PUBPOL 780: Topics in Policymaking: Understanding the U.N.

To see additional course meeting information, please

login with your U-M Level 1 password

Winter 2008
Credit Hours

Instructor: Martin Palous, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations in New York Bio: The aim of this course is to analyze and to assess critically the role and performance of the United Nations in the world politics in the beginning of the 21st centry. It consists of four parts. Its first part is a summary of the well known facts concerning the U.N. system. It is designd as a brief introductory survey of the U.N. bodies and organs based on the Charter of the United Nations, which was adopted after the end of the World War II to achieve the following purposes: 1. to maintain the international peace and security; 2. to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect of equal rights and determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; 3. to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; 4. to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends. In the second part we will study the current challenges the United Nations has to cope with in the changing world in the beginning of the 21st century. We will focus on the on-going reform processes within the U.N. We will depart from Millennium Declaration (adopted in 2000 during the 55th General Assembly) and the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit (High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th General Assembly.) In the third part we will deal with several key themes of today's United Nations: 1. the question of peacekeeping operations, sanctions and special political missions mandated by the resolutions of the Security Council; 2. the problem of peace building and stabilization in post-conflict situations; 3. the struggle against international terrorism; 4. the question of human rights and the new concept of "responsibility to protect"; 5. the question of "Millennium Development Goals"; 6. the debate concerning climate change. In the fourth part, we will discuss the role and politics of individual member states and their regional or other groups active within the U.N. For obvious reasons we will concentrate in the first place on the U.N. matters as seen from the Czech, i.e. Central European point of view.