UW: International relations in humanitarian action

  • Course description

    Aim of the course is to offer to the participants a panorama of both geopolitical and institutional elements and factors which defines the structure and dynamics of today’s International Relations. The course will cover political, normative and economic problems, including power relations which form the context for Humanitarian Action. Special emphasis will be put upon security problems. Conflicts are changing their nature but at the origins are still very often power ambitions. Conflict management and solution of humanitarian dramas are part of the imperfect international order we live in.
  • Main themes

    • Transition from Cold War bipolar order into brief neo-Western World
    • Pax Atlantica – new role of NATO and the US
    • Rebirth of Europe – united for the first time and ready to engage
    • United Nations after Cold War – new promises and unsatisfactory achievements
    • ‘90s – Golden Age of Human Rights
    • From the Third World to regional disorders
    • Omnipresent globalization as driving force of change at all levels of IR
    • New century’s sudden turn: from US bid for hegemony to Chimerica (new bipolarism?)
    • Post-Cold War international security environment – main features
    • Weakening institutions – rising powers
    • Disarmaments in regress, armament in progress
    • “Out of area” policies illusions and consequences
    • Qua vadis new (not so brave) world?
  • Learning outcomes

    • Has shown familiarity with the main approaches and concepts of international relations. 

    • Has demonstrated a clear understanding of the international humanitarian system in its geopolitical context, with an emphasis on the power relations between actors. 

    • Has a thorough interdisciplinary knowledge of the current themes in international humanitarian action and the operational processes and changes in political, military, economic and social structures and institutions in the international dimension; has a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice of political and economic decision- making in these entities at the nation state level and on the international scale.
    • Has shown the ability to anticipate new crisis situations in geopolitical settings. Has demonstrated the capacity to identify the roots and causes of conflicts/complex emergencies in a particular case. 

    • Has shown the ability to apply certain key concepts of International Politics to concrete disaster situations. 

    • Has developed basic skills for acting in and reacting to intercultural contexts.
    • Has shown to be able to transfer acquired knowledge to other humanitarian situations. 
  • Assessment methods and criteria

    Written exam (open questions) 80%.
    Participation during classes 20%.
    90% of points - grade 5
    80% of points - grade 4,5
    70% of points – grade 4
    60% of points – grade 3,5
    Over 50% of points – grade 3 

Last updated: 4 November 2016

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