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Leiden University

The Changing Global Order

Leiden University via Coursera

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How are international power relations changing and how can global peace and stability be maintained? This course familiarizes you with some main theories of international relations, shows how the global order is gradually changing and discusses how selected international and regional organizations contribute to the maintenance of global peace and security. You learn what research findings tell us in terms of the capacity of international organizations and actors to help prevent or stop violent conflict, what tools are used to negotiate agreements and how foundations for sustainable peace are best created. We will also focus on the role of the European Union in terms of diplomacy and efforts to prevent conflict, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the contribution of organizations such as the African Union to the prevention of conflict and war. We will study the United Nations Security Council and see in which ways its membership could be adapted to more accurately reflect the power relations of the current global order. Through quizzes and exercises testing your knowledge of these subjects, you will understand crucial concepts and get insights into how the academic study of international relations and international organization contributes to the search for global stability and peace in practice.


  • Welcome to the course
    • Great that you are joining us! In this course you will learn about international relations, peace and security. Before you start with studying we invite you to first go through our introduction module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck and we hope you will enjoy the course!
  • Theories of International Relations
    • In this first week, we will discuss theories of international relations and in addition to this, we will have a first lecture on the United Nations Security Council. Theories may at times seem a bit ‘abstract’, or even ‘dry’, but you will see that they actually do matter; make sure to also have a look at our assigned and recommended readings to provide you with additional insights.
  • The Changing World Order: Rising Powers and International Institutions
    • This week we will be looking into changing world power in more detail, mainly targeting the question: who are the rising powers? You will get lectures from two of our guest instructors: Professor Rob de Wijk and Professor André Gerrits. Topics covered are power politics, the rise of China and the role of Russia in the current global order.
  • Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Security
    • This week, we will look at Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Security. We have a number of very interesting lectures as well as some additional interviews with experts in the field. Some of the topics include negotiation and mediation strategies, UN Security Council sanctions, the role of the International Criminal Court, and interviews on the practical implementation of these strategies and mechanisms. Additionally, for those of you completing the honors track, this week we have the peer review essay assignment. In this assignment, you will write about a conflict of your choice and apply the conflict resolution strategies to the conflict. Good luck on the assignment!
  • Regional Organizations in Global Affairs
    • This week, we will look at regional organizations in global affairs in which we first focus on the European Union. Thereafter, Prof. dr. Giles Scott-Smith will familiarize us with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Arctic Council. We will also present an additional interview with Prof. dr. Mohamed Salih about the African Union and an interview with Hetty Burgman about Cordaid. Lastly, also a guest lecture at Leiden University by Federica Mogherini, the current High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, is released.
  • NATO in a Changing World
    • The topic addressed this week is NATO in a Changing World. There are two lectures by Prof. dr. Rob de Wijk. The first examines coercion and the second elucidates the new role of NATO in the international arena. Furthermore, there are also interesting interviews with several former Secretary Generals of NATO, including Jamie Shea, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and Rasmussen.
  • Reforming the UNSC: Strategies and Proposals
    • This week, we will focus on the United Nations Security Council and Reform Proposals. The topics addressed are the history of the UNSC, its current structure, and how it can best be reformed. Additionally, there are two extra videos by Abiodun Williams and Edwin Bakker.
  • Handing in the UNSC Reform Groups Proposals
    • Please note that during week 7, there are no lectures and assigned readings. The purpose of the week is for the students participating in the UN Security Council reform group assignment to hand in their proposals. The deadline is on Wednesday of this week at 13:00 CET. If you were unable to participate in the group assignment but would like to in the future, in 6 weeks the assignment will be available again!

Taught by

Madeleine Hosli and Andre Gerrits


4.5 rating, based on 12 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 575 ratings

Start your review of The Changing Global Order

  • Anonymous
    The Changing Global Order sharpened my interest in International Relations, now am keener to absorb it all. Democracy and Autocracy are fighting for the soul of our world, United States, western Europe, newly democratized eastern European countries…
  • Profile image for Zsófia Szarka
    Zsófia Szarka
    This has the potential to be a really great course, but it left me disappointed and very, VERY frustrated. It's hard to give a simple star rating. The content itself, and the format would deserve 4.5-5. I think it's a great course in this aspect…
  • Profile image for John Lee
    John Lee
    This is an excellent course that provides me the fundamentals to follow ever changing global affairs. I have learned to appreciate the successes and failures of the collective bodies of institutions doing their best for peace and security. I can use what I have learned to see the power play by nations of all sizes that often is not necessary for either peace or security, and for that matter humanity.
  • RoosWilhelm
    Good and well-structured introduction into thinking about international relations. The material can be somewhat 'dry' but I really liked how different profs and guest speakers hightlighted different angles and I found the reading material and essay writing interesting easy to set myself to (which is an accomplishment in itself :-).
  • Anonymous
    I did this course for personal interest, and found it excellent. The content is thorough and engaging. I did the assignment and would recommend. Doing this and taking part in the discussions, reading what others have to say, is a great way to make the content more practical and relatable to actual and current events.
  • Anonymous
    I have just completed this course. I had a really nice time for the duration of the course. The teachers/lecturers did a good job, kudos! The course has given me the opening into the interesting world of International Relations. I really loved the course presentation too.
  • The course is an eye opener. Challenging, interesting and educative. I presently understand the present global order and from where it developed to the current stage. I particularly enjoyed the courses about the composition of the UNSC and conflict resolution. Its worth every minute I spent on it.
  • Profile image for Stefanos Pep
    Stefanos Pep
    A MOOC with an excellent content and excellent proffesors and speakers. Gives a spherical knowledge on the role and the structure of the main Intl. Organizations.

    Totally usefull for Geopolitical and Diplomacy interests. Many thanks.
  • Paul Ransom
  • Deepak Jois
  • Emma Moretzsohn

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