INAF-570 Global Institutions: The UN and Beyond
This course is a foundational class on global institutions and partnerships, which deliver substantial cooperation and public goods, but face challenges and are morphing. A new UN Secretary General is coming into office; Syria festers as a crisis in UN; NATO is rocked by Russia and internal questioners; the EU’s value is questioned by the UK and citizens of other members; the G-20’s role and standing are ambiguous; the OAS is calling Venezuela’s standing into question; and countless less formal, multistakeholder efforts (including in Internet governance) are emerging.
The course’s premise is that the UN and multilateral institutions are animated by a particular form of “politics,” in which learning how “the game” is played will benefit future professionals in international organizations themselves, governments, nonprofits, and business.
The course begins with the primary locus of multilateral institutions – the United Nations – as a system any professional in international affairs should grasp. It addresses the role and reform of the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly; the politics of development, human rights and the Responsibility to Protect against atrocities, and of reform in the UN; and the UN's major agencies and programs, from UNDP to the WHO to UNICEF. It examines the impact of equal legitimacy for all governments, of blocs and caucuses in the UN, and of funding arrangements.
Second half of the course addresses other institutions of global governance which are crucial partners to and alternatives beyond the UN. Building critical thinking about the comparative advantages of various arrangements to solve particular problems, the course will treat emerging forums (e.g., the G-20), other economic, functional, and regional institutions (from the IMF and World Bank to the NATO, the EU, Arab League, and Africa Union), as well as hybrid and public-private partnerships (such as the UN-African Union peacekeeping operations or the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria).
The course will intensively hone oral presentation and writing skills useful in professional settings. It will build familiarity with fundamental topics and concepts in global governance (treated in a take-home final exam), but allows focus in areas of student interest in multilateral affairs and institutions, especially through short papers.
(This course was formerly offered as MSFS-534)
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '17: Lagon M (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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