The Next Page

32: Historian Margaret MacMillan on the shaping of modern multilateralism

October 7, 2020


In Episode 32, historian, author and professor of history, Margaret MacMillan, joins The Next Page to share some of her insights on the makings of multilateralism as we know it today.   

What are some of the roots of modern multilateral cooperation? How did individuals and institutions promote and build multilateralism, and how did they work to spread their ideas? What is the role of public opinion, and has this changed over time? Professor MacMillan shares some fascinating insights into these questions and more, looking at the beginnings of modern multilateralism in the 19th century, to the creation of the first global multilateral organization, the League of Nations, and the post-1945 era with the beginning of the United Nations. As we mark 100 years of multilateralism in Geneva, she also reflects on the evolution of multilateralism over the years, as well as a few thoughts on the multilateralism of the future. 

As an avid reader and writer of many books on history, she also shares a glimpse of her most recent book, War: How Conflict Shaped Us, soon to be released on 6 October 2020, and a few tips on how she approaches the writing process. Hope you enjoy this listen as much as we did! 

About Professor Margaret MacMillan  

Margaret MacMillan is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto and emeritus Professor of International History and the former Warden of St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford. To learn more about her, visit:  

To explore her full collection of books, including Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World (2001); The War that Ended Peace (2014); History’s People (2015); and War: How Conflict Shaped Us (2020), visit her website:

Further Resources  


Speakers: Margaret MacMillan & Natalie Alexander 

Host & Editor/Producer: Karen Lee & Natalie Alexander

Editorial Guidance: Pierre-Etienne Bourneuf, Scientific Advisor at UN Geneva Library & Archives

Images: Ander McIntyre

Social media designs and transcript: Karen Lee 

Recorded & produced at the UN Geneva Library & Archives 

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