Katherine Hagen

Katherine Hagen is a writer of political commentaries, enriched by her multiple decades of experience with governance at local, national and international levels.  She is a strong believer in participatory and inclusive governance. This website features her commentaries on such governance-related issues as democracy, human rights or climate change.  But the website also includes a section for her more personalized musings, influenced in large part on her perspective as an American living in southern France.

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 started her professional career as a college professor and community activist.  Through the years, she has applied her formal learning and her accumulation of personal experiences to enabling different kinds of actors to participate in far-reaching multi-stakeholder dialogue for the sake of consensus-building and collaboration.

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 in the US, as a White House Fellow in Washington, DC and as a State Senator in North Carolina.  Her work in the private sector has included advising major multinational corporations on engagement with international organizations, first as a senior executive in government relations with AT&T in the US and more recently through her own consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland.  She also founded and directed a global NGO, the Global Social Observatory, that has specialized in multi-stakeholder collaboration on a variety of global social issues, such as trade and labor standards, scaling up nutrition or enabling a just transition to climate change. 

Working today as a free-lance writer and advocate of global collaboration, Katherine continues to participate in meetings and initiatives associated with groups like the Paris Peace Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the White House Fellows Association and the Geneva-based Greycells, Association of Former International Civil Servants for Development. She draws on these activities to write her commentaries. On the community level, she is active in various cultural events in and around Grasse, France where she currently lives with her partner of 35 years Ralph Doggett.  She also teaches a class for adults on English as a foreign language.

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.  Challenges to democracy, moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened call for action against climate change are among her most current commentary topics, while her recent musings include reflections on both family and community.  And on a separate website, www.villandio.net, Katherine links up with her photographer husband Ralph for yet another more personalized series of photographic essays.

Finally, the website also has an archived section (featuring an accumulation of learning tools from HRI and GSO) and a gallery section with highlights and lessons learned from Katherine’s work in a wide variety of settings (featuring a collection of photos with the partners who have worked with her on different projects, groups she has helped put together, meetings she has convened, speakers she has hosted,  and  family).  More detailed “Reflections” on lessons learned from the varied parts of my professional career are offered below.

Reflections on Lessons Learned

Reflections are  all about the mosaic of experiences that Katherine is piecing together for a book on inclusiveness in international politics, much like a patchwork quilt of scattered images that are linked together to portray a common theme. This preliminary phase offers a glimpse into the collection of lessons learned  from the strikingly diverse segments of Katherine’s professional career.

Elective Politics and Long-Lasting People Networks

The Campaign Team 40 Years Later

The Reach of the White House Fellowships

White House Fellows 1979

The Role of Public Policy in the Corporate World

Katherine making calls for a negotiating session with a multi-stakeholder coalition

International Organizations Delivering Norms, Information and Capacity

Katherine Greeting French President Jacques Chirac at the International Labor Conference

Learning about Entrepreneurship and Civil Society Activism

Drafting the Statutes of the Global Social Observatory with Brewster Grace and Others



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