Building a better society together

Lady Minouche Shafik (LSE) on a new social contract for the 21st century


What should our social contract look like that better connects with the challenges of the 21st century? This is the question that Lady Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics, will address in her keynote lecture.

The world today is again experiencing fundamental changes and challenges, putting the social contract between individuals, companies, civil society and the state under pressure. Technological changes, including automation and artificial intelligence, are generating unequal benefits. Changing gender roles are impacting household and labor market dynamics. Aging populations are putting pressures on health care systems and pensions, and climate change is generating new risks and challenges, particularly for young generations.

Minouche Shafik argues that the social unrest in recent years, from populism, the resistance to globalization and technology, the culture wars, and the youth protest against climate change are signals that a new social contract is necessary, and motivates the exploration in her most recent work: What we owe each other, a new social contract for a better society.

Her approach in answering this question exemplifies Lady Shafik’s broader work and personal journey, growing up in Egypt and then the United States, daughter of a father who impressed on her that “everything can be taken away from you, but not your education”, and later spanning several decades in senior leadership positions, from the World Bank to the London School of Economics.

Lady Shafik takes a global perspective, highlighting the value of drawing inspiration and lessons from the concrete ways in which countries and societies from around the world have been shaping their social contracts in practice.

Her keynote is the second annual lecture of the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe), and is organized in close cooperation with Institutions for Open Societies and the Utrecht University School of Economics.


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TivoliVredenburg (Hertz)

Registration is possible via the website of TivoliVredenburg