About Peter Engelke and Alex Paul

Peter Engelke is a senior fellow in the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative of Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, a Washington, DC based think-tank. His research focuses on how global trends, like urbanization and globalization, are shifting the global governance challenge for foreign and security policymakers.

Alex Paul is a Program Assistant in the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience, also at the Atlantic Council. He is interested in the increasing role of non-state actors in global governance. His masters’ thesis focuses on the role of mayors in international relations.

On Benjamin Barber: Cities, democracy, and global governance

The passing last month of visionary thinker Dr. Benjamin Barber occurred during a difficult stretch for democracy, the topic that animated Barber the most during his long career. A passionate advocate for democracy, Barber devoted his life to empowering citizens for democratic self-governance.

Barber’s contributions will be missed all the greater because he was more than a fascinating theorist; he put his ideas into practice, as the charismatic driving force behind the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM). Launched in the Netherlands last September, GPM realizes Barber’s thinking: if cities are bastions of democracy, then cities need to become a more organized force at the global level. GPM advances this cause by giving cities as diverse as Athens, Buenos Aires, Oklahoma City, Rabat, and Seoul a platform on which their leaders can more easily connect, find practical solutions to common problems, and turn their collective ambition into independent action on the world stage.