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International Organizations and Good Governance


Admission requirements

This is a specialization seminar for students from the IEG track. To ensure quality of teaching, we limit the number of students in it to 35. Students from another track (PM or GM) who would like to take this course an an elective, please note you need to ask the lecturer per e-mail. You may be asked to take another course if the seminar is full.


In recent decades, processes of globalization have been accompanied with an increasing role for a number of international organizations such as the EU, the IMF, the World Bank and many others. Many international organizations devote considerable resources to the promotion of democracy, administrative reform, economic restructuring, financial regulation and better governance. As their role becomes more important, questions arise how legitimate the requirements and conditions set by these international organizations are and to what extent they themselves are able to adhere to the principles and norms they promote.

The course explores the interrelationship between international organizations, their goals and objectives and the effectiveness of reform they promote. We examine reform and especially administrative reform, both in countries that are the target of reform and the organizations themselves. In this way, the course provides a crucial link that illustrates, for public administration students, the connection between reforms of governance and the effectiveness and legitimacy of international organizations.

Learning objectives

Students who have completed this course should have:
-A broad awareness of the role some of the most prominent international organizations play in governance in various parts of the world
-A broad understanding of the goals and objectives of key international organizations such as the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, the Council of Europe
-Awareness of the way ideas of good governance have been incorporated in the strategies and requirements of these international organizations
-Knowledge of different criteria of legitimacy and effectiveness for an international and the possible ways to evaluate legitimacy and accountability beyond the state’s borders.
-The ability to apply ideas of public administration reform in an international organization setting
-The capacity to evaluate the legitimacy and effectiveness of international organizations based on existing empirical accounts of reform inside the organizations and on pre-defined criteria for legitimacy



Methods of instruction

This course consists of seminar sessions, if students miss two or more sessions without a serious reason, they cannot complete the course.

Study load

  • total study load 140 hours – contact hours: 7 sessions of 3 hours: 21 hours – self-study hours: literature study in preparation for class: 6 hours per week: 6X7= 42 hours
    Case study of an international organization: preparation and presentation: 4 weeks X 8 hours: 32 hours
    Study for the exam, paper writing: 45 hours

Method of assessment

The mode of instruction in this seminar will combine discussion with student presentations. Part one, close reading and discussion, will examine issues related to reform and transparency and good governance inside international organizations that might help us understand how international organizations manage to adhere to democratic principles themselves and the link between legitimacy and the effectiveness of an IO.

In part two, students will research and present several international organizations and their reform and governance promotion programmes; The assessment is therefore comprised of the following components:
-Presentations by students: 40%
-Final paper 50%
-Attendance and participation: 10%


Lecturer uses blackboard, course site will be available a week before the start of the course

Other course materials/literature

Anthony McGrew (Editor), David Held (Editor) Governing Globalization: Power, Authority and Global Governance; October 2002, Polity ISBN: 978-0-7456-2734-2

Next to the book, the course uses a variety of articles and online papers and sources, to be specified in the course outline and on blackboard


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova Email:


This course is open for students of the International and European governance track of the Master’s Programme in Public Administration