The evolution of international relations since the end of the Cold War is characterized in particular by an acceleration of globalization – a phenomenon with far-reaching economic, political, social and cultural consequences in all regions of the world; the challenge of managing global issues more effectively, and the important role played, besides states, by international governmental organizations and international non-state actors (non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and transnational corporations.
As witnessed in many international forum on questions of international governance, new and diverse international divides have emerged following the end of the Cold War. They may be explained by a variety of historical, political, social, cultural and economic factors. The relative weight and relevance of cultural factors have given rise to debates such as the controversy between proponents of the “clash of civilizations” thesis (Samuel Huntington) and its critics (Amartya Sen).
Following an overview of the main stress factors affecting the world community and of the main characteristics of international relations at the beginning of the 21st century, the module will analyze the role of international organizations and NGOs in this evolution. These roles will be illustrated by recent endeavors to define and promote new norms to protect the life and dignity of individuals and, inter aliae, the concept of human security. Particular attention will be paid to the relevance and relative importance of cultural and political factors in the different approaches to those issues. This analysis will also shed light on the evolution of the key concept of state sovereignty and on the opportunities, obstacles, and dilemmas linked to the implementation of human rights norms.
The module will take place in Geneva at Université de Genève and will combine face-to-face instruction with field visits such as Palais des Nations (UN), The Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN Office and other international organizations, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The world under stress - Globalization: threats and opportunities;
International relations and the growing significance of global issues;
International actors and the challenge of global governance ;
Promoting new norms in the field of human security and human rights: the role of states, international organizations and NGOs;
The promotion of human rights and human security values: opportunities, obstacles and dilemmas.