International politics has become increasingly complex and unpredictable amidst civil conflicts, financial crises, unexpected vote results (like Brexit or Trump’s victory), the specter of terrorism and climate change. Pondering solutions to problems of global governance and trying to predict future threats is a task not only for diplomats but also for entrepreneurs. This track will present fundamental aspects of international relations; it is geared towards students who are considering careers in foreign policy, international organizations, humanitarian work, corporate communication, strategy and risk analysis.
AN INTRODUCTION TO GLOBAL POLITICS
Two decades into the 21st century, world politics has become more polarized and unpredictable than it was expected to be at the turn of the century. Democracy may seem like the main game in town, but different visions of what democracy should be about are clashing; the threat of terrorism is not going away and processes that were taken for granted, like trade liberalization, regional integration and globalization, may not be irreversible after all. Many people consider politics to be an arena of subjective judgments, self-serving rhetoric and conflicting values; but the study of politics is a social scientific field with many insights to offer to leaders, entrepreneurs, and ordinary citizens. This initial session will introduce students to the scientific study of modern politics and pave the way for the topics covered in subsequent sessions of this track.
Recent changes in politics and technology have resulted in unprecedented levels of fake news and misinformation circulating in countries across the world. These developments present new challenges for policymakers, scientists, journalists, business leaders, and others responsible for communicating facts to citizens and consumers. In this session, we will discuss the scope of misinformation in contemporary society, why misinformation is often so difficult to refute, and the efficacy of different strategies for responding to misinformation.
GLOBALIZATION AND TERRORISM
In the first two decades of the 21st century, transnational terrorism turned from a recurrent, though marginal, feature of world affairs into one of the most alarming issues of our times. Terrorism is the use of, or the threat to use, violence against soft targets by non-state entities whose primary goal is to provoke far-reaching psychological reactions and, this way, change the policies of the targeted state actor. But the techniques and the repercussions of terrorism have been transformed and amplified by the many facets of today’s globalization. This session will offer an overview of the multiple connections between, on the one hand, the spread of transnational terrorist groups and, on the other, the opportunities offered to those groups by the rise of ethno-nationalism, the radicalization of communal grievances, and the dark side of financial capitalism.
AID, DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
This module aims to introduce students to some of the broad topics in international development, aid and social entrepreneurship. What does development mean? Why are some countries poor and others rich? How have different stakeholders (the state, multilateral organizations, and NGOs) addressed the challenges of development in the past, and how are they approaching these challenges now? Special attention will be given to the role of social enterprises in addressing the needs of the base of the pyramid, or the world’s poorest segment of the population. Presentations and active class discussions will help students appreciate the importance of aid, development and social entrepreneurship as solutions to the challenges of global poverty.
Project management skills are some of the most sought-after in the global labor market, whether you plan on entering the public, private, or non-profit sectors. Professionals today need a holistic understanding of the project management process, from project selection and budgeting, to implementation, to monitoring and impact assessment. This seminar will introduce students to distinct methodologies in the field of project management, and give them the necessary tools to put together a management plan for a mock project in international development.
Climate change is one of the key political issues of our time. Though there is a scientific consensus that average global temperatures as well as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased significantly since the pre-industrial era, there is no political agreement on how such an important change in the Earth’s climate may impact human populations or what can done about it. In fact, the debate continues worldwide concerning not only possible adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change but also regarding the phenomenon’s mere existence (particularly in one of the world’s largest polluters, the United States). In this seminar, we will seek to identify the anthropogenic activities driving climate change by analyzing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Is climate change naturally inevitable or is humanity mainly responsible for the problem? We will then look at the economic sectors that are altering the composition of the atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we will look at the individual, state and global drivers of climate change and we will brainstorm about possible alternative political strategies to mitigate it such as individual behavioral change, state-level initiatives and international climate treaties.
MANAGING HUMANITARIAN CRISES
Wars in Syria and Yemen, the Rohingya crisis and climate-fueled crises in Africa have sent the number of displaced people to a record high of 68.5 million in 2018. Humanitarian organizations strive to preserve the life and dignity of the millions of people who suffer the consequences of war, displacement, famine and natural disasters. In this seminar, we will introduce how to handle the response to a humanitarian crisis. We will study the principles and laws that try to protect humanitarian action from political interference, the actors that conform the humanitarian system and the practicalities of how to assess the needs of the population, negotiate with armed actors and implement an intervention. We will do it through simulations and case studies based on real humanitarian crises.
Africa has been registering exponential economic growth in the last 15 years, at its peak (2010), 7 out of 10 of the fastest growing economies were from Africa. Together with burgeoning youth population in an ageing world, growing political stability and more access to education and healthcare, Africa is projected to become an important global player. However, Africa is still grappling with challenges that could derail the ongoing economic growth, such as poor governance, gender gap, energy deficit or the effects of global warming. Is Africa, therefore, designing and implementing the right policies that could curb the challenges and propel it to be a global economic and political player in the 21st Century? This session aims to offer an overview of Africa’s economic growth, political transition and social development, while at the same time, highlighting and evaluating some of the challenges that the continent faces today.
HUMAN RIGHTS IN CRISIS
Many people take human rights protection for granted. But human rights are strongly contested and our ideas about rights have changed over time. In the 18th century American revolutionaries declared that all “men are born equal” in an era when slavery was acceptable. Ideas of equality have changed and transformed the protection offered to sexual and ethnic minorities, women, children, the disabled, etc. Cultural relativists question the universality of human rights and many feminists assert the gendered nature of individual rights classifications. Finally, the recent financial and political crises have brought back debates as to whether rights should be absolutely protected as inherent to human dignity and what rights can be limited for the protection of the wider community. The goal of this course will be to assess the actual protection of human rights from the perspective of international law, through the discussion of specific cases, including: today’s situation in Russia’s and its possible exit of the Council of Europe, Venezuela’s challenge to the Inter-American system of human rights, replies to recent migration waves, the recognition of new rights relating to issues such as surrogacy, and use of religious symbols in multicultural secular societies.