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International Organizations and Good Governance


Admission requirements

This course is open for students of the European Governance and International Administration tracks of the Master’s Programme in Public Administration


This specialization course analyses the role of international organizations for the promotion of good governance.
In recent decades, as a result of processes of globalization, a number of international organizations such as the EU, the IMF, the World Bank and many others have grown in importance. Many international organizations devote considerable resources to the promotion of democracy, economic and administrative reform, financial regulation and better governance. The course explores the interrelationship between international organizations, their goals and objectives and the effectiveness of reform. We examine reform and especially administrative reform, both in countries that are the target of reform and the organizations themselves. In this way, the course provides a crucial link that illustrates, for public administration students, the connection between reforms of governance and the effectiveness and legitimacy of international organizations.

Course objectives

  • A broad awareness of the role some of the most prominent international organizations play in governance in various parts of the world

  • An broad understanding of the goals and objectives of key international organizations such as the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, the Council of Europe

  • A broad understanding of the way ideas of good governance have been incorporated in the strategies and requirements of these international organizations

  • A broad understanding of the tool of conditionality as applied by international organizations and the ability to critically evaluate this tool, its advantages and disadvantages

  • A broad understanding of the debate on legitimacy in global governance and the possible ways to evaluate legitimacy and accountability beyond the state’s borders.

  • The capacity to evaluate the legitimacy and effectiveness of international organizations based on existing empirical accounts of reform inside the organizations and on pre-defined criteria for legitimacy


The (provisional) timetable is on the first page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The mode of instruction in this seminar will combine discussion with student presentations. Part one, close reading and discussion, will examine issues related to reform and transparency and good governance inside international organizations that might help us understand how international organizations manage to adhere to democratic principles themselves and the link between legitimacy and the effectiveness of an IO. In part two, students will research and present several international organizations and their reform and governance promotion programmes.

Assessment method

  • Presentations by students: 40%

  • Final paper 50%

  • Attendance and participation: 10%
    Presentations and final paper must both receive a passing grade for the seminar to be completed.


Instructor uses Blackboard. This page is available approximately a week before the start of the course.

Reading list

  • Anthony McGrew (Editor), David Held (Editor) Governing Globalization: Power, Authority and Global Governance; October 2002, Polity ISBN: 978-0-7456-2734-2

  • Next to the book, the course uses a variety of articles and online papers and sources, to be specified in the course outline and on blackboard.


Students must register via USIS. The maximum number of participants is 35.

Contact information

Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova


Preparation for the first session will be announced via blackboard.