Adam Roberts
17:30 to 18:30
End date
02 March 2020
Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Linton Rd, Oxford OX2 6UD
Monday, 2 March 2020 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm


Liberal International Order in Trouble

Keynote Lecture by Professor Sir Adam Roberts

Professor Sir Adam Roberts, Senior Research Fellow in International Relations, University of Oxford, will deliver a Keynote Lecture on the contemporary decline of the liberal order, and call for a rethinking of liberal ideas and practices. The lecture opens a workshop the following day to scrutinize the transformation of the contemporary international order.

The term ‘liberal international order’ has become widely used – generally to refer to the international system that developed in the years after the end of the Cold War in 1989, or even to the whole period since the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Although the term itself is relatively new, the ideas and practices that comprise it are not. They include multi-party democracy, the growth of international law and institutions, recognition of human rights, freedom of religious belief, and the removal of barriers to international trade.

All of the above have been advocated as means of reducing the incidence of war between states. This is not an elegy for a liberal international order that is now under threat, but rather a call for rethinking it, especially in light of its long, diverse, and troubled history.


Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow in International Relations at Oxford University and a Fellow of Balliol College. In 2009–13 he was President of the British Academy, the UK national academy for the humanities and social sciences. He was awarded a knighthood in 2002 for services to the study and practice of international relations, and has given expert advice to parliamentary committees, governments and non-governmental bodies in the UK and overseas. 

His numerous books include (co-edited.) Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters, Oxford University Press, 2016. He is currently working on a book on the history of the idea of liberal international order.