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How are international power relations changing and how can global peace and stability be maintained? This course familiarizes you with some main theories of international relations, shows how the global order is gradually changing and discusses how selected international and regional organizations contribute to the maintenance of global peace and security. You learn what research findings tell us in terms of the capacity of international organizations and actors to help prevent or stop violent conflict, what tools are used to negotiate agreements and how foundations for sustainable peace are best created. We will also focus on the role of the European Union in terms of diplomacy and efforts to prevent conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the contribution of organizations such as the African Union to the prevention of conflict and war. We will study the United Nations Security Council and see in which ways its membership could be adapted to more accurately reflect the power relations of the current global order. Through quizzes and exercises testing your knowledge of these subjects, you will understand crucial concepts and get insights into how the academic study of international relations and international organization contributes to the search for global stability and peace in practice.
Welcome to the course
Great that you are joining us! In this course you will learn about international relations, peace and security. Before you start with studying we invite you to first go through our introduction module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck and we hope you will enjoy the course!
Theories of International Relations
In this first week, we will discuss theories of international relations and in addition to this, we will have a first lecture on the United Nations Security Council. Theories may at times seem a bit ‘abstract’, or even ‘dry’, but you will see that they actually do matter; make sure to also have a look at our assigned and recommended readings to provide you with additional insights.
The Changing World Order: Rising Powers and International Institutions
This week we will be looking into changing world power in more detail, mainly targeting the question: who are the rising powers? You will get lectures from two of our guest instructors: Professor Rob de Wijk and Professor André Gerrits. Topics covered are power politics, the rise of China and the role of Russia in the current global order.
Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Security
This week, we will look at Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Security. We have a number of very interesting lectures as well as some additional interviews with experts in the field. Some of the topics include negotiation and mediation strategies, UN Security Council sanctions, the role of the International Criminal Court, and interviews on the practical implementation of these strategies and mechanisms. Additionally, for those of you completing the honors track, this week we have the peer review essay assignment. In this assignment, you will write about a conflict of your choice and apply the conflict resolution strategies to the conflict. Good luck on the assignment!
Regional Organizations in Global Affairs
This week, we will look at regional organizations in global affairs in which we first focus on the European Union. Thereafter, Prof. dr. Giles Scott-Smith will familiarize us with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Arctic Council. We will also present an additional interview with Prof. dr. Mohamed Salih about the African Union and an interview with Hetty Burgman about Cordaid. Lastly, also a guest lecture at Leiden University by Federica Mogherini, the current High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, is released.
NATO in a Changing World
The topic addressed this week is NATO in a Changing World. There are two lectures by Prof. dr. Rob de Wijk. The first examines coercion and the second elucidates the new role of NATO in the international arena. Furthermore, there are also interesting interviews with several former Secretary Generals of NATO, including Jamie Shea, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and Rasmussen.
Reforming the UNSC: Strategies and Proposals
This week, we will focus on the United Nations Security Council and Reform Proposals. The topics addressed are the history of the UNSC, its current structure, and how it can best be reformed. Additionally, there are two extra videos by Abiodun Williams and Edwin Bakker.
Handing in the UNSC Reform Groups Proposals
Please note that during week 7, there are no lectures and assigned readings. The purpose of the week is for the students participating in the UN Security Council reform group assignment to hand in their proposals. The deadline is on Wednesday of this week at 13:00 CET. If you were unable to participate in the group assignment but would like to in the future, in 6 weeks the assignment will be available again!
Madeleine Hosli and Andre Gerrits