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This article discusses whether non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may be excluded from the international governance system. The article describes three ideological viewpoints of NGOs: 1) state positivism, which views states as the ultimate decision-maker and finds that an international organization (IO) cannot grant any role to NGOs that is outside of the IO’s founding treaty, 2) functionalism, which finds the IO to be the decision-maker regarding the role played by an NGO, and 3) the community view, which views the IO as a compilation of decision-makers and places an individual, rather than a state, at the center. Although the majority view is that there is no obligation to permit NGO participation in IOs, I support the minority view that such a duty may exist. These categories provide innovative thoughts on how to incorporate NGOs in the international system in the future.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-143, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-143

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