Photo: Clark and Kim Kays via Flickr

The 24th World Congress of Political Science takes place this July in Poznań, Poland. We caught up with Guy Lachapelle, Secretary General of the International Political Science Association to find out more…

The theme of the congress is ‘politics in a world of inequality’. Why is this topic so important?

Guy Lachapelle: Inequality - and why it persists – is a key issue for our time, and political scientists have an important contribution to make to the debate. Our conference co-Presidents – Dianne Pinderhughes and Marian Sawer – both research inequality, so of course they thought it was a good topic! We decided to approach the topic of inequality from several different angles so that a wide range of researchers could take part. The main theme will therefore be examined under seven sub-themes: Comparative Politics, Democracy and Regime Types; Identity Politics, Social and National movements; International Political Economy and Globalisation; International Relations; Political Institutions and Civic Engagement; Political Theory; and Public Policy and Administration.

What are some of the highlights you are most looking forward to?

Guy Lachapelle: We have some fantastic plenary speakers, including Helen Clark and Joseph Stiglitz. I’m also looking forward to our Research Committee sessions, and to hearing from our conference co-Presidents (Pinderhughes and Sawer, as above).

As always, the congress will be a great opportunity to meet up with colleagues, and several of IPSA’s former Presidents will be taking part. I’m also particularly looking forward to hearing from Ron Inglehart, who will speak about the World Values Survey. Ron recently published an article in Foreign Affairs titled ‘why equality is likely to make a comeback’ – something I’m keen to hear more about. Another highlight will be hearing from our prize winners, many of whom have still to be announced. Brendan O’Leary, the recipient of the Juan Linz prize, will present on minorities, migrants and refugees. This is a very important and timely issue, not only for Europe but for the whole world.

You’ve just announced that the congress will relocate from Istanbul, Turkey, to Poznań, Poland. Why did you decide to relocate?

Guy Lachapelle: The decision to relocate was made in collaboration with the Turkish Political Science Association. We had been monitoring the situation in Turkey for several months. Our mandate is first and foremost to support our community and we wanted the best possible scientific environment for our congress: one in which individual safety and freedom of academic exchange would be protected. Academic freedom is a central question for IPSA, and not only in Turkey; political scientists are one of the key groups that get silenced whenever academic freedom comes under attack. In fact, we are currently drafting a statement on academic freedom and we encourage all our national associates to contribute to the discussion.

Poznań will be an excellent place to hold the congress. We received strong proposals from several European cities, but we always look for a location where we can reach out to a different academic community, so it is very timely for an IPSA World Congress to be held in Eastern Europe. But we will certainly go back to Istanbul in the future.

Guy Lachapelle is Secretary General of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and Professor in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University, Canada. Read Guy’s full biography.