Gov 363 International Organization and Global Governance (Fall 15)

Professor: Dr. Harinda Vidanage

 Office: Hepburn 09

Office Hours: M/W 10.30-12.30 or by appointment

Office telephone: 229-5437


Web URL:


Course Introduction


This course primarily, focuses on the hard questions and policy challenges of governing the world in the 21st Century amidst global transformations ranging from, unraveling of nation states, large scale conflicts and wars, to questions of global leadership to transnational challenges such as epidemics, conflicts, economic crises and environmental catastrophes.  The course makes students explore how states have managed to work together to respond to various global challenges in the last century encountering massive stumbling blocks and spoilers. In examining the above forms and features of global interactions that fall into the aegis of global governance, the course will attempt to investigate how international institutions from international organizations to international regimes function at various levels of successes and challenges.




The course acknowledges the broad and contentious field of governance itself, which is more than an intellectual endeavor featuring a hybrid between intellectual and policy functions that will make students ask questions not just limited to theoretical and empirical parameters of governance. The course will make students deal with real world policy issues that urge them to ask questions about the world such as, how the world is governed, ordered and organized. As renowned Harvard Professor, John Ruggie remarked the course makes students encounter the realities of how the “world hangs together”. Additionally it explores possible ways of improving the capacity of the international community as a whole to deal with global challenges.


The policy spectrum that the course addresses is a vast continuum from agents, agencies, norms, processes and institutions involved in global governance and how it affects the world, Thus the course draws illustrative references from multiple policy domains, they include contents ranging from, theories of IR, international organizations, transnational actors, global political and geo strategic transformation, human rights, security to climate change.


Course Objectives


  • To make students understand the complex relations among many organizations, institutions and processes that make possible global relationships


  • To focus on importance of academic study of global relations and explore the limits of International relations in understanding complex global transformations


  • Focus on functions of global organizations and debates about transforming their structures and roles amid geo political shifts of 21s Century


  • To understand the broad challenges faced by the United States in working with global governance and maintaining global hegemony


Required Course Text: Thomas G. Weiss and Robert Wilkinson (2014) International Organization and Global Governance ( Available at the book store/ Kindle Version)




Attendance:   10 Marks (you will be penalized if you miss more than one class and for each class missed 3 marks will be deducted from your overall mark)


Participation: 10 Marks (This course is scholarly/policy hybrid many topics and themes we discuss are about how the world works so there needs to be a significant amount of interaction within the class, even if you are a quiet person by nature if you are in this class your opinion is very important to the discussion.


Preparation for classroom discussion: You will prepare a set of points for classroom discussion every week and you will submit two one page reports over the semester (week 6/ week 13) of your interventions in the classroom discussion and what were the key points you planned to discuss based on the theme, video, text book chapter or article that was provided for that week


Group Presentations (15*2) 30 Marks: You will be grouped into 3/4 groups very liberally you will work as groups to develop two presentations in weeks 7 and 14, further instruction will be provided closer to the exercise, each group task carries 15 marks


Essay 1: (Handed in week 2 Due Week 5)2000 Word Essay, 20 Marks


Classroom Simulation: (10  Marks) You will be given a task to function as a member of governing elite of a country in this simulation there will be four countries the class will be split into 4 countries while the professor will be the games controller. You will be expected to use your understanding of global politics, foreign policy, diplomacy, security, theoretical position to consolidate the power of your country and especially create a set of principles which you believe will make your country the most influential and powerful in this new world and present to the class how you intend to do so in this in class “Game of Thrones” task.


Task sheets, game information will be provided, and you will do a debrief after the simulation in the classroom and email me individually your contributions, this will earn you 10 Marks


Final Essay: (Handed in Week 9 Due Week 13) 2000 Word essay, worth 20 Marks


Grading Simplified



Attendance: 10 Marks 
Essay 1            : 20 Marks 
Group Presentation I 15 Marks 
Group Presentation II 15 Marks 
Simulation: 10 Marks 
Essay   2: 20 Marks 
Participation: 10 Marks 


Course Outline


Week 1




Course overview, discussion, introduction to governance


Week 2


Theoretical Frameworks of global institutions and governance


Week 3


Governance & Institutions


Focus: United Nations System


Week 4


International Organizations


Governance and Supranational organizations: EU


Week 5


BRICS and Global South


Week 6


Governance and Security


UN Security council reforms to global insecurities


Week 7


Governance & Security (peace keeping)


Focus: Humanitarian Intervention


Week 8


Non State Actors in Governance


Week 9


Non State Actors in Governance II


Week 10


United States and the Global Order


Week 11


Geo Political Shifts and Governance


From Geopolitics, Geoeconomics to Info politics


Week 12


Economic and Social Development


Week 13


Transnational Governance Issue.  Focus: Climate Change and Refugees


Week 14


Student Platform, Presentations and Future Directions of Governance