Throughout her career, Katherine Ann Hagen has advocated the promotion of dialogue in a neutral forum to facilitate engagement among divergent groups as a means of enhancing mutual understanding, respect and collaboration. She believes that the way to avoid conflict is by enabling people to resolve their differences through a search for commonly shared solutions. This is not to say that she has shied away from embracing certain fundamental values about how people should relate to each other. Quite the contrary.
Katherine supports gender equality, racial and ethnic equality, LGBTQ rights, workers’ rights, the right to freedom of speech and belief, democracy and the whole gamut of rights envisioned in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her perspective is that these rights require more than the absence of discrimination; they require an active effort to live and work together by listening to and respecting the differences among individuals and groups while also being open to benefiting from the things we all have in common. Satyagraha, ahimsa and the dynamic interplay of Indian, African and American interpretations of non-violent action have provided the philosophical underpinnings of her world view.
This website features in-depth commentaries on global social issues (under “Commentaries”) and more personal reflections or musings on aspects of daily life (under “Musings”). These are regularly updated, and reader comments are welcome. The COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened call for action against racism are the most current topics, where the urgent challenges to both local and global collaboration are facing us.
There is also an archived section and gallery with highlights from Katherine’s work in a wide variety of settings encompassing civil society, academia, and both public and private sectors. With an undergraduate degree in Government from Oberlin College, and doctorates in both Law (UNC-Chapel Hill) and International Relations (SIS-American University, Washington, DC), Katherine has applied her formal learning to a solid legal and political understanding of governance systems and the capacity of different kinds of actors to participate in them. Most recently, her public sector experiences have included a senior level position at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, but she also held both national and state-level positions as a White House Fellow and as a State Senator in the US. Her work in the private sector has included advising major multinational corporations on engagement with international organizations, fist as a senior executive in government relations with AT&T in the US and more recently through her own consulting firm based in Switzerland. She also applied all of these experiences to leading a global NGO, the Global Social Observatory, that specialized in multi-stakeholder collaboration on global health and nutrition issues.
Working today as a free-lance writer and advocate of global collaboration, Katherine draws on the stimulation of networking and collaborating with groups like the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, the White House Fellows Association and the Geneva-based Greycells Association of Former International Civil Servants for Development on the global level. And on the community level, she shares her insights through musings about cultural and political events in and around Grasse, France where she currently lives with her partner of 35 years Ralph Doggett. She is aided in these endeavors by the intellectual stimulation of the Cercle Culturel du Pays de Grasse and the Rencontres Activités Loisirs of Peymeinade with whom she is applying her newly acquired skill of teaching English as a foreign language to a course on “American English” conversation. Ralph’s technical oversight, by the way, makes this website possible, while his excellent photography often adds a visual impact to the personal reflections and musings.