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Big Data for Humanity


Admission requirements

Global citizenship

Admission requirements

No particular prior knowledge is required.

Strongly recommended: command of the English language both orally and in writing.


In this course you will first be introduced to the fundamentals of international relations and diplomacy. The first 6 weeks are offered in the form of a MOOC: Changing Global Order. We expect you to do this in your own time. On two occasions you are invited to the LivingLab The Hague, Schouwburgstraat 2, to discuss your ideas.

After this introduction you will focus on the subject of Data for Humanity. (Big) Data is currently used for intelligence (NSA) and for advertisement (Google adds), but can we utilize its potential for the social good.

MOOC: Changing Global Order
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. In the course, we also focus on the role of the European Union (EU) in terms of diplomacy and efforts to prevent conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the contribution of some other regional organizations to the prevention of conflict and war.

We also look at activities of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and, in the context of a final debate, see in which ways its membership could be adapted to more accurately reflect the power relations of the current global order.

You learn about all of these topics by doing quizzes and exercises testing your knowledge of these subjects, helping you understand crucial concepts and get insights into how the academic study of international relations and international organization can contribute to the search for global stability and peace in practice.

Big Data for Humanity
How could the ever-growing amounts of digital data help us improve the conditions of the global poor? Will more data allow us to improve policy responses to humanitarian crises and violent conflicts? Could Big Data help us bring about peace, development and stability?

Big Data has often been described as a fuel for both innovation and our economy. It is being applied in many areas, for example financial markets, health and fast moving consumer goods. In three classes, we want to explore current trends in and prospects for Big Data to become a driver for human development.

Course objectives

At the end of this course the participants will:

  • have an understanding of the concepts of global citizenship, individual responsibility, collective responsibility, responsible innovation, and frugal innovation;

  • be able to explain multifaceted dimensions of responsible innovation in a global context;

  • be able to explain frugal innovation as a part of responsible innovation;

  • be able to discuss, at a basic level, the legal, anthropological and business opportunities and constraints of frugal innovation, in writing;

  • be able to build an argument and present it based on a case, in writing;

  • have improved their skills of presenting, providing feedback, and of working in a team.


Schedule is online

Period: Early September-Mid October 2014

Course outline:

The course consists of a number of weekly lecture videos, which are between 5 and 12 minutes in length (approx. 30 clips), by different experts. The video lectures contain 1-2 integrated quiz questions per video. Brief lecture notes will accompany each video segment.

There will also be exercises: an essay on negotiations and strategies of conflict resolution, and multiple choice questionnaires on substance covered in the lectures. Some assignments will be graded automatically (multiple choice), others assessed on the basis of peer-review techniques (essay).

The final exercise is an essay of 2000 words on the potential of Data for Humanity. You are asked to identify, analyse and reflect on the potential of a case study in one of the following fields: Disasters, Disease, Peace, Farming, Education, Democracy, Finance, Migration.

Course Syllabus

  1. September 1st Week 1: Introduction to International Relations

  2. September 7th Week 2: The Changing World Order: Rising Powers and International Institutions.

  3. September 14th Week 3: Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Security

  4. September 21th Week 4: Regional Organizations in Global Affairs: The Examples of the European Union, the African Union, the

  5. Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Arctic Council

  6. September 28th Week 5: NATO in a Changing World

  7. October 5th Week 6: Reforming the United Nations Security Council: Strategies and Proposals

  8. October 6th Week 6: Dr. U. Mans on big data for peace

  9. October 13th Week 7: Caroline Kroon (Cordaid) on data for development

  10. October 20th Week 8: Robert Kirkpatrick (UN Global Pulse) on data for humanity

Mode of instruction

Three 3 hour lectures coordinated by Dr. U. Mans
6 weeks of online lectures by Professor Dr. M. Hosli

Assessment method

  • Statement of Accomplishment (Pass/Fail)

  • Data for Humanity paper (Total grade)


This course will be available in Blackboard but will be structured through Coursera

Reading list

See Blackboard


In uSis for both minor and course, and on Blackboard, course name: Global citizenship.


Dr. U. Mans
Professor Dr. M. Hosli


LDE coordinator Campus Den Haag, Sjoerd Louwaars,


This is a new, optional bachelor course that is part of the LDE minor Responsible innovation (Leiden-Delft-Erasmus). A maximum of 90 students (30 from each university) can participate.