Emma Sky, OBE is the founding director of Yale’s International Leadership Center. She teaches Grand Strategy, Great Power Competition, and Middle East Politics at the Jackson School of Global Affairs and runs Yale World Fellows – the university’s signature fellowship for mid-career leaders from around the world. She is a best-selling author of two books.
When the Cold War ended, Francis Fukuyama famously asked if we were witnessing the “end of history”: Liberal democracy had prevailed against communism in the global competition of political systems that shaped the decades since World War 2. The bipolar world order gave way to a unipolar world, with America as the only global superpower. In 2022, when Putin started his war of aggression against Ukraine, many therefore asked: Are we witnessing “the end of the end of history”?
In this wide-ranging conversation with Emma Sky, we unpack some of these concepts and attempt to trace a world history of the past 30 years. We start by reviewing the inspiring Yale World Fellows 20-year reunion, which took place from 14-16 October, 2022. About half of all World Fellows came to New Haven to connect, celebrate, and discuss the great challenges facing the world in the 21st century.
We then discuss key world events of the past three decades – the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, 9/11, the Iraq War, the 2007/2008 financial crisis, the Arab Spring, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump – and attempt to define the place of the war against Ukraine in this broader historical picture.
Today’s episode of the Big Picture was produced by Wissal Zebda and Ryan McEvoy. It was made possible with the support of the Yale World Fellows program at the Jackson School of Global Affairs. Our theme music was composed by Ravi Krishnaswami at COPILOT Music. For updates on future episodes, you can follow me on Twitter (@abulavinia). Thank you so much for tuning in!