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Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics

University of Birmingham via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


As world leaders seek to find a solution to crises in Syria and Ukraine; economists try to reinvigorate stalling global financial markets; and a range of actors gather to find a consensus on climate change, there has never been a better time to understand the puzzle of cooperation.

Achieving cooperation on such issues is the defining concern of international politics in the 21st century. This free online course will introduce you to the range of political strategies that have been employed to meet these challenges.

Understand the diverse forms of cooperation in international politics today

From institutions that bring together partners in meaningful and lasting agreements, to more fragile and limited attempts to open dialogue between adversaries, we will offer you an insight into the diverse forms of cooperation that make up international politics today.

We will also explore a number of the major theoretical approaches, which can help us make sense of the opportunities for and limitations of cooperation in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world.

Learn according to your interests and available time

The course offers you the opportunity to learn according to your interests and available time. We’ve split each week into activities, which can be completed together or individually. We will explore cooperation through six case study puzzles (each lead by an expert from within the University of Birmingham), which reflect the issues and concerns that dominate current international agendas.

Optional Pre-course Materials - Underpinning Theory
- Professor Nicholas J Wheeler provides an insight into theory that underpins the study of cooperation in international politics. View pre-course materials

Week 1 - Cooperation between Partners
- NATO (Professor Mark Webber)
- The European Union (Dr Graham Timmins)

Week 2 - Cooperation between Diverse Actors
- Climate Change (Dr Fiona Nunan and Dr Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou)
- Peace Building (Professor Paul Jackson)

Week 3 - Cooperation between Enemies
- The Cold War (Professor Nicholas J Wheeler)
- Sino-Japanese Security (Dr Julie Gilson)

So whichever parts you choose, you will experience a practical, interactive and personal encounter with the politics of cooperation in the contemporary world.

Learn from the insights of leading researchers and practitioners

This course draws on the insights of leading researchers and practitioners from the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS); Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS); and International Development Department (IDD) within the School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham.

See why cooperation is so important and relevant by following us on Twitter.

This course is aimed at anyone interested in developing their understanding of cooperation and/or contemporary international politics. It will be of particular interest to those considering or currently studying politics, international development or related fields.

Whilst no prior knowledge is required, we actively encourage the participation of individuals with practical experience within NGOs, the armed forces, aid/donor agencies, government agencies, policy making and think tanks.

Taught by

Jamie Johnson


4.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics

  • Diego Riccardi completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    has been an excellent course because there is lot of free further reading available and the staff feedback is also excellent.
  • Martin Dunn completed this course.

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