Ethics and Sustainability Governance of International Value Chains, advanced Bachelor’s seminar, University of Münster

(own design)

Course description: Child labor, deforestation, environmental pollution, human rights abuses – there are many sustainability issues in international value chains that need to be solved. This interdisciplinary seminar gives an overview of governance tools that governments, NGOs and private actors have developed to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of international production and consumption. From international trade agreements to local fisheries councils, from Fair Trade certifications to public-private partnerships, we will study the accomplishments and shortcomings of many real-world mechanisms on different levels of the global-local and public-private spectrums. The literature covered will include approaches from political science, international law, business ethics and economics that critically examine questions of legitimacy, effectiveness, and representativeness of existing approaches. We will also incorporate many current issues into our discussions.

Syllabus Ethics and Sustainability Governance

Reference list Ethics and Sustainability Governance

International Organizations, undergraduate lecture course, University of Münster

(own design)

Course description: This course is an intermediate-level course in international relations which will focus on the role of international organizations (IOs) in world politics. Its main focus will be on the problems of cooperation in the international system and how international institutions are used, with varying degrees of success, to overcome these problems. Particular emphasis will be placed on students’ ability to think critically, both about the nature of problems that face states as well as development of global governance mechanisms. While international non-governmental organizations will make an appearance, our focus will be on intergovernmental organizations. We will examine their historical origins, design, functions, the international and domestic political forces that impact their operations, and their effectiveness. In order to have a core set of analytical tools we can apply to our study of specific IOs, we will begin the course with a critical consideration of the challenge of cooperation under anarchy and IR scholars’ responses. From a theoretical perspective, we will consider various approaches, such as realist, liberal, constructivist, and institutionalist/bureaucratic arguments, as well as theories of marginalization. Delving into specific IOs, we begin with a historic perspective on the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. We spend some time on the institutional design and functioning of the UN and its main organs, before moving on to regional organizations such as the European Union and the Organization of American States. Next, we consider how particular global issues are addressed by intergovernmental institutions. We look at collective security (NATO), human rights protection (UNHRC, European and Interamerican Courts of Human Rights), peacekeeping and criminal justice (UN Blue Helmets and ICC), trade and development (World Bank, IMF, WTO), and the environment (UNEP and UNFCCC). We end the semester by reflecting on the future of IOs and their capacity to solve global problems.

Contributing instructor


Principles of Sustainable Development, MBA case study course, INCAE Business School