The Changing Global Order

This course deals with international relations, peace and security and brings together a number of experts from the field and academia to share their perspectives. The course will help you gain insight into conflict resolution and the role organizations such as the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, the African Union and NATO play in a changing world.

About The Course

How are international power relations changing and how can global peace and stability be maintained? This course familiarizes you with some main theories of international relations, shows how the global order is gradually changing and discusses how selected international and regional organizations contribute to the maintenance of global peace and security. 

You learn what research findings tell us in terms of the capacity of international organizations and actors to help prevent or stop violent conflict, what tools are used to negotiate agreements and how foundations for sustainable peace are best created. In the course, we also focus on the role of the European Union (EU) in terms of diplomacy and efforts to prevent conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the contribution of some other regional organizations to the prevention of conflict and war. 

We also look at activities of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and, in the context of a final debate, see in which ways its membership could be adapted to more accurately reflect the power relations of the current global order. 

You learn about all of these topics by doing quizzes and exercises testing your knowledge of these subjects, helping you understand crucial concepts and get insights into how the academic study of international relations and international organization can contribute to the search for global stability and peace in practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will I get a certificate or Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

2. Do I earn Leiden University credits upon completion of this class?
No. The certificate of Accomplishment is not part of a formal qualification from Leiden University. 

3. What resources will I need for this class?
All reading materials will be downloadable for free from the course web site. 

4. What are the learning outcomes of this course and why should I take it?
By following this course you will learn to
  • Identify challenges deriving from the changing global order for institutions such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Describe how conflict resolution works in theory and in practice.
  • Explain how regional organizations, such as the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU), aim to contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability.
  • Solve problems in practice by applying concepts of conflict resolution to a case you are interested in. 
  • Contribute to current discussions of UNSC reform with your own creative thoughts on how this institution could best adapted to make it most effective and representative of the changing global order.
5. Why do you offer this course for free?
Leiden University is grounded in a long standing tradition in providing students the space for obtaining a thorough and multifaceted education. This MOOC offers us the possibility to share our knowledge globally. 

Recommended Background

Students of international relations, international law, political science, history, sociology and professionals interested in the field of international relations and security studies with relevant work experience.