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Program elective course

United Nations: International Peace and Security (6 ECTS Credits) - Fall Program

Ignasi Torrent, Jordi Quero (UPF)

The aim of this course is threefold: first, to introduce students to the United Nations (aims, institutions, history) and its critical role in contemporary international society; second, to focus on the analysis of mechanisms in place at the UN architecture to achieve one of its main goals: maintaining international peace and security; and third, to provide a systematic toolkit which helps students out in critically analyzing the performance of the UN Peace Operation missions, by identifying strengths and weaknesses of different historical operations in the field.

The course is structured in two blocks. The first one introduces the United Nations, its goals, its main bodies and its decision-making process as a starting point. It then focuses on the UN architecture as a decisive international actor regarding international peace and security by analyzing: the UN institutional framework that deals with these issues (the UN Security Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, etc.); relevant aspects of the UN Charter in relation to this topic (Chapters VI and VII); and the historical evolution of how the UN has coped with peace and security issues. The second block explores one of the main tools the United Nations applies to maintain peace and security: the UN Peace Operations. This is done by focusing on theoretical debates that have shaped the missions over the time, by examining their evolution in nature and scope and by grasping historical examples (Sierra Leone, Haiti, Burundi, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, etc...).

Please check the syllabus here

Literatura y política en América Latina (6 ECTS Credits) - Fall Program

Dunia Gras (UB), Tania Pleitez (UPF), Jacint Jordana (UPF-IBEI)

La creación literaria y la política se encuentran estrechamente interrelacionadas. Sea como fuente de inspiración, como ensayo de interpretación, o simplemente como contexto inevitable, con mucha frecuencia los autores latinoamericanos se enfrentan a su propia realidad política haciendo uso de sus armas narrativas.  Este curso tiene como objetivo introducir al estudiante en las complejidades de la América Latina contemporánea a través de un estudio en profundidad de cinco novelas recientes de escritores latinoamericanos (Roberto Bolaño, Evelio Rosero, Yuri Herrera, Horacio Castellanos Moya y Zoe Valdés) y del contexto político en el que transcurre cada una de ellas.

Cada obra será examinada y discutida desde un enfoque de crítica literaria, considerando tanto sus influencias literarias desde una perspectiva comparada, como los rasgos específicos de su estructura narrativa. En paralelo, se analizarán, desde la perspectiva de las ciencias sociales, los aspectos políticos tratados en cada novela, con el propósito de ampliar la capacidad de interpretación de los estudiantes de la situación política de la región y sus problemas estructurales, y potenciar su reflexión teórica sobre la relación entre realidad política y ficción literaria.

Please check the syllabus here

Politics, Society, and International Relations of the Mediterranean and the Middle East (6 ECTS Credits) - Spring Program

Eduard Soler (CIDOB-IBEI), Lurdes Vidal (IEMED), Jordi Quero (UPF)

The course has two main objectives. First, it aims at introducing students to the sociopolitical reality of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It does so by systematically and critically examining the contemporary history, politics, society, religion and international relations of the region. Secondly, the course will provide the students with specific analytical tools -mainly from Political Science and International Relations disciplines- which will aid them in properly analyzing sociopolitical realities beyond the ones covered by the course.     

The course is divided in two sections. The first one introduces the students to domestic sociopolitical realities of the region. This section presents the geography of the Mediterranean and the Middle East region; Islamic and contemporary history; political regimes in place in the region; Political Islam; and cultural trends in the 21st Century. The second section explores the international relations of the Mediterranean and the Middle East by focusing on what International Relations Theory has said about the region, on the regional order and subregional orders (in the Maghreb and the Gulf), on contemporary conflicts in the area (the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf Wars, the war in Syria...), on geopolitics of energy and, finally, on the impact and role of foreign actors over the politics of the region (namely, the United States and the European Union).

Please check the syllabus here

España en el mundo: política exterior y diplomacia pública (6 ECTS Credits) - Spring Program

Laia Mestres (IBEI)

¿Es realmente España una potencia media con presencia global, tal y como defienden los diplomáticos y políticos españoles? O, por el contrario, ¿La crisis económica y financiera, que tanto ha afectado a los españoles, ha sido también una causa de deterioro de la imagen de España en el exterior? El objetivo de este curso es profundizar en el papel de España en el mundo, desde la perspectiva de las Relaciones Internacionales, mediante los instrumentos de análisis de las políticas exteriores. La política exterior de cualquier país, y España no es una excepción, se ha adaptado a los nuevos retos que el mundo plantea (globalización y regionalismo, pero también nuevas amenazas y conflictos). El papel de España en el mundo se puede analizar como un juego a tres niveles. En el nivel doméstico, ya no es el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores el único actor de la política exterior. ¿Qué papel juegan las regiones españolas, las empresas o las ONGs en la configuración de España como actor global? En el nivel regional, España es miembro de la UE desde hace casi treinta años.  ¿Cómo está la UE marcando la agenda exterior de España? Y, finalmente, en el nivel global, la actualidad nos hará reflexionar sobre Naciones Unidas. ¿Qué prioridades tiene España como miembro no permanente del Consejo de Seguridad durante el período 2015-16?

Please check the syllabus here

International Politics of Humanitarian Action (6 ECTS Credits) - Spring Program

Miriam Bradley (IBEI)

In 2013, the US government spent US4.7 billion on overseas humanitarian assistance. This is part of a wider trend of increasing spending on humanitarian aid since the end of the Cold War. Does this massive expansion of the humanitarian sector suggest the world is becoming more compassionate and civilized? How do the political interests of donor governments drive humanitarian priorities? Does aid do more harm than good? How does humanitarian aid differ from human rights or development work? Should humanitarian action be political? How does law protect in war? This course will grapple with these, and other, important questions regarding the ethics, law, politics and practice of humanitarianism. The course will serve as a challenging introduction to the main debates within the study and practice of humanitarianism, and will provide students with a range of conceptual tools for understanding the international politics of humanitarian action, as well as empirical knowledge of key events and actors. We will examine the work of UN agencies and international NGOs in response to armed conflict, famine, and natural disasters. We will discuss how politics and principles interact to shape the priorities, practice and outcomes of humanitarian response in countries like Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.

Please check the syllabus here

International Business and Globalization (6 ECTS Credits) - Spring Program

Francisco J. Granados (IBEI)

The course starts with an overview of economic globalization from a political, sociological and historical perspective, focusing on the aspects most relevant to international business.  It outlines main globalization debates, such as the role of states and international institutions, economic development, and inequalities across and within countries.  The second part of the course considers a set of international management topics examined in reference to the global context where firms operate: the political environment of international business, internationalization strategies, international strategic alliances, global marketing, global human resource management, global R&D management, and corporate social responsibility.  Students learn to identify the challenges and opportunities that firms face operating internationally and the role of international business as a globalization driver. Many course readings are instructional case-studies on international management. Students write an international business case that covers the main course topics.

Please check the syllabus here

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