The UN and Post-war Global Order: Bretton Woods in Perspective

From 17 to 19 September 2014 the RSC held a conference entitled "The UN and Post-war Global Order: Bretton Woods in Perspective", to explore the international history of the original United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (commonly known as Bretton Woods) held 70 years ago at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

In an attempt to emulate the international character of the 44 delegations present at Bretton Woods in 1944, the RSC invited an international assembly of scholars from across the globe to attend and participate in the conference, ranging from the United States, Canada, and Chile to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, and India. Starting with a keynote lecture given by Dr. Eric Helleiner from the University of Waterloo on the international history of Bretton Woods, the participants engaged in an intensive two-day conference that covered the pre-history of Bretton Woods, the contributions made by many of the national delegations during the Bretton Woods Conference, as well as the end of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s. In-depth discussions ranged over North-South relations, bilateralism versus multilateralism, transnational actors and interests, and international development. The conference benefitted greatly from having top-level scholars from India and Russia to add new dimensions to the debates.

The UN and Post-war Global Order Conference managed to successfully contest the conventional view of Bretton Woods as a sudden, Anglo-American event with little regard for international development issues. This was accomplished through an analysis of the truly international character of the Bretton Woods Conference, which produced new insights into its complex history. A volume will be prepared from the papers which will provide an important contribution to the place of Bretton Woods as a founding conference of the United Nations system.