GEST-530 Balkan Instability: A Case Study in International Peacebuilding
Fall for 2016-2017
Selinger, Tom and Selinger, Kirsten
Serving for centuries as a volatile boundary between east and west, the Balkans region of Southeast Europe sparked a world war at the beginning of the 20th century and introduced the world to the term “ethnic cleansing” near the end. The collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s drew global powers into an unprecedented stabilization effort, involving some of the most dramatic successes and tragic failures of the international community. While parts of the Balkans have emerged as success stories, issues such as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s continued instability, Kosovo’s troubled independence, as well as the region’s inflow of migrants and outflow of foreign fighters all continue to challenge policymakers and world leaders today.
Taught by two experienced Foreign Service Officers who have twice served in the region, this course will review the contemporary history of this complex area and examine the foreign policy tools the U.S. and international community have employed in the struggle for stability. Readings and discussion will consider both how governments and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have influenced developments in this volatile region and how events there have shaped diplomatic approaches to nations in turmoil. Exploring the countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia, we will investigate the relative success and failure of the diplomatic, economic and military initiatives we have used to address conflict and post-conflict issues. Classes will highlight EU and NATO integration as a driving force behind these stabilization efforts while also exposing the unique challenges of multilateral diplomacy.
Students will benefit from the perspective of practitioners and their experience implementing policies and programs in the Balkan region. With written assignments and classroom simulations that give students a window on the life of an American diplomat in the field, this course will provide insight into U.S. foreign policy formulation and identify challenges that remain ahead. GEST-530 advances the learning goals of the BMW Center’s Master of Arts in German and European Studies (MAGES) program through the integration of academic and practical knowledge and the development of skills in oral communication and critical writing.