New LISD Commentary Conceptualizes Today's Self-Determination Crises

In a new LISD commentary “Self-Determination in Our Times: A Brief Re-Assessment," LISD Director Wolfgang Danspeckgruber contextualizes today's self-determination crises and offers key points for how to effectively deal with a self-determination crisis. Danspeckgruber notes, "Determining one’s own destiny, also known as 'self-determination,' has been one of the most complex, intricate, emotion-mobilizing, aspiration-creating concept in our world," but cautions that, "[s]elf-determination, the intent for greater autonomy or independence by a certain community can however also be instrumentalized for outside interests and strategies. ... Much of the outcome depends on the leadership in the community, the state, and the role of information and media." Still, Danspeckgruber argues, self-determination claims should not be ignored and channels of communication must remain open. "In case these expectations and aspirations do remain unfulfilled," he asserts, "there is a danger of increasing tensions between that community and the state power center, but also between that community and other equal communities in the same state."

About the Author:

Wolfgang Danspeckgruber is the Founding Director of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University, LISD. He is also the founder and chair of the Liechtenstein Colloquium on European and International Affairs, LCM, a private international diplomacy forum. Danspeckgruber researches, teaches and writes on the theory and practice of international diplomacy, private diplomacy, and crisis diplomacy; on the interactions between religion, values, and diplomacy; and on self-determination, security, and stabilization. Regions of interest and involvement, also in private diplomacy, comprise Europe, the wider Middle East, and Central Asia. As of January 2017, Danspeckgruber has been advising the Austrian Chairpersonship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). From 2008 to 2010, during Austria's Membership in the United Nations Security Council, he served as advisor to Austria’s delegation to the United Nations. He also has advised the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations. 

Danspeckgruber was educated at the Universities of Linz and Vienna, Austria, (ML; DLaws) and at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva, Switzerland (PhD). Following his Austrian military service (First Lieutenant, Reserve), he served as special assistant to the Commander of the Austrian National Defense Academy. Danspeckgruber was a visiting scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and has held fellowships at the Center of Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and at Princeton's Center of International Studies. Danspeckgruber’s books include Robert Gilpin and International Relations: ReflectionsWorking Toward Peace and Prosperity in AfghanistanThe Princeton Process on the Crime of Aggression, 2003-2009 (edited with Stefan Barriga and Christian Wenaweser); Self-Determination of Peoples: Communities, Nations, and States in Global InterdependenceEmerging Dimensions of European Security Policy. He is the editor of the Encyclopedia Princetoniensis and the LISD Chair’s Summaries.