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A Better World is Possible: The Future of Human Security and Global Governance


Admission requirements

The course is aimed at Honours students of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs. Selection of participants will be based on a letter of motivation and grades attained so far. Maximum number of students: 20-25.


This course challenges and encourages outstanding honours students to study, analyse and evaluate the most pressing issues and problems of human security and global governance in both theory and practice. Taking the United Nations Development Report of 1994 (which mentioned the term ‘human security’ for the first time) and the Report of the Committee on Global Governance of 1995 (conceptualising the challenges of global governance) as starting points, students will examine and assess lessons from previous failed and (partially) successful attempts of predicting and addressing local and global security problems and will apply these lessons to persisting current and future challenges.

Themes to be covered range from threats to individual freedoms and human rights to war, peace, geopolitical transformations as well as traditional and non-traditional challenges (such as arms proliferation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, poverty and development, climate change and ocean governance, cybersecurity and hybrid threats, global health and pandemic management) to global security and global governance.

Students will closely interact with major experts, diplomats, policy-makers and senior officials from international organisations and NGOs as well as with social entrepreneurs, in order to devise their own actionable, pragmatic but at the same time innovative solutions and scenarios for the future of human and global security governance. Whilst analysing core concepts, theories, risk analysis and scenario planning tools during lectures and blended learning sessions, students will also form and work in their own “think tank” groups of up to 4 students in order to create and advance their policy proposals.

Students with outstanding proposals will receive the opportunity of publishing their work at ISGA’s Security and Global Affairs blog and with cooperating international think tank partners. The organisation of a public student-led “Better World is Possible” Conference with dialogue partners and experts is part of the programme and rounds off the course.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will have acquired the following knowledge, insights and skills:

  • The ability to explain, analyse and synthesise core concepts and issues related to the themes of ‘human security’, ‘global governance’ and global security from a multi-level perspective (i.e. individual, local, national, regional, global)

  • The ability to analyse the main international organisations, institutions and capacities created at different levels to address major issues of human and global security, to identify and explain their weaknesses and needs for improvement

  • The ability to explain and apply basic methods of risk analysis and scenario planning in order to predict future human security and global affairs threats

  • The capacity to analyse and apply insights from social entrepreneurs, diplomats and policy-makers

  • The ability to synthesise core insights from the literature, scenario analyses and exchanges with guest speakers and external events in order to apply them to devising actionable policy innovations

  • The ability to cooperate effectively in teams

  • The ability to organise a successful public conference


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Final Conference: tbd in May
Policy-maker roundtable: tbd in March
Social Entrepreneur roundtable: tbd in March
Proposal Retreat: tbd in May

Mode of instruction

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.
Contact hours: 20
Self-study (including assignments and reflection): 120

  • Lectures: 7 lectures of 1 hours

  • Seminars: 7 seminars of 1 hours

  • Roundtables: 2 roundtables of 3 hours

  • Final Conference (optional): 3 hours

  • Literature reading: 6h per week

  • Assignments:

    • Individual Paper: 40h
    • Final Group Report: 30h
    • Portfolio: 10h

Assessment method

  • 40% Individual Paper of 3000 words.

  • 40% Final Group Paper of max. 10.000 Words

  • 20% Reflection Report and Activity Portfolio

Reading list

Initial Background Reading (further specialised readings on core challenges will be provided in advance of the course):

Thomas G. Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson, Rethinking Global Governance, Polity Press, 2019

David Bornstein: How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report, Oxford University Press, 1994

Our Global Neighbourhood: Report by the Committee on Global Governance, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995

Global Challenges Foundation: What is Global Governance?


Please note: USIS and Brightspace registration will be done centrally.


Dr. Joachim Koops