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Current Issues of International Organisations*


Admission requirements

Completion of a prior bachelor level course in international politics, international law or international organizations is strongly recommanded.

Course is only available for students of the MSc Public Administration. This is a specialization seminar for students from the IEG track.


This course deals with global international organizations active in maintaining peace, human rights, environment, and socio-economic progress. The focus is on UN institutions and their policy agenda as well as topical questions of international politics.

Course objectives

To better understand current global issues and the policy questions which have to be solved in the fields mentioned above.



Mode of instruction

After about six hours of lectures and discussions, as well as studying the textbook below, participants do individual research on topical questions concerning violent conflicts, peace operations, environmental issues, poverty, hunger and other pressing questions. Students write research papers and present these in class.

Assessment method

The final grade is the average of the grades for the paper, the oral presentation, and the exam.
The final exam consists of five questions. Four questions are drawn from the reading material (see below) and one question requires a critical essay answer. While answering this question, students are requested to put themselves into the shoes of a policy-maker dealing with a real-life (crisis-conflict) situation.
The students are expected to submit a paper (approximately 8-10 pages) on a problem with which the international community is or should be concerned. The paper should address the following questions:
1. Why did you choose this topic? What are the research purpose and the societal relevance of this topic?
2. Sketch out briefly the nature of the problem. Set forth the historical and geographical context within which this problem unfolds.
3. What has the international community (international organization, regional organization or group of like-minded states) done to help solve or contain this problem?
4. What would have happened if the international community had not taken any action? Would the situation be better or worse? Although the answer to this question is speculative, the students are asked to give a plausible answer, taking into account the context and all factors of influence.
5. What else should be, or have been done, to contain or solve the policy problem under consideration?
The students are expected to give a presentation (10-15’) which summarizes the answers to 1-5.

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 taken the first sit and 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’.


All materials appear on Blackboard

Reading list

Weiss Th, Forsythe D., Coate R., Pease K.K (7th ed. 2013) The United Nations and Changing World Politics, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, and other materials handed out during the course.


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.

Contact information

Vasileios P. Karakasis


A maximum of 20 participants