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Global challenges and public policies



This course discusses a number of selected challenges affecting global governance, and how they are – or can be – addressed by public policies. The starting point of the course is that most issues facing the world today (such as financial crises; climate change; migration) transcend national borders. The course discusses the problems and challenges that governments, non-state actors and international organizations face in cooperating to address them, using a selected number of theories.

In this course, students are provided with a set of conceptual tools that they can apply to a wide array of pressing policy problems at the international level. Among the questions asked, we will address how to achieve cooperation among states with different interests and resources, how to ensure compliance in international agreements, and how to manage common resources in a sustainable way. An emphasis is placed on the communication of results in policy-relevant contexts.

Course objectives

  1. To have an understanding of and insight in key issues related to a number of selected global challenges and the public policies with which these challenges are addressed (e.g. climate change, poverty, global public health, financial crises)
    1. Understand and be able to apply frameworks of policy analysis to real-world issues
    2. Be able to draw policy implications from theories and communicate results in a way that is relevant to policymakers.
    3. Be able to communicate research results to an audience of policymakers.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminars

  • Group work

  • Guest lectures

Course Load

  • Lecture (6)

  • Seminar (12)

  • Further structured study (5)

  • Self-study (107)

Assessment method

  • Written exam 20%

  • Individual essay/paper 50%

  • Group paper (Policy Proposal) 30%

Retakes are possible for the individual essay/paper and the group paper if the grade was lower than 5.5.

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


Information available at the latest a week before the start of the course.

Reading list



Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. Alexandre Afonso
Assistant Professor
Leiden University
Institute of Public Administration – Campus den Haag
Schouwburgstraat 2
2511 VA The Hague
The Netherlands

Phone +31 070 800 99 23