Welcome to the Research Unit of International Organizations at Friedrich Schiller University Jena!
Also known as Sfera con Sfera, this bronze sculpture crafted by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro was originally created for the Vatican in the 1960s. Today, many variations of quite different sizes can be found all over the world – mainly in famous museums or in front of universities, but also in front of the UN headquarters in New York. The artwork is reminiscent of a complex machine with many interdependent parts as well as of a complicated and fragile world. The cracks and holes in the outer sphere are necessary for a view into the interior, yet they also symbolize a process of erosion. This serves as a fitting illustration of the fragility of the global network of states as well as its necessity. Cooperation through international organizations (IOs) enables the perpetuation and deepening of the multilateral world order. Due to the multitude of transboundary crisis such as wars, pandemics, economic turmoil, and environmental disasters, IOs are increasingly at the center of attention. IOs including the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are at least nominally the best-equipped actors to face these challenges. Often, however, their efforts to provide effective crisis management are hampered by political and institutional gridlock.