Contemporary Challenges in International Relations

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)

Teaching Period: 22 June to 10 July 
Contact: summer@uab.cat

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

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Enrolment guidelines


PROFESSOR BIO INFORMATION

Alessandro Demurtas holds a Ph.D in International Relations and European Integration form 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.

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ACADEMIC GUIDE

Contents overview


Research and innovation (R&I) and new business ideas are the key for a long-term sustained economic growth worldwide, especially in the globalised modern world, where large rates of competitiveness require improving products, services, and processes, taking into account the international perspective to do so.

This course intends to offer an in-depth perspective to the role of R&I and its business-based logic in the modern economies, from 3 main perspectives: (i) understanding the logic of the investment for innovation, especially from a public point of view, and how stakeholders develop their R&I projects; (ii) turning new and innovative ideas into business opportunities, developing entrepreneurial activities; and (iii) understanding the effects of innovation on productivity changes, taking into account the conditioning role of factors such as firm size or the intensity of market competition, as well as discussing the role that industrial and competition policy have in fostering innovation.

The expected students for this course are any motivated international students from different backgrounds (from economics and politics who want to better understand these topics to more science-oriented students who aim at learning about the economic logic of their fields of expertise). No specialised background is required.

Week programme
Week Contents Teaching / learning activities
1 1.1. Introduction
Presentation and main concepts
 
1.2. Europe and the challenge of international terrorism (3 days) 
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. The first part of the class will be a lecture given by the professor. In the second part, the students will be divided in groups and will debate about a specific reading, trying to answer to the questions proposed by the professor. Groups will prepare a short essay resuming the content of the debate. At the end of the class, there will be a general debate among all groups, coordinated by the professor.
 
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: Assistance to classes is necessary and active participation is encouraged. The key activity during the subject will be a role play of different actors positioning within the food production system to face these three challenges of the international system (hunger, poverty/inequality and migration). There will be a final exam of this subject on the last day of the subject.
 
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: 1- Simulation of a UN negotiation on a development agenda issue. Groups will prepare the position of a concrete country and later interact with the rest of groups in order. 2- Group exercise on the implementation of SDG at local level. A mini essay should be done by each group.
 
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)
 

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: The first part of the first two classes class will be a lecture given by the professor. In the second part, the students will be divided in groups and will debate about a specific topic seen during the lecture, trying to answer to the questions proposed by the professor. Groups will prepare a short essay resuming the content of the debate. At the end of the class, there will be a general debate among all groups, coordinated by the professor. For the third class the first part will be a lecture, while the second part will be devoted to do the final exam.
 
3.2. Closing
For the closing lecture, students will do a wrapping up of what they have seen in the four different subjects of the course. Divided in groups, 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

  • 15% 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 essays that groups will write in class (23rd, - 25th and 26th of June)
  • 40% of the grade will be based on the final exam (from 12 to 1:30 pm of Friday 26th of June)


2.    The world food production system 

  • 5% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in debates
  • 45% of the grade will be based on class exercise (role playing and its presentation and written summary. 30th June and 1ª July)
  • 40% of the grade will be based on the final exam (from 12:30 to 1:30 pm on Wednesday 1º of July)


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

  • 20% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in debates
  • 20% of the grade will be based on the UN simulation exercise (2sd. July and 3th. July)
  • 20% of the grade will be based on the mini essay on groups on Implementation of SDG (2sd. July and 3th. July)
  • 40% of the grade will be based on the final exam (from 12:00 to 1:00 pm on Thursday 6th of July)


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

  • 15% of the grade will be based on attendance at class and participation in debates
  • 40% of the grade will be based on 2 short essays that groups will write in class (7th and 8th July)
  • 45% of the grade will be based on the final exam (from 12:00 to 1:00 pm on Thursday 9th of July)
     

Links 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