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Global challenges and public policies



This course discusses a number of selected challenges affecting global governance, and how they are – or can be - addressed by public policies. The starting point of the course is that most issues facing the world today (such as financial crises; climate change; migration) transcend national borders. The course discusses the problems and challenges that governments, non-state actors and international organizations face in cooperating to address them, using a selected number of theories drawn from international relations and public policy analysis.

The course equips students with a set of conceptual tools that they can apply to a wide array of pressing policy problems at the international level. Among the questions asked, we will address how to achieve cooperation among states with different interests and resources, how to ensure compliance in international agreements, and how to manage common resources in a sustainable way. An emphasis is placed on the communication of results in policy-relevant contexts, for instance via the production of a policy podcast.

Course objectives

  • To have an understanding of and insight in key issues related to a number of selected global challenges and the public policies with which these challenges are addressed (e.g. climate change, poverty, global public health, financial crises)

  • Understand and be able to apply frameworks of policy analysis to real-world issues

  • Be able to draw policy implications from theories and communicate results in a way that is relevant to policymakers.

  • Be able to communicate research results to an audience of policymakers.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminars

  • Group work

  • Guest lectures

Course Load

  • Lecture: 6 hours

  • Seminar: 12 hours

  • Further structured study: 5 hours

  • Examination: 5 hours

  • Self-study: 112 hours

Assessment method

  • Written exam in class 20%

  • Essay 50%

  • Group Policy Proposal (podcast) 30%


Information will be available a week before the start of the course.

Reading list

To be determined.


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 there.


Dr. Alexandre Afonso
Assistant Professor

Leiden University
Institute of Public Administration - Campus den Haag
Wijnhaven Building
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DV, Den Haag

Phone +31 070 800 99 23


This course will be taught in 2 groups, please register for one of the two groups in uSis.