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Multilateral Institutions




Admissions requirements

Introduction to International Relations & Diplomacy and a 200-level course from the “IR and Diplomacy” track of the Major.


This course explores the origins and role of international and multilateral organizations in contemporary world politics, their functioning and their institutional framework . This is a particularly interesting time to be studying this topic, as changes in the international balance of power increasingly challenge the possibilities for the US and “ the West” in general to shape the post-Cold War global order.

The course will focus on global organizations, such as the United Nations and its agencies, funds and programs, informal structures such as the G-20, as well as regional organizations such as the European Union, NATO, ASEAN, the African Union, the League of Arab Nations and others.

The course will analyze questions such as:

  • 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 international arena?

  • 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?

  • Can and should the multilateral system have more “teeth” to enforce its decisions ?

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students are able to

  • describe and evaluate both the usefulness and the limitations of theoretical approaches in their analysis of how international organisations function in practice

  • analyse/examine/critically review the different roles played by international organisations in the realms of peace, security, development and diplomacy

  • distinguish between different forms of multilateral organisations

  • apply disciplinary concepts on conflict, peace, security and development to a specific region

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

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


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction


Each week two students will give a presentation on the topic of that particular session. The presentation will take a maximum of 20-30 minutes, and will be followed by a discussion with the rest of the class. The presenters will have to prepare questions to lead the discussion and be prepared to answer to questions raised by the class.


In the second hour, one or two students will shortly introduce a debate on a specific topic. This will be followed by a discussion in which the rest of the class participates.

ICC&OPCW visit

The participation to such visit in compulsory. Moreover, students are required to actively participate to the visits and the meetings that will compose them.

Final Essay

Students will write a final essay of 2.500-3.000 words. The paper should be handed in through TurnitIn on Blackboard. The subject of the essay should be related to the topics discussed in the course. While the paper should be analytical, it is expected the students also present policy recommendations and conclusions. Independent thinking will be appreciated; the essay should not be a rehash of the literature used.

Students should be aware of the rules on plagiarism and are expected to follow the proper format (Times New Roman, 12, 1.5 spacing) and reference guidelines.


The final mark for the course consists of three elements:

Participation: 15%
Discussion: 35%
Essay: 40%
ICC & OPCW visit: 10%


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

Each seminar has a selection of compulsory literature that must be read before the seminar it is assigned for. The selection of articles and chapters is deliberately chosen to provide a comprehensive and multi-faceted overview of the topic, and must therefore be read in its entirety. Students are encouraged to discuss the articles also with their fellow students, either in person or via Blackboard.

As this is a course focused on current events, the instructor also reserves the right to alter or add to the readings in order to be able to use present-day examples in the discussions of the weekly topics. These readings will be handed out in class or posted on 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