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Global Security and Collective Action




Admissions requirements

A 200-level course from the same track or permission from the instructor


“no single country is able to tackle today’s complex problems on its own”. This sentence, which was already central to the European Security Strategy in 2003, is still very much relevant nowadays. Armed conflict, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, refugee ‘crisis’... all of these have the potential to strongly destabilize our societies and the global order as a whole.

The objective of this course is to assess the means available to the international community in order to address these challenges in a coordinated manner.

The course will be construed around different thematic security threats and will critically assess the way in which the international community attempts to address these issues. The role of the UN Security Council will of course be crucial in this context but it is not the sole actor that might be of relevance when addressing security related issues. Since the starting point of the assessment remains a legal one, this course is not only about what ideally should be done, but also what can lawfully be done under international law.

Course objectives


  • Analyze treaties, UN Security Council resolutions and other official documents.

  • Be able to formulate a well-construed argumentation both orally and in writing

  • Discern relevant facts and apply legal principles to those facts


  • Define the concept of collective security and understand the history behind it

  • Critically reflect on the main security threats the world is currently facing

  • Have a comprehensive knowledge of the functioning of the UN system, and especially the UN Security Council, in the framework of the UN’s role in relation to peace and security.

  • Be able to comprehend the complex relationship between different collective (and/or regional) security mechanisms


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Seminars (two 2-hour sessions per week, Weeks 1 - 7) will form the main body of this course, and a Blackboard site will support in-class discussion and debate as well as hosting readings and related multi-media material.

The UNSC simulation will allow students to experience the political process surrounding the way in which the international community attempts to address security threats.

Students are required to take an active part in seminar discussions and may be called upon to present readings in class.


In-class participation and discussion of core readings – 15% – Ongoing Weeks 1-7
UNSC simulation – writing of a position paper (20%); Opening speech (15%); sessions and negotiations (15%) – week 4 and 5
Final exam – 35% – Week 8

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


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

Students are highly encouraged to read Paul Kennedy, The Parliament of Man. The United Nations and the Quest for World Government, London, Penguin Books Ltd, 2007, 384p as a contextualization and starting point for the course.

For the rest, the course will rely on primary and secondary sources as well as on official documents that will be made available on blackboard. Given the variety of issues addressed there is no single textbook covering all the relevant issues addressed during the course, hence the need to rely on different sources.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact