ESI President Gerald Knaus participated in a high level conference at Stanford University. Organized by the university's "Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law", the "Conference on Governance and Sovereignty in Failed and Failing States" brought together renowned academics such as Larry Diamond, Thomas Risse, Robert Keohane and others to discuss one of the most pressing problems of our time:
Why do states fail and how can state-failure be prevented? What steps should the international community take? What did states do in the past and how can incentives for local actors be structured?
Gerald Knaus gave an assessment of the successes and failures of state building efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo. Tying in ESI's analysis of the "European Raj", he acknowledged the success the international community has achieved in Bosnia so far, namely preventing a backslide into violence and bloodshed and a slow but steady rebuilding of the country. He criticised the failure in building new institutions that facilitate economic growth, state administrative centralization, a lacking locals' stake in politics, and asked for conditions that would facilitate international withdrawal. Reiterating previous policy proposals, Mr. Knaus made a positive point for moving beyond the "rhetoric of permanent emergency" which is used to put off difficult questions of how to actually build lasting institutions.