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International organizations and international institutions

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
4 year, 3 module


Пушкина Дарья Булатовна

Course Syllabus


In the 20th and now 21st centuries states have created international organizations (IO’s), which are created to solve cross-national problems and to offer rules and structures to manage inter-state interaction. Further, IO’s serve as venues in which learning processes can occur and expectations about norms of international interaction can be created and reinforced. Some politicians and scholars see IO’s as vehicles for establishing global governance, others view them as merely another venue in which states pursue their national interests. This course is designed to introduce students with knowledge of the most interesting contemporary problems of international organizations and institutions. The course will start with a brief history introduction and then proceed to the theory of international organizations and their role in global governance. We will examine international political institutions (including United Nations and various regional organizations), international economic and financial institutions (including World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund), as well as international organizations dealing with specific issues (including World Health Organization). Students will acquire an understanding of the field of International Organizations. They will understand the evolution of international organizations as well as their roles, processes, and functions in the contemporary world. Students will explore several organizations in greater depth and analyze how international and regional organizations are meeting the challenges posed by international developments such globalization.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • ● Expanding knowledge of international organizations and institutions from theoretical perspectives of international relations.
  • ● Basic analysis of official documents international organizations and institutions
  • ● Providing an analysis of the theory and practice of IOs and their role in global governance
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Is capable of retrieving, collecting, processing and analyzing information relevant for achieving goals in the professional field
  • Is capable of executing applied analysis of the political phenomena and political processes - by using political science methods - and in support of practical decision making process
  • Participates in discussions on seminars, works with literature on the class actively
  • Participates in discussions on seminars, analyses various cases actively
  • Works in groups on seminars and prepares the course-related presentations
  • Works with literature on the class and course-related texts
  • Identifies main structural patters and organizations of international organizations, including regional organizations and organizations focusing on specific issues
  • Learns about the most significant international organizations in the contemporary world
  • Thinks critically about recent developments in international organizations
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Week 1: Introduction to the course, requirements, basic definitions
  • Week 2: Historic developments of international organizations: from the League of Nations to the United Nations.
  • Week 3: The United Nations in detail: General Assembly, Secretariat, and Secretary-General, Security Council, UN peacekeeping operations, UNDP, UNEP and Sustainable Development.
  • Week 4: Regional Organizations. Sub-regional organizations Organization of American States, European Union, African Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, ASEAN, the League of Arab States.
  • Week 5: International Economic and Financial organizations: World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization (including TRIPPS agreement); Do TNCs take power away from IGOs?
  • Week 6: International Law. International Court of Justice. International Tribunals from Nuremberg to ICTR and ICTY. Special Courts. International Criminal Court
  • Week 7: In class essay.
  • Week 8 : Nuclear Power, Nuclear Energy: International Atomic Agency
  • Week 9: Global Environment: Global Environmental Governance, Arctic Council Global health and global biosecurity: World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Week 10: Conclusions: the place for international organizations and institutions in today’s world?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Team presentation
    (25%) Team presentation: A team for a presentation has to consist of 3-4 students. The time limit for a presentation is 20 min + 15 min for a Q&A session. A presentation describes an international organization and a particular case study where this organization has been involved. Students will form groups themselves and sign up for the group and date by the 2nd week’s seminar. The choice of organization should fit the topic of the week and group can choose an organization and case they would like to examine upon instructor’s approval.
  • non-blocking In-Class Essay
    The essay is a short (350 – 450 words) reflection on a given statement, resembling the “Agree or Disagree” type of essays. The essay is conducted in class for 80 minutes at Seminar 7. During the seminar students are allowed to use paper-based dictionaries and their own notes from the lectures or seminars. The assignment can be paper-based or conducted in a computer class via SmartLMS: precise format TBA. Introduction: The statement and the thesis statement. What is the statement, and to what extent do you agree or disagree with it? Main Part: Provide three detailed arguments (reasons), why you agree or disagree with the statement. The arguments should be based on the literature (materials, concepts) that you’ve read during the course or other academic articles, and supported by empirical examples, relevant to the topic. Conclusion: Summarize your arguments.
  • non-blocking Final Exam
    (25%) Final Exam: The exam represents an in-class test that includes multiple-choice questions. Questions are based on the lecture materials and the mandatory readings. The test lasts 1 hour and 20 min. The total sum of points a student has for the test is converted into percentages (100% are given when all the answers are correct).
  • non-blocking In class participation
    (25%) In class participation: contribution of a student to discussions during seminars, her / his knowledge of the subject and level of literature comprehension. The assessment of students` work is based on individual participation and individual oral presentations on the issues raised in the compulsory readings. Grading is based on answers to the instructor’s questions addressed to the audience and particular students; students’ questions to the instructor; discussions among students in smaller groups. Students are assessed for the quality of their arguments and ability to analyze critically the problem, engage with the arguments of the book, peers and the instructor, ability to find links between different parts of the course and its readings. Attendance is obligatory. Students must not skip classes without valid reason.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 3rd module
    0.25 * Final Exam + 0.25 * In class participation + 0.25 * In-Class Essay + 0.25 * Team presentation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Hurd, I. (2011). International Organizations : Politics, Law, Practice. Cambridge eText.
  • Simmons, B. A., Risse-Kappen, T., & Carlsnaes, W. (2013). Handbook of International Relations. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=716889

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • The Oxford Handbook of international organizations / edited by Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, Ian Johnstone. (2016). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.473862530
  • The Oxford handbook on the United Nations, , 2007