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Course Description

Growing geopolitical tensions, a vacuum of global leadership, the rise of non-state actors, and nationalist populism among governmental actors – these are some of the features of turbulence in today’s world. Meanwhile, old wars continue and new sources of insecurity are rising, from cyberattacks to global pandemics to the existential threat posed by climate change. It is not all bad news of course. Before COVID-19, absolute poverty, infant mortality and illiteracy were on the decline, and the world had forged a consensus around 17 Sustainable Development Goals While the number of armed conflicts in the world has increased in recent years, the number of people who have died as a direct result of those conflicts has declined. Yet there is no question that these are trying times, and that the institutions we have to deal with the turbulence are under siege. In this course we will look at alternative theoretical explanations for the turbulence and consider its implications for international law and institutions. We will focus on topical issue areas, such as collective security and peace operations, nuclear non-proliferation, sustainable development, and global health security. Carefully-selected readings will be assigned for each class to stimulate lively discussion about the current state of global governance and its possible futures.

Affiliated With:

  • Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy