Connor O’Brien: IOs should look to hire “Nutmeggers” and not “Texans.”

In the world of International Organizations, it is important to try to hire individuals whom you believe to be ready to serve the IO, and not their home country. However, it is also important to observe the environment when some people in the IO serve it’s interests, while others serve their state, as oppose to them all serving the IO or their own state.

Now, a good way that I like to conceptualize this is by comparing it to the states in America. Personally, I am from the great state of Connecticut. It’s a nice place, and we have nutmeg. Now I’ve lived there my entire life, and I have never heard of anyone ever say that they thought of themselves as Connecticutians or Nutmeggers rather than Americans, or have any real patriotism for Connecticut for that matter (though to be honest, calling oneself a Nutmegger is ridicules). Now on the other hand, of all the people I’ve met from Texas, a fair amount of them are deeply patriotic about Texas, and have frequently referred to themselves as Texans. So, if two groups of people from these states were to get together on a committee to discuss policy affecting these two states, arguably the committee would look at policy affecting Connecticut more objectively from a national standpoint than policy affecting Texas, as state patriotism might interfere. Please note that I’m exaggerating a tad for the sake of the example, I mean no disrespect to either state.

And so, in international organizations, we need not only be wary of a system in which all the members are in it for themselves, but rather a system in which that there are some who think of themselves as for the IO, and some who are just for their country. While this may sound similar or even slightly better, it means the IO cannot rely on conflicting state interests to cancel out one another. In this system, it makes it all the more desirable for states with high amounts of nationalism or control over their citizens in the IO to push their agenda more, as there will be less opposition to it. To try to rectify this, IO’s should be vary careful in their hiring process, especially in individuals coming from these types of countries. Also, while many foreign service departments of various states have methods in place to try and stop their members from “going native” IO’s might want to consider a similar policy, in only hiring, when practical, people with a global background, and not much evidence of excessive nationalism, patriotism, or indebtedness to their own state.

That being said, I believe that while I do not necessarily trust the heads of most IO to be serving their organizations with 100% loyalty, I think that the world is slowly moving in that direction. As I have said in the past, the global stage is a relatively new one in its current form. The creation of the UN is still in living memory, and the concept of a global citizenship is still quite young. I think that looking back on the progress that has been made to globalization and internationalism, within a few decades IO’s will be far more geared towards international interests than the staff’s member states, and that gradually, most “Texans” in IOs will become “Nutmeggers.”

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