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International Organizations and the Promotion of Good Governance


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


International organisations have grown in importance as vehicles for states, helping them manage global interdependence and, at the same time, as motors of further globalisation, transferring policy competences or norms between the national and supranational levels of governance.

This course explores some of the ways in which (Western) international organisations try to promote better governance. We discuss how international organisations understand good governance and how such paradigmatic understandings affect their policies and tools. The focus of the critical examination of good governance is mostly, but not exclusively on developmental and financial organisations such as the World Bank and the IMF. In addition, non-Western organisations linked to regional integration initiatives around Russia and China are also explored through a theoretical lens that emphasises the independent role of organisations and their impact on policy.

The course analyses international organisations through the prism of cutting edge research into their effectiveness, tools and capacities as independent bureaucracies that are affected by norms, organisational structures and have both power and ‘pathologies’.

Course objectives

Students who have completed this course should be able to:

  • Acquire and demonstrate a broad awareness of key analytical and empirical trends in multi-level governance and international organisations

  • Understand the implications of good governance paradigm for development and for IO’s work

  • Be capable of critically engaging with the approach and findings of classical and new articles dealing with the power, pathologies, limitations and usefulness of IOs

    • Understand the role different policy tools such as conditionality and public-private partnerships play and the impact they have on countries seeking financial or expert assistance
  • Be able to compare and contrast the ways in which member states of different organisations and regional groups localise different norms in their domestic settings

  • Demonstrate understanding of mechanisms that affect international organisations performance and effectiveness


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be entirely seminar-based. Instructors and students will discuss readings in class based on advance preparation by the students. Key themes will be introduced by the instructor and discussants and illustrated by guest speakers.

Study load: 140 hours

Assessment method

  • Preparation of readings and comments and questions submitted in advance: 25%

  • Discussant role: 15%

  • Final paper: 60% (2500 words, with references)

Resit information for this course will be announced before the start of the course
The resit will take place 6th of June 2022.  

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

Partial grades will remain valid for one academic year.

Reading list

To be announced.


Use Brightspace to register for every course. The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division


Prof. Dr. A. Dimitrova