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COURSE NAME: "International Organizations "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Eszter Salgo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30-12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This course examines attempts at international cooperation in various institutional forms. The course analyzes efforts of twentieth-century internationalism, from the League of Nations up to the United Nations (UN). Main regional organizations are also examined, such as NATO, the African Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, World Trade Organization and Organization of American States.

The first session of the course will focus on global governance. International organizations, which constitute only a part of a complex and interdependent world of global politics, will be defined broadly to encompass both intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The dilemma concerning global governance’s effectiveness will also be addressed by focusing on power dynamics, legitimacy and accountability. Inspired by the thesis according to which regions have emerged as “a driving force in world politics”, the second part of the course will provide an in-depth look at the regional and sub-regional organizations active in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. The third part of the course will be dedicated to the analysis of the United Nations. It will investigate in detail its main function, promoting collective security, and its most visible symbol, the peace operations. Topics to be covered will include the changing nature, the successes and the failures of past and present peace-keeping and peace-enforcement operations. Mindful of the expansion of human rights norms and of the consequent shift of the global community’s attention from state and government security to human security, the impact of the emerging norm of responsibility to protect will be investigated as well. The fourth part of the course will be devoted to the role played by IOs in addressing cross-cutting issues and challenges whose resolution requires a global approach (human development and economic well-being, human rights, environmental problems, international peace and security).


At the end of the course, students will have a comprehensive overview of the actors, processes and challenges involved in global governance. They will be able to: 1. assess critically the role and the impact of international organizations; 2. employ analytical skills in order to evaluate the role of global governance; 3. describe in detail the various regional organizations present in Europe, the America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; 4. evaluate critically the successes and the failures of the United Nations; 5. demonstrate analytical skills in using case studies to better understand the need for global governance; 6. employ critical thinking and analytical skills; 7. use research skills including data-gathering skills (relying on both primary and secondary sources);  and 8. demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills within the context of international politics.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Would the World Be Better Without the UN? WeissPolity978-1-509-51725-1   
The Globalization of World PoliticsBaylisOxford University Press978-0133807721  
International Organizations: the Politics and Processes of Global GovernanceKarnsLynne Rienner9781626371514 1626371512  

Class attendance and participation in debatesClass attendance will be considered in combination with assessment of students’ active participation in general and specifically during the class debates. Students will not be penalized for two absences. If further absences are recorded, grade penalties will be applied. From one to four more absences will reduce the participation score by 5% for each absence. More than six total absences will result in the overall F.10%
Oral presentationEach student will present his/her review of a recently published academic book relating to the topic of international organizations in a 10 minute long oral presentation on November 11 or November 13.15%
Term paperEach student has to submit a 2000-word review of a recently published academic book relating to the topic of international organizations by November 18. The titles of two possible books should be sent to the professor through Moodle by September 26.25%
Midterm examThe midterm exam consists of short questions and essay questions. Students are graded on accuracy, depth of analysis, logical content, creative thinking, on their ability to formulate a sophisticated argument, provide evidence for their statements, discuss and show understanding of alternative explanations.15%
Final examIn terms of structure, the final exam is similar to the midterm exam. It is cumulative.35%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cou
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Class attendance is mandatory. Students will not be penalized for two absences. If further absences are recorded, grade penalties will be applied. From one to four more absences will reduce the participation score by 5% for each absence. More than six total absences will result in the overall F.


You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.











Week 1

 - Introduction

-  Anniversaries in 2019: Reflecting on the past, the present and the future




Week 2

 - Images. 2019 World Press Photo Contest

- The Challenges of Global Governance


- M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), Chapter 1


Week 3

 - The Theoretical Foundations of Global Governance

- The Evolution of Global Governance

 -   M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), Chapters 2

-   M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), Chapter 3


Week 4


 - The United Nations: Centerpiece of Global Governance

- The Reform of the UN Security Council           

 -   M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), Chapter 4

-    Ville Lättilä & Aleksi Ylönen (2019) United Nations Security Council Reform Revisited: A Proposal, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 30:1, 164-186


Week 5

-  Regional Organizations in Europe

- North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 1949 to 2019


-  M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), pp 161-95

-  Douglas Lute, Nicholas Burns (2019) NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis Harvard Kennedy School, Belfar Center


Week 6

- Regional Initiatives in Asia  

- Regional Organizations in the Americas 



-   Karns, Mingst 2015, pp 205-220, Crisis Group (2017) Central Asia's Silk Road Rivalries

- M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), pp. 195-205 and    Ben Raderstorf and Michael Shifter (2018) Rebuilding Hemispheric Consensus: A Reform Agenda for the Organization of American States


Week 7

- Regional organizations in Africa

Non-state actors


- M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015),pp. 220-229,   Giovanni Carbone (2018) A Vision of Africa’s Future mapping change, transformations and trajectories towards 2030, Istituto Affari Internazionali

- M. P. Karns, K. A. Mingst (2015), Chapter 6


Week 8

 - Review

Midterm exam




Week 9

 - International Organizations on Instagram

-  Human rights governance

- Group exercise

-   Baylis (2017) The globalization of world politics, Chapter 31


Week 10

 -  Global economic governance         

-  Human security, human  development humanitarian interventions       

 -   Baylis (2017) The globalization of world politics,  Chapter 29 and 30  

- Baylis (2017) The globalization of world politics, Chapter 32      


Week 11

-   Oral presentations       

-   Oral presentations





Week 12

 -    From multipolarity to bilateralm?

-   Visting the Museum of Trastevere (photo exhibitions on gender equality and on the 1989 revolutions)

-    Guest Lecture by Prof. Federico Bordonaro (readings: Ispi (2019) The future of multilateralism; R. Desai (2015) Geopolitical economy: the discipline of multipolarity) 

- P. Betts (2019) 1989 at thirty; UN (2019) Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Gender snapshot.      


Week 13

 -       A world without the United Nations?   

-        What future for the EU?

 -          T.G. Weiss (2018) Would the world be better without the UN?, Introduction and Chapter 9

-          European Commission (2017), White Paper on the future of the European Union  and Bruegel Institute (2019) Presidential Memo 

 Week 14

 -  What future for global governance?  

-  Review

Jean Pisani-Ferry (2018) Should we give up on global governance?