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Sitra’s expert panel contemplates the rise of isolationism

Sitra's group of international experts considers current world trends.


Sitra’s advisory panel – made up of top international experts – met on 27 and 28 June to evaluate global developments and their possible knock-on effects for Sitra’s future-related work. One big theme emerging was the spread of isolationist policies in Western countries and their possible consequences for international co-operation. The topical nature of the discussion was underlined by the referendum in the UK, which voted for the country’s exit from the European Union.

The expert panel came to the opinion that mainstream thinking in politics has so far focused too much on intensifying commercial relations and on co-operation in defence matters. In light of the future exit of the United Kingdom from the EU and the rhetoric of the candidates in the US presidential election, it seems that this way of thinking is now about to change.

The expert panel (see the member list below) also held wide-ranging discussions about other global megatrends, including the future of work and the future of innovation policies. Another important viewpoint concerned the reorganisation of administrations and administrative structures. The big challenges facing states (for example climate change) are not the responsibility of any single administrative sector and therefore answers must come from co-operation between various sectors of administration.

According to the expert panel, education and the development of skills and capabilities are crucial in both working life and administration in order to enable us to meet the needs of our fast-changing world.

Sitra’s international expert panel

Last year, Sitra’s Supervisory Board decided to establish an international panel of experts to challenge and assess Sitra’s strategic choices and operating methods. The panel is also consulted on Sitra’s international activities and influence.

The expert panel met twice in 2015 and once this year (27-28 June), prior to the Sitra’s Supervisory Board making their decision on possible follow-up for 2017-2019. The first meeting of the panel took place on 22 June 2015.

The panel members are:
Aart de Geus – Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Foundation
Bruce Jones – Director of Foreign Policy program, Brookings Institution
Mariana Mazzucato – Professor, University of Sussex
Geoff Mulgan – Chief Executive, Nesta
Anders Wijkman – President of the Club of Rome, Board Member of the Tällberg Foundation and the Stockholm Resilience Center
Jill Wong – Director, Institute of Public Sector Leadership, Civil Service College, Singapore
Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Chairman