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Multilateral Institutions




Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: similarly-tagged 200/300-level courses or permission from the instructor.

Course description

This course explores the origin of multilateral institutions, and their functioning in contemporary regional and global politics economy. Such institutions do vary from informally agreed practices as well as standing organizations with members and acting bodies. In the era of the waning power of the US to shape the post-Cold War global order, multilateral institutions are getting charged with the problem of coordinating policies in global and regional settings. At the global level, the course covers the functioning of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, the WTO, the G-7/20. At the regional level, we will, among others, study the European Union, NATO, ASEAN, the GCC, OPEC, BRICS, and the SCO.

The course will, among others, reviews questions such as:

  • What are the origins of the modern international organizations?

  • Why do states (and other actors) create international organizations in pursuit of their interests?

  • How do international organizations constrain or enable the behavior of states and other actors in the global politics?

  • When are international organizations effective in achieving their goals? Are they held sufficiently accountable? How should and can they adapt to changing power structures and new balances of power?

  • Does the multilateral system still have “teeth” to enforce its decisions when appropriate?

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, students should:

  • understand the complexity of,—and the nexus between—, theoretical approaches to International Relations and international; organizations and the practical limitations of the institutions to perform their coordinating tasks;

  • understand the different roles played by international organizations in the realms of security, development and diplomacy;

  • distinguish between different forms of multilateral organizations;

  • apply disciplinary ideas on conflict/peace, security and development to world regions;

  • find, evaluate and critically read relevant academic literature and other information;

  • report on findings orally and in writing using the appropriate formats.

Compulsory textbook

Parts of the following textbook will be used in the course:

Global Political Economy, Second Edition: Evolution and Dynamics
Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams
Palgrave Macmillan
4th edition, 2013
ISBN-10: 1137287365
ISBN-13: 978-1137287366