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Global Challenges: Peace & Justice



First-year programme.

Admissions requirements



The course will introduce theories of peace and justice and reveal the complexity of their interconnectedness in a globalized world. We will first identify a major Western line of thought on the relation between peace and justice within a normative order of priorities of one over another, and then proceed to some alternative approaches. Throughout the course, we will address the vexed question of justice and peace being at odds since competing claims to justice and peace often cause conflicts. We will examine in depth the causes of conflict, the changing nature of contemporary conflicts and the changing nature of international responses to them. The course will also focus on the legal instruments to achieve peace and justice in international politics and raise the question of an appropriate use of force in resolving conflicts and protecting the human rights. The course will particularly address the justice gap in achieving a sustainable peace and using domestic and international judicial mechanisms to address past crimes in war-torn societies, prevent gross human rights violations in the future and contribute to conflict transformation and reconciliation. The course will prepare students to apply the learned concepts in several case studies through weekly presentations and a final activity in the week 7.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Evaluate and apply main theories of peace and justice on different case studies

  • Analyze the causes of conflict in a globalized world

  • Critically reflect on the Just War Theory

  • Explore complex questions regarding the interplay between sovereignty, the protection of human rights and accountability

  • Critically reflect on judicial and non-judicial mechanisms that address legacies of large-scale human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law

  • Introduce different disciplinary approaches to peace and justice, multidisciplinary approaches and going beyond to an integrated interdisciplinary perspective

  • Search, evaluate and critically read relevant academic literature and other information obtained through newspapers or original documents

  • Report on the findings during weekly group presentations and the final activity


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through a weekly two-hour plenary lecture (Monday) and one two-hour seminar (scheduled for a day Wednesday or Friday). As with all LUC The Hague courses, attendance at both the plenary lecture and the seminars is obligatory (you can have no more than 2 absences during the whole course on which you should inform your instructor in advance).

In the last 5-10 minutes of each plenary lecture, students will be obliged to write response sheets distributed by the teaching assistant (name TBC) before the start of each plenary lecture. Please enter the auditorium from the entrance on the 3F. In case you are late max. for 10 minutes, you can still pick up your response sheet from the teaching assistant at the back of seats in the Auditorium. Avoid being late. At the end of the plenary lecture, you are supposed to submit your response sheets in boxes which will be named by your section’s instructors. The response sheets’ function is three-fold: most importantly, it will be an opportunity for students to reflect on the taught content and as such will aid learning; it will be evaluated by your instructor as a part of the participation grade and, it will serve as a proof of your attendance.

The plenary lectures discuss the concept of peace and justice from various perspectives and disciplines, and introduce the methodology to research it within the given discipline as well. For the name of the speaker and the topic for each lecture, please see the Syllabus.

Seminars provide an environment in which students can discuss their new knowledge in smaller groups. The discussion will be moderated by the instructor who will raise some critical questions based on the plenary lecture, assigned readings for that week and the students presentations on case studies. Students will be divided into 5 groups (per four students) and prepare 10-minute weekly presentations on their case studies from weeks 2-6. Instead of the week 7’s seminar, there will be a final activity where groups following the same case study during weeks 2-6 will gather and apply the learnt concepts and skills.


Assessment 1: Seminar Participation and Reflection Notes (15%)
All students are required to attend and actively participate in plenary lectures and seminars. Both will be interactive and you will have ample opportunity to participate. Reflection notes are compulsory to submit after the plenary lecture.

Assessment 2: Case Study Presentations (15%)
Each week (starting with week 2, ending in week 6), all case study groups are required to give a presentation of maximum 10 minutes, in which they apply the Case Study Research Questions of the preceding Monday plenary lecture. At the end of each presentation a PowerPoint slide should be included in which you refer to the most important literature and sources used for the presentation and briefly explain the division of labour within the group for this particular presentation. All PowerPoint presentations are posted on the blackboard site of the seminar.

Assessment 3: Two Individual Take-Home Exam Essays 40% (each counts for 20% of the grade)
In this element of assessment, you will be required to answer two essay questions from a choice of several questions. Your answers to each question should be approximately 1,000 words long and will be due in weeks 3 and 6.

Assessment 4: Final group report 20%
Each case study group is required to submit a group report in Week 8. As a group, students can choose among the weekly topics covered in this course and decide to investigate one of the listed Case Study Research Questions in depth. This joint report is a collaborative exercise to bring together the analysis, research, and understanding developed and explored through case presentations. The content of the report should therefore reflect each group’s engagement with the concepts, ideas, and data introduced in lectures and discussed in seminars. Please be aware that even for a group report, each student will receive an individual grade.

Assessment 5: Participation in the final activity in week 7 10%
The participation in the final activity will be assessed on the basis of the understanding of the conflict and its background and the ability to suggest innovative ways for conflict resolution.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Most sessions will include chapters from:
Hwang, Yih-Jye & Lucie Cerna (eds) (2013) Global Challenges: Peace and War (Leiden: Brill)

The acquisition of this book is highly recommended. The book is available on Brill’s online platform for those who wish to purchase a print copy: For those who wish to purchase an E-copy:

Other materials will be provided via Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Maja Vodopivec, Room 4.07, meeting by appointment or during office hours. Contact:

For the contact hours of your seminar instructors please refer to the syllabus available via Blackboard.