Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Global Affairs

About this minor

In the minor students will explore the relationship between geo-political shifts and power instruments in International Relations: in the political/military as well as in the financial/economic domain.

We will address the current situation in international diplomacy and the solutions it could or should provide in this radically changed environment which continues to change rapidly.
Geo-political shifts have great consequences in a variety of ways: the balance between regions, the roles of institutions, the use and development of international law or the use of power instruments. The minor aims to offer students a balanced package of courses in which theory and practice in this extended field of international relations are combined. The lecturers will confront students with their academic knowledge and their practical experiences. We will pay attention to global trends and challenges such as: the shift of political, financial and economic power to the East and its consequences for existing international institutions; climate change; the new role of media in global events; scarcity of energy resources and the commodity markets. It will address both inter-state and intra-state conflict, as well as post-conflict nation building.


The minor consists of 8 courses of 5 ECTS each and takes place during the first semester. The semester is divided into two blocks of eight weeks each. In every block, you need to follow three courses.

In block 2 there are 5 courses offered, you need to choose 3.
All courses in block 1 are mandatory.

This minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected way. It is not possible to follow single courses and the minor needs to be completed in one academic year. If you have previously followed the minor and have not completed it, please contact the coordinator well in advance.

It is possible to register for a 15 EC semi-minor consisting of the three courses offered in block 1, Gateway to Global Affairs, War and Media and The EU as an external Power.

Schedule 2022/2023 to be announced.

All schedules are subject to change.


This course will pay close attention to the shift to a multipolar world and will analyse the positions and policies of a number of key states and international organisations. Students will learn about the functioning of the international system, the challenges it is confronted with, and prospects of its future development.

In addition, the course features seven ‘Global Affairs’ Workshops which will equip students with key skills and knowledge for international studies and careers.

Read more

Through studying the wars in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq from the 1980s onwards the course will focus on how the coverage of such conflicts has significantly changed over the past forty years in a now globalised world, whilst also confronting students with both the positive and negative sides of the extraordinary changes the media and public communication have undergone.

Read more

This course will introduce students to the European Union as an external power and the various ways in which the EU makes an impact in the international arena. The EU has been described in the past as inadequate and weak in foreign policy, partly due to the great expectations ascribed to it given its size and economic power. Arguably, the ‘capability-expectations’ gap is still a problem, as security challenges in Europe have become more pressing than any time since the end of the Cold War. Since 2015, the EU has designed a Global Strategy and specific strategies, institutions and instruments to develop its hard power next to the soft power which it claimed for the first several decades of its existence. Beyond the foreign and defense policy realm where the security situation changes faster than the EU efforts to develop its security muscle, the Union has also different ways to make an impact beyond its borders. 

Read more

Choose 3 out of the following options:

This course addresses the main features and limitations of instruments of power at the international level. It investigates in detail the recourse to military power and/or economic sanctions in the cases of, for instance, Libya, Kosovo, Syria and Ukraine, together with the resulting political backlashes and legitimacy questions. It also investigates the impact of the new policies of the presidents Biden, Putin and Xi and puts those policies in a broader geopolitical framework.

The course also examines shortcomings arising from soft power usage, especially against the background of regionally diverging norms and values, and discusses new concepts such as hybrid warfare and strategic deterrence. The dilemmas and implications arising from the employment of specific power instruments will also be addressed from a practical perspective of decision-making.

Read more

This course starts by exploring what the term ‘geo-economics’ entails and how it is linked to economic diplomacy. Centering on the contests between great powers – mainly the United States, EU, China, and Russia – in this course we will assess how countries act differently in linking politics, economics and security by discussing several key areas of the broad field of geo-economics. These include energy security; trade, investment and economic cooperation; and global financial governance. Throughout the course we will seek to answer the question: what are the main tools and primary purposes by which the big powers seek to uphold and/or expand their influence in these fields?

Read more

Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private businesses and ordinary citizens. In many parts of the world, it has even been one of the most prominent threats to peace, security and stability. But what exactly is terrorism, how can we study it, and how can we limit the impact of it on society? This and more will be discussed in this course.

Read more

The aim of this course is to provide students with a BA level knowledge of the political and military debates surrounding contemporary humanitarian intervention and international peace operations. The role that military deployments can play in protecting human rights in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing has been hotly disputed throughout the 1990s and beyond. This course will introduce students to some of the major contemporary debates within international peace operations literature and enable students to critically assess their strengths and limitations.

During this course, students will discuss various interventions in a globalised and changing world. 

Read more

This course critically examines how global problems are – and be better – governed. Contemporary society is heavily globalised, as seen in matters such as armed conflicts, digital technologies, ecological degradations, economic instabilities, geopolitical shifts, humanitarian crises, identity struggles, pandemics, and social inequalities. Governing these global developments – shaping and directing them in positive directions – is one of today’s greatest political challenges. This course introduces students to the measures, actors, structures, and ideologies that currently govern – and might in future differently govern – the globe.

Read more

This website uses cookies. More information.