The Scottish Council on Global Affairs, an introduction
There is a pressing need to marshal Scotland’s formidable expertise on international affairs to support the formulation of public policy and to lift the level of debate over international questions in the public sphere.
The Scottish Council on Global Affairs [hereafter SCGA or ‘the Council’] is the first all-Scotland international relations institute providing a hub for collaborative policy-relevant research and a home for informed, non-partisan debate on all areas of foreign and security policy broadly defined.
The Council provides a forum to bring together the public, private and not-for-profit sectors with civil society and academic expertise to encourage dialogue, debate and the dissemination of expertise on issues of global importance. It looks to forge new relationships and deepen existing ties with universities and civil society in the rest of the United Kingdom as well as with centres of expertise in Europe and across the world. No such institution exists in the UK outside of London.
There is a pressing need to marshal Scotland’s formidable expertise on international affairs to support the formulation of public policy and to lift the level of debate over international questions in the public sphere. The experience of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020-2021 has underlined the need for international cooperation and multi-disciplinary expertise to address the political, economic and public health challenges of the twenty-first century. The SCGA is a crucial contributor in all these areas.
The Council’s core mission is threefold:
- To provide a much-needed institutional framework to facilitate and amplify multi-disciplinary research and to link this expertise with policy stakeholders in Scotland, the UK and beyond.
- To promote informed discourse and debate on international affairs within Scotland through informed commentary and an exciting series of public-facing events.
- To forge partnerships with cognate civil society and research institutions in the UK, Europe and beyond to amplify the global reach of Scottish expertise.
The Council builds upon the initial contributions of its Founding Partners in pursuit of these aims. At present the founding partners are:
- The University of Edinburgh
- The University of Glasgow
- The University of St Andrews
We anticipate expanding this network of founding partners and building strong working relationships with all Scottish universities.
We have, in addition, held initial discussions with all of the main political parties in Scotland and there is widespread support for this initiative across the political spectrum as well as within the Scottish public sector. The Founding Partners have agreed an overall structure for the Council as well as a set of principles for its management and financial transparency and accountability.