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This course provides an introduction to International Organizations and the United Nations, and explores how business and management tools can be applied in these settings to achieve better, more effective results. With a focus on cross-sector partnerships in a changing world, the course offers you insights into the inner workings of international organizations and the challenges they face today. It will introduce you to effective, state-of-the art management tools and principles to help you lead change in this world – taught by senior staff of international organizations themselves.
This is an introductory course offered by the International Organizations MBA (IO-MBA) of the University of Geneva, an executive program for change-makers in international organizations, NGOs and social ventures.
Welcome to the Course
Welcome to this course on International Organizations Management. Over the next five weeks, we will explore the inner workings of International Organizations and the United Nations and learn how business and management tools can be applied in these settings. The course is structured into five modules, each with a focus on a different aspect of international organizations, and includes lectures, discussions and readings to dive deeper into particular topics. To qualify for a course certificate, you must complete and score above 80% on all five of the end of module quizzes. See more details in the course syllabus below, then let's get started with Week 1!
Introduction to International Organizations
In the first module of our course on International Organizations Management, we provide an overview of the historical context and different ways of classifying international organizations in today's contemporary world. We will focus in particular on the United Nations – its origins, purposes, mandate, structure and activities – as the most important inter-governmental organization that coordinates global action on peace and security, humanitarian protection, human rights, and economic and social development.
The Shifting Context for International Organizations
In our second module, we will turn to the practice of international relations to understand how states engage with each other and other actors on the global stage. Today, international relations are about much more than the traditional study of states, security and power. From growing anti-trade sentiments, to the impact of climate change, to cyber-security in a hyper-connected world, most of the security threats of the 21st century will require greater cooperation across borders and collective action from governments, private sector and civil society. These shifts raise important questions for the future functioning of international organizations.
Leadership in the UN System
Now that you have a better understanding of the UN system, its shifting context, challenges and opportunities, we move on to explore the concept and practice of leadership in the UN. In this module, we will outline a conceptual framework and key literature on UN leadership. We explore different styles of leadership and examples of the practice of leadership by successive Secretaries General. We analyze several instruments of leadership – leadership through the power of convening, setting goals, marshalling evidence, and what we refer to as visionary leadership. We conclude by examining prospects for future UN leadership and multilateralism in a changing world.
Public Private Partnerships
The shifting context for international organizations makes collaboration on global challenges more important, but also more difficult. In addition to collaboration between nation states in traditional international organisations, public private partnerships (PPPs) have emerged as an innovative model for collaboration that transcends the conventional boundaries of the public sector, private sector and civil society. In this module, you will learn about the role of cross-sector partnerships in addressing today's complex challenges as well as the unique management approaches that are needed to bring diverse stakeholders together. We will set out theoretical frameworks to assess the opportunities and challenges of partnership, and apply these frameworks to examples of partnerships between international organisations and business, public agencies, and civil society.
Marketing & Fundraising
International organizations are facing increasingly competitive environments in gaining the funding and public support necessary to fulfill their missions. The current economic situation has made it more critical than ever to use effective marketing management to build positive media attention and a strong brand identity. In this last module, we blend together theoretical principles with the practical skill of marketing and fundraising in international organizations. The course is divided into four parts, each with a theoretical framework followed by the application to a real world example.
Tina Ambos, Lea Stadtler, Stephan Mergenthaler, Julian Fleet, Cassandra Quintanilla, Sebastian Buckup, Claudia Gonzalez Romo, Gilbert Probst and Bruce Jenks