Contemporary Challenges in International Relations - Online

UAB Summer School

Contemporary Challenges in Internacional Relations - Lecturer Carlos Martín

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students: 200 €
Teaching Language: English
Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)
Teaching Period: 22 June to 10 July
Schedule (First period):

  • 9-10h Lecture class with professor
  • 10-11h Interactive seminar
  • 11-12h Organised tutoring sessions

Professor: Alessandor Demurtas, Carlos Martín, Pablo Aguiar, Federico Guerrero

Contact: summer@uab.cat

Enrolment guidelines

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PROFESSOR BIO INFORMATION

Alessandro Demurtas holds a Ph.D in International Relations and European Integration from UAB. He currently works as Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology, UAB. His main research areas are: European Integration, jihadism, international terrorism, security studies, nuclear weapons.

Carlos Martin is a Political Scientist with a Ph.D in International Relations and European Integration from UAB. Professor Martín currently works as an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology, UAB. His main research Areas are: International Relations and International Cooperation for Development, especially South-South Cooperation.

Pablo Aguiar holds a Master on Cooperation for Development at Cidob. Currently he works as a Researcher at ICIP (International Catalan Institute for Peace) and also as Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences, UAB. His main research areas are: Peace Studies; Cooperation for Development; EU Foreign Policy.

Federico Guerrero holds a Master in International Relations and European Integration, UAB. He is currently Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences, UAB, and also Associate Professor of International Relations at Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations (Ramon LLull University). Professor Guerrero works as Academic coordinator at the Official Master’s Degree in Advanced Studies in International Affairs (Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations). His main research areas are: International Relations Theory; EU Foreign Policy (EU-Africa relations); International Cooperation Development policies.

 

ACADEMIC GUIDE

Contents overview

Contemporary Challenges in International Relations is composed of three complementary subjects:

1. Subject: “Europe and the challenge of international terrorism”.
Analyses the evolution of Islamic terrorism in the European Continent, starting with Al Qaeda in 2001 and finishing with the cells and lone wolves inspired by ISIS in 2019. Students will familiarize with theoretical concepts and with the concrete dynamics and dimensions of this complex phenomenon. The subject will also analyze the role of Social Media and Internet, especially its role in radicalization of young people. 

2. Subject: “The world food production system and the problems of hunger, poverty, inequality and migration around the world.” 
Even though there has been a great deal of progress on some of the issues that affect people around the world, such as hunger and poverty and inequality, the challenges are significant. The world food production system has a close relation to the strategies to finally overcome these issues. In sum, in this course students will be able to examine the role of different actors on a specific sector (food production) and the potential of contributing to solving problems and issues associated with them. In a rapidly changing and interconnected world, this course provides some useful tools to better understand how the world food production system impacts on current key issues of the world development agenda.

3. Subject. “The Sustainable Development Goals: development, peace and security challenges”.
On 2015 General Assembly of the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Its implications are not only focused on the international dimension. It is a call for a substantial change on public policies at all levels. The subject will analyze the origins of the 2030 Agenda and then will make an overview of how SDG’s are being implemented. Furthermore, a process of building indicators of concepts such as Development, Peace or Security has been done, and will also be reviewed.

4. Subject: “Sub-Saharan Africa: current political, economic and security challenges”. 
This module will introduce students to three different (but interlinked) aspects necessary to understand the current complex situation of the continent: politics, economics and security. From the political aspect, the crisis of the African state model will be analysed to understand the current social protests; from the economic side, the erratic evolution of the several Regional Economic Communities towards an Africa Continental Free Trade Area will also be assessed; finally, an approach to the characteristics of African military conflicts will also be considered.

 

Week programme

Week Contents Teaching / learning activities
1 1.1. Introduction (by 4 professors)

Presentation and main concepts of each subject

1.2. Europe and the challenge of international terrorism (3 days) 

Teaching: Basic concepts of the Academic of International Relations; the evolution of the terrorist threat for the International System and for the European System of International Relations: from Al Qaeda to ISIS.

Learning activities: Each class will be divided into three parts. The first part will consist of lectures or teaching activities by the professor on the main elements of the subject, organized in consecutive sections. The second part is for exercises, presentations, debates, class participation and Q&A supervised by the professor. The third part is reserved for individual questions.

2 2.1. The world food production system (3 days)
 

Teaching: Introduction to the way the current international food production system works and its relation to the state of different key issues in the international system, such as hunger, poverty and migration.

Learning activities: Each class will be divided into three parts. The first part will consist of lectures or teaching activities by the professor on the main elements of the subject, organized in consecutive sections. The second part is for exercises, presentations, debates, class participation and Q&A supervised by the professor. The third part is reserved for individual questions.

2.2. The Sustainable Development Goals: development, peace and security challenges (2 days) 

Teaching: Introduction to the development agenda at the international fora, specially at UN. Origins of the Agenda 2030 and the SDG, analysis of the policy implications of such objectives; debates regarding SDGs, its relationship with peace and security agendas; main implementation problems regarding SDGs, and future challenges.

Learning activities: Each class will be divided into three parts. The first part will consist of lectures or teaching activities by the professor on the main elements of the subject, organized in consecutive sections. The second part is for exercises, presentations, debates, class participation and Q&A supervised by the professor. The third part is reserved for individual questions.

3

3.1. The Sustainable Development Goals: development, peace and security challenges (1 day) Sub-3.2. Saharan Africa: current political, economic and security challenges (3 days)
 

3.2. Sub-Saharan Africa: current political, economic and security challenges

Teaching: Introduction to the African State (neocolonial origins, neopatrimonial state, democratic transition in 1990s) and analysis of the current social protests. Regional Economic Communities in Africa: overlapping problems and opportunities towards an African Continental Free Trade Area. Military conflicts in Africa: causes, characteristics and their management (African Union Peace and Security Architecture)

Learning activities: Each class will be divided into three parts. The first part will consist of lectures or teaching activities by the professor on the main elements of the subject, organized in consecutive sections. The second part is for exercises, presentations, debates, class participation and Q&A supervised by the professor. The third part is reserved for individual questions.

3.3. Closing (by 4 professors)

For the closing lecture, students will do a wrapping up of what they have seen in the four different subjects of the course. They will have to debate about how the four topics (terrorism, world food production system, SDGs and Africa) are interlinked. 

 

Evaluation

NOTE that one day before the end of the period the student’s performance must be completely evaluated and communicated to summer@uab.cat.

Each subject has three or four different evaluation activities within the development of the corresponding section. At the end of the course, the final evaluation of this course will be the average of the four subjects or topics of this course.

IMPORTANT: all students need to do the mandatory readings of each lecture beforehand. That’s necessary for them to do the different scheduled activities during the lectures (including the final exam of each subject).

1. Europe and the challenge of international terrorism

  • 25% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in the debates.
  • 45% of the grade will be based on the 3 short exercises/presentations that students will do in classes.
  • 30% of the grade will be based on a final essay to be submitted on the last day of the subject.

2.    The world food production system 

  • 25% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in the debates.
  • 45% of the grade will be based on the 3 short exercises/presentations that students will do in classes.
  • 30% of the grade will be based on a final essay to be submitted on the last day of the subject.

3.    The Sustainable Development Goals: development, peace and security challenges

  • 25% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in the debates.
  • 45% of the grade will be based on the 3 short exercises/presentations that students will do in classes.
  • 30% of the grade will be based on a final essay to be submitted on the last day of the subject.

4. Sub-Saharan Africa: current political, economic and security challenges

  • 25% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in the debates.
  • 45% of the grade will be based on the 3 short exercises/presentations that students will do in classes.
  • 30% of the grade will be based on a final essay to be submitted on the last day of the subject.

 

Linkis and references

1.

  • Elias J. and Sutch P. (2007), “The Nature of International Relations”, International Relations: The Basics, Routledge, 1-20
  • Elias J. and Sutch P. (2007), “Glossary of key terms”, International Relations: The Basics, Routledge, 179-191
  • UN Security Council (2004), “Resolution 1566” available at https://www.un.org/ruleoflaw/files/n0454282.pdf
  • European Parliament and the Council of the EU (2017), “Directive (EU) 2017/541 on combating terrorism”, available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM%3A4322328
  • The Economist (2016), ”Terrorism. Learning to live with it", September 3rd, available at https://www.economist.com/international/2016/09/03/learning-to-live-with-it

2.

3.

  • Laila El Baradei (2019) Politics of Evidence Based Policy Making: Reporting on SDG 16 in Egypt, International Journal of Public Administration
  • UN General Assembly (2015) “Resolution on Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” A/RES/70/1 available at https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
  • Walter Leal Filho, Ulisses Azeiteiro, Fátima Alves, Paul Pace, Mark Mifsud, Luciana Brandli, Sandra S. Caeiro & Antje Disterheft (2018). Reinvigorating the sustainable development research agenda: the role of the sustainable development goals (SDG),International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 25:2, 131-142

4.

  • Branch, Adam and Mampilly, Zachariah (2015), “Chapter 1. Protests and possibilities” and “Conclusion: Africa in a world of protest” in Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change, London: Zed Books, pp.1-13 and 200-216. 
  • Chazan, Naomi et. alt (1999), “Chapter 2. State Institutions and the Organization of the Public Arena” in Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa (Third Edition), Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 37-74. 
  • Cilliers, Jackie and Schüneman, Julia-Bello(2013),
  • “The future of intrastate conflict in Africa:
  • De Coning, Cedric; Gelot, Linnéa and Karlsrud, John (2016), “Chapter 1. Towards an African model of peace operations” in The Future of African Peace Operations. From the Janjaweed to Boko Haram, London: Zed Books, pp. 1-19
  • Francis, David J. (2006), “Chatper 2. African State System: The Bane of Disunity” in Uniting Africa: Building Regional Peace and Security Systems, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp.33-58
  • Moss, Todd (2007), “Chapter 5. Political Change and Democratization” in African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 71-83
  • Thonke, O. and A. Spliid (2012), “What to expect from regional integration in Africa”, African Security Review vol.21 no1 March 2012, pp.42-66 UNCTAD (2009), “Chapter 1. Experience with Regional Integration in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities” in Strengthening regional economic integration for Africa’s development. Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, pp. 5-16, available at http://unctad.org/en/Docs/aldcafrica2009_en.pdf