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Summer 1 2011 - 94650 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

International Organizations & Global Governance: Crisis or Catharsis?

Instructor(s): Weaver, Catherine
Unique Number: 94650
Day & Time: WTh 5:45 - 8:30 pm
Room: Archer Center, Washington, DC
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

Course to be taught on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (5:45 to 9:00 pm) from June 8 through July 14 at the Archer Center in Washington, DC.

International governmental organizations (IOs) are the heart of global governance. Since the mid-20th century, IOs have played a central role in defining, implementing and enforcing rules and norms to resolve international collective action problems and provide public goods ranging from peace and security to financial stability and growth. Many policy students aspire to work for an IO one day. Yet many of the oldest and most prominent IOs in the world today are in crisis: their relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness constantly under fire by actors spanning the political spectrum. Why are these IOs in crisis?  What is the nature of these crises?  What is being done to reform these organizations, and to what end?
The course will begin with a broad historical and theoretical overview of the birth and growth of IOs in the world. Specifically, we will examine (1) why states create and work through IOs (2) how we understand the design and the delegation of functions to IOs; (3) the sources and exercise of IO authority and power, and (4) the often dysfunctional or pathological behavior of IOs. We will then focus specifically on the sources and nature of current crises and reform strategies. Our primary goal throughout the course will be to understand the complex politics within and surrounding these multilateral organizations, unpacking the dynamics of IO behavior and change both from the vantage of “high politics” and from a perspective of “life within” their walls.
We will specifically focus our attention on IOs who play a prominent role in leading major areas of global policy, including international finance (the IMF), peacekeeping (the UN DPKO), humanitarian and refugee assistance (the UNHCR), and global development (the World Bank). We will take advantage of being in Washington, D.C. and our proximity to New York to visit these IOs, hear directly from their staff and management, and to speak with many experts in the U.S. government and activist communities who have been advocating IO reform. Students will choose one IO for an in-depth research project, conducting an analysis of its performance and reform efforts and writing a reform report that offers a vision for the future.