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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2022

GOVT 85.46 The United Nations in the Global Arena

This course explores the role of the United Nations both as an instrument of its member states and as an influential global actor in its own right. The subject is a matter of current, open debate in the highest diplomatic circles:  Is the UN a quaint post World War II relic that has become increasingly irrelevant in a changing geopolitical context?  Or is the UN indispensable as the world grapples with global challenges that even the richest and most powerful countries are unable to address alone?

The course will begin by parsing the multiple functions of the United Nations and will review the UN’s formative early years and its evolving roles and responsibilities.  Key moments of crisis — such as its inability to protect threatened civilians in the Balkans and Rwanda — will be analyzed to reveal the shortcomings of the organization as well as its commitment to corrective measures. The UN’s leadership and convening role in addressing long-term global priorities such as sustainable human development and climate adaptation will be assessed.   The course will explore calls for reform of the United Nations, to include reimagining the membership and prerogatives of the Security Council.  Throughout the course, we will consider the perspectives of the United States, which is the largest financial contributor to the UN and wields veto power as a permanent Security Council member.

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:INT or SOC

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.