Presidential Mission Statement – Prof. Pablo Oñate

Presidential Mission Statement – Prof. Pablo Oñate

Publication date: Wed, 19 Jul 2023

Pablo Oñate (Spain), who was elected President-Elect by the IPSA Council in 2021, officially became the new President of IPSA on 18 July, following the election of the President-Elect by the Council at the 2023 IPSA World Congress in Buenos Aires. Succeeding Dianne Pinderhughes (United States), Prof. Oñate will serve a two-year term from 2023 to 2025.

Please find below Prof. Oñate’s Presidential Mission Statement, presented at the IPSA Council on 18 July 2023.

Distinguished IPSA Council members, dear colleagues,

It is a great honor to stand before you as the newly appointed 27th President of the International Political Science Association. I do it, though, with great humility, being aware of the huge responsibilities this position entails. 

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your trust two years ago, when you elected me as President-Elect, and today, appointing me as IPSA President. And believe me when I say I am fully aware of the high responsibility that this position entails: I just have to think about the list of those who have preceded me in enjoying such an honor. You can be sure that over the next two years, I will be utterly committed to leading this worldwide Association to the best of my capacities and being fully devoted to this activity. 

Political science plays a key role in shaping the way our societies and citizens understand institutions, political processes, conflicts, political threats and opportunities or public policies in a globalized world. 

Nowadays’ accelerated transformations of our societies and political systems entail a challenge for our professional activity and, therefore, for this global Association. IPSA, as the organization that aims at being “the voice of political science around the world” –as our motto stands– has the responsibility of being aware of and react to these changes, fostering and incentivizing scientific analysis and knowledge that can explain these transformations and their consequences, offering our political systems, their societies and citizens, thorough answers that may improve their political life and its consequences.

Let me briefly share with you the objectives and initiatives I humbly would like to propose and see implemented in the next two years in my capacity as IPSA President, as a contribution to the enhancement of IPSA and its members’ collective and individual impact.

First, I would like to suggest we experience with a new format of collective scientific event where our members’ work-in-progress is presented and discussed in-depth by colleagues working on the same topic or specific area of interest. I think there is room and demand for this kind of worldwide event, conceived in a global perspective, to be held in the non-World Congress years. As you know, next year IPSA will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. 

In order to celebrate this special occasion, we will hold two Conferences: One in Montreal, in April 2024, and one in Lisbon, in September of the same year. I propose that linked to the September one, we launch this new event format: IPSA Work In-progress Workshops, in which our members can present and discuss their work in-progress in depth and extensively, making use of digital technologies that provide a useful platform for this intense discussion of on-going scholarly work or papers. At the same time, this event will link and gather political scientists from around the world to exchange ideas, share and analyze their scientific results, and engage in rigorous scientific discussions on specific topics of common interest. 

I am sure this experience will allow us to conduct a thorough assessment of the new event format in order to decide to extend it to a regular biennial pattern. I am convinced it will enhance the provision of networking opportunities for scholars with different academic and professional, as well as new avenues for the production of relevant scientific collective publications. I think this biennial event will quickly be an appreciated new service for our members, becoming a well-known platform to showcase the richness of our discipline, increasing the opportunities for collective discussion of our individual work, improving it, fostering further collaborations, and simultaneously nurturing early career scholars and future political scientists. 

Of course, we will count on our Research Committees to play a key role in the development of this initiative, helping to reach its best possible design (always considering IPSA’s worldwide character and its global perspective) and, later on, proposing and selecting the panels and their respective participants.  

Secondly, in a number of occasions, chairs, vice-chairs and other officials of our Research Committees have expressed the difficulties and workload that the correct management of the everyday business of the RC entail for them. Therefore, I will propose to the EC the development of digital RC management platforms, so their officials may benefit from digital means to conduct the RCs’ activities: From keeping and up-dating lists of their members, to communicating with all of them, organizing meetings or workshops, and circulating information and documents, or disseminating them. 

This initiative would entail bringing a step forward “IPSA Digital” and the possibilities and services it offers. I have already talked about this initiative with the Secretariat members and we are sure it will allow RC officials to manage the RC’s entire business and its activities through its own digital platform, easing and diminishing the workload chairing the RC entails. Again, the involvement and contribution of RCs will be key for the development of this initiative.

Thirdly, under the mandate of my predecessor, President Pinderhughes, IPSA decided to launch an IPSA Global Blogsphere. A group of our colleagues in the Executive Committee –led by Theresa Ready– is working intensively on its design. Over the next two years, the project will be fruitfully implemented, aiming at acquiring a leading worldwide position among the blogs that deal with politics and political science. 

This Global Blogsphere will gather short pieces by experts on political science, in a wide variety of areas and fields of the discipline. These short contributions will highlight the most important aspects of cutting-edge scientific research, presented in a friendly but rigorous format. At the same time, it will allow us to reach bigger audiences and interests, and involve journalists, policymakers, citizens and society at large. 

This activity will promote the relevance and impact of political science and political scientist in addressing the complex challenges our societies face nowadays. We expect the activity of this IPSA Global Blogsphere to quickly become a reference point all around the world, providing and disseminating information, functioning as a place for the fruitful exchange of ideas and research results, as well as a useful platform for the promotion of early-career scholars.

Finally, as a fourth initiative, let me call your attention to themes of our World Congresses (as the one Irasema Coronado and Azul Aguiar Aguilar presented to us yesterday). They point to topics or issues that deserve our collective attention and around which we will organize roundtables, special sessions and dedicated lectures. Just think about how many interesting contributions, related to the respective Congress-theme, are presented in our World Congresses by well-known political scientists that, on many occasions, fade away after the Congress finishes because they do not end up turning into a journal paper or a book chapter. They are great academic resources that we let vanish after our Congresses. 

Therefore, I will ask the Committees on Publications and the Congress Program in the EC to reflect on the possibility of asking the chairs of these Congress-theme roundtables and special sessions to summarize the content of their session in short documents (3 to 5 pages) that could be, later on, gathered and published in digital format on IPSA’s website or in the IPSA Global Blogsphere. These summarized documents would last as the fingerprint of our World Congresses and as an outstanding contribution to the History of our discipline, in what we could call IPSA World Congress Lectures Series.

So, as you see, these objectives and initiatives embrace two perspectives: First, moving forward in using and implementing the most innovative digital technologies and instruments in our organization, benefiting from their potential advantages for the development of IPSA’s and IPSA members’ academic or scientific activity. Secondly, increasing the services and benefits IPSA individual and institutional members can find in this collective global organization, providing more spaces for the development of interactions and collective collaborations among our members, the global political science community, and between them and society at large.  

Of course, I am aware this is a collective endeavour, which requires the generous contribution of many people, who are ready to leave their own obligations in order to collaborate in the development of these and other common goals: From panel chairs and discussants to Research Committee officials; from Special Session convenors to Executive Committee members; from our journals editors to members of IPSA Council; and –of course– the Secretariat staff. This is IPSA Community, or IPSA family as we often like to put it: A global group of talented and generous people working together for the promotion and the advancement of political science throughout the world, stimulating the production of the highest quality of scientific research and scientific knowledge, as well as the professionalization of the discipline with the highest possible standards. 

I am counting on your help and engagement to collectively achieve these common aims and objectives for the benefit of our national, regional, and global political science communities. I am sure that together we will be able to reach these goals with the most fruitful impact. 

Let me finish this address by thanking Dianne Pinderhughes, the Past President, for her dedication and her leadership. It has been a privilege to work with her and enjoy her highly professional, academic and human capacities. Thank you, Dianne, for all your great work and thank you in advance for your help in conducting this great Association in the next two years. 

I also want to express my gratitude to our new President-Elect, Yuko Kasuya, for her willingness to help me in the next two years and for letting me help her in the following two. It will be a pleasure to have the opportunity to work together in this great endeavor. 

Finally, let me express to you all my deepest gratitude for the honor and the opportunity to serve as the President of the International Political Science Association. You can be sure I will make all possible efforts to serve IPSA to the best of my capacity, and to develop our common goals and objectives to fulfil the IPSA mission, considering and integrating the wide diversity IPSA members entail, and paying special attention to the Global South and the early-career scholars. Thank you very much for your trust and for giving me this great opportunity to lead this wonderful collective endeavour.