John E. Trent,

Latest Writing (August 2016)

  • HOW Do We Transform the United Nations and Global Governance: Learning to Market Global Reform (pdf)

2015 - Read this before you vote…

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See also: Complete Bibliography and References

by John E. Trent

Biographical Note -- Notes biographiques

Professor, author, speaker, activist, John E. Trent is a Fellow of the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa, where he was formerly a professor and chair of the University’s Department of Political Science. His career has had a triple orientation, each of them overlapping: as a university professor, as a manager of academic associations, and as a social activist – all of them becoming international. His research interests focus on the reform of international organizations, French-English relations in Canada; and the development of the discipline of political science. Publications include: Modernization of the United Nations System: Civil Society's Role in Moving from International Relations to Global Governance, (2007, Barbara Budrich Publishers, Upladen, Germany), Quebec-Canada: What is the Path Ahead? (with Robert Young and Guy Lachapelle); The United Nations System (with Chadwick Alger and Gene Lyons); The Social Sciences in Canada (with Steen Esbensen and Michel Allard) and Federalism for the Future: Essential Reforms (with Gérald-A. Beaudoin, Joseph Magnet, Benoît Pelletier & Gordon Robertson). With Michael Stein, he is Co-editor of the international book series, “The World of Political Science: the Development of the Discipline”. Professor Trent is the former Secretary General of the International Political Science Association (IPSA), for whom he has been working on a study of the development of the discipline for the past three years. He was also the Executive Director of the Social Science Federation of Canada, a founding Vice-President of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), past-president of the Société québécoise de Science politique and a member of the International Social Science Council. He is Chair of Research Committee 33 on the Study of the Discipline of Political Science. John Trent has also held executive positions in civil society organizations such as United Way and the World Federalist Movement and was founding president of the Regional Association of West Quebecers, the Council of Tourist Development of the Outaouais, Dialogue Canada, and Fair Vote Canada (Ottawa).

La carrière du professeur John Trent reflète une triple orientation, chacune reliée aux autres; en l’occurrence: professeur universitaire, gestionnaire d’organisations scientifiques et animateur social, chacune débordant sur la scène internationale. Professeur depuis 1971 et ancien directeur au Département de science politique à l’Université, il est devenu Chercheur au Centre d’études sur la Gouvernance à l’Université d’Ottawa. Ses recherches portent sur le développement de la science politique, et sur la réforme et le changement dans les systèmes politiques canadien et international. Ses publications comprennent : Modernization of the United Nations System: Civil Society's Role in Moving from International Relations to Global Governance, ( 2007, Barbara Budrich Publishers, Upladen, Germany), avec Steen Esbensen and Michel Allard, Les Sciences sociales au Canada; avec Chadwick Alger et Gene Lyons, The United Nations System; avec Robert Young et Guy Lachapelle, Québec-Canada : chemins vers l’avenir et avec Gérard-A. Beaudoin, Joseph Magnet, Benoît Pelletier et Gordon Robertson, Canada: le Fédéralisme de demain. Actuellement, il est Co-rédacteur avec Michael Stein de la Collection de livre international sur « Le monde de la science politique : le développement de la discipline ». Il fut Secrétaire général de l'Association internationale de science politique (AISP) de 1976 à 1988, Président de la Société québécoise de science politique en 1995-96, et vice-président fondateur du Conseil universitaire sur les Nations Unies (1988-91). Depuis trois ans, il travail sur une étude du développement de la discipline pour l’Association internationale de Science politique. John Trent a aussi rempli des fonctions exécutives dans des organisations bénévoles telles Centreaide et les Fédéralistes Mondiaux en plus d’être président fondateur de l’Association régionale du West Quebec, le Conseil de développement touristique Hull, Chelsea, La Pêche, Dialogue Canada et Fair Vote Canada (Ottawa).


Current Research Project

The Renewal of Values, Structures, Processes
A Proposal
John E. Trent

Summary: Of all the major difficulties facing the world, ranging from climate change and terrorism to financial crisis and pandemics, the crowning challenge is our inability to make decisions about these common difficulties which no state can solve alone. The primary goal of the Partnership for Rethinking the United Nations is to investigate the creation of authoritative global institutions and the principles and processes required to deal with world problems of the 21st century. The second step is to analyze how to bring decision-making world bodies into being. We will want to show governments and citizens that developments both in politics and political research indicate that we are not heading to some single global authority but rather to ones that are partial, constitutional, plural/federal, decentralized, liberal and promote human rights and democracy.

To seek new global institutions, the Partnership will bring together four international associations – the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the International Studies Association (ISA), the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the Forum for Democratic Global Governance (formerly the Montreal International Forum) to organize a series of four world, academic and civil society conferences between 2013 and 2017. The four conferences will deal with: 1) “Thinking about a World Constitution: Values, Norms and Principles”, 2) “New Global Institutions for Peace and Security”; 3) “Rethinking Global Authority, Institutions and Reform Processes”; and 4) “How to bring about a New UN for a Sustainable, Peaceful Planet”.

During and between the conferences a major effort will be made by the partners to stimulate and coordinate focused and cumulative research by individuals, work groups and task forces on complicated subjects such as globalized values, economic equity, a step-by-step versus a holistic approach to reform, new federative forms, and globalized democracy. To develop cohesion, we will commission a half dozen “Globalist Papers” by outstanding thinkers on key issues in global governance. New techniques in ‘purposive’ social research will be adopted so that the project is goal oriented, seeks solutions and incorporates normative objectives. The four Partners will be able to draw on a world-wide network of researchers often working on a multidisciplinary basis.

At the same time we will use this knowledge mobilization and intellectual leadership to analyze how to convince world public opinion and various levels of government that global decision-making is essential. The four principal associations will be supplemented by representative non-governmental associations (NGOs) and an advisory council of former world leaders and international practitioners. The project aims to combine theory and practice by bringing academia and civil society to think together, creating a critical dialogue among the various types of actors in global governance. Without pretending to find some magical solutions, the Partners, through their research and debates, will seek to bring UN transformation back on the agenda, make ideas about the management of global systems more acceptable and initiate an intensive and protracted process of interaction between researchers and ‘practitioners’.

Relevant Activity and Bibliography 2000 - 2012


2006 – 2012 Chair, Research Committee 33, Study of the Discipline of Political Science, International Political Science Association

2000 – 2012 with Michael Stein, $45,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, Development of Political Science at the Year 2000  research and publishing project.

1999 – Co-Editor, The World of Political Science: Development of the Discipline Book Series, International Political Science Association.

1997-2006 – Treasurer, Research Committee 33, Study of the discipline of political science, International Political Science Association.

2003  $20,000, Policy Paper on the “Need for International Institutional Innovation”, Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development.

2001  $15,000, Post-September 11 Impact on Global Institutions, Experts Consultation, Centre on Governance, Canadian Centre for the Development of Foreign Policy.

2000  $15,000, Consultative Meeting on the Forum for Global Governance Project, Centre on Governance, Canadian Centre for the Development of Foreign Policy, DFAIT.

2000 – With Guy Lachapelle, $500,000 for the organization of the XVIII World Congress of the International Political Science Association (SSHRC, DFAIT, CIDA, Government of Quebec, etc.).

The World of Political Science Book Series, General Editors, Michael Stein and John Trent

Dirk Berg-Schlosser (ed.) Democratization: the State of the Art, 2nd rev. ed., 2007
Linda Shepherd (ed.) Political Psychology, 2006

Rainer Eisfeld (ed.) Pluralism: Developments in the Theory and Practice of Democracy, 2006

David Coen & Wyn Grant (eds.) Business and Government: Methods and Practice, 2006

Harald Baldersheim & Hellmut Wollmann (eds.), The Comparative Study of Local Government &Politics,2006

R.B. Jain (ed.) Governing Development Across Cultures: Challenges and Dimensions of An Emerging Sub-Discipline in Political Science, 2007

All published by Barbara Budrich Publishers, Opladen, Germany,


John E. Trent (2011). `Should political science be more relevant? An empirical and critical analysis of the Discipline”, European Political Science, (10): 191-209.

John E. Trent, (2007), Modernizing the United Nations System: Civil Societies Role in Moving from International Relations to Global Governance, Opladen, Germany, Barbara Budrich Publishers.

J. Trent (2009). “Developments in Political Science: Report on the IPSA Montreal Conference, May 2008”, Report prepared for the IPSA Executive Committee, Santiago, Chile, World Congress of the International Political Science Association, July, 2009, ( A synthesis report and analysis of the papers presented at the 2008 Montreal Conference, “Regional and Theoretical Perspectives on Political Science”, the first inter-Congress conference of IPSA. Publication forthcoming, IPSA, 2012)

J. Trent (2008). “Issues in Political Science Circa Century 21: Empirical Evidence from the World of Political Science Book Series”, Prepared for Participation, International Political Science Association Newsletter, Montreal, July .

J. Trent (2006). “How well are we dealing with the challenge of insecurity? New School of Athens, Conference Book, “Beyond the Millennium Declaration: Embracing democracy and Good Governance.

J. Trent (2005). “Globalization and International Security: Pax Americana or multilateralism?”,  in Guy Lachapelle and Stéphane Paquin (eds.), Mastering Globalization: new sub-state’s governance and strategies, Routledge, London. 

J. Trent (2004) “International Institutions: The Case for Innovation and Reform”, Canadian Foreign Policy, 11(1) 3-30.

Co-Author with John Coakley (2000). History of the International Political Science Association 1949-1999, University College Dublin, International Political Science Association.

Chad Alger, Gene Lyons, John Trent (eds.), The United Nations System: The Policies of Member States, Tokyo, United Nations University Press, 1995.

Papers Read:

“Political Science 2010: Out of Step With the World? Empirical Evidence and Commentary”, Paper Prepared for the 21st International Political Science World Congress Santiago, Chile, July 2009

“Issues and Trends in Political Science at the beginning of the 21st Century: Perspectives from the World of Political Book Series”, Keynote presentation at the International Political Science Association Conference, International Political Science: New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives, Montreal, April 30- May 2, 2008 (for publication in the final volume of the World of Political Science Book Series, 2012)

« On Reforming the United Nations », Second Global International Studies Conference (WISC), Ljubljana, July 2008.

“How to Reform the United Nations: A Proposal”, International Studies Association Convention, San Francisco, March 2008

“Democracy and the Reform of International Institutions”, World Congress, International Political Science Association, Fukuoka, Japan, July 2006

“Les Etats-Unis face à la réforme des Nations-Unis », Chaire Raoul-Dandurand, Université du Québec à Montréal, nov. 2005.

°The Reform of International Institutions: Lessons from their Origins and Development°, Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), June 2005.

“International Institutions: How Relevant?”, paper presented to the 19th World Congress of the International Political Science Association, Durban, South Africa, July 2003.