 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-120-7
Oct 2014

384 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-121-4
Oct 2014

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