This two-module core course in global affairs explores the potential for the existing system of global governance to adapt and respond more effectively to global challenges. Global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce the political imperative to strengthen international cooperation on a global scale. The lack of a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed both the external and internal constraints on the current system of global governance. Shifts in geopolitical power and rising economic competition highlight the limitations and constraints on collective action. Advances in science and technology offer new opportunities to address systemic risks while also revealing major gaps in international law and ethics. The slow pace of reform within multilateral institutions further exacerbates the current crisis in global leadership.
In the first half of the course (Module 2), we examine the question of how to govern the world in the post-pandemic era. We shall take a problem-solving approach towards the study of global issues across six pathways: artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, climate change and environmental governance, arms control and non-proliferation, global public health, global inequality and human migration. In the second half of the course (Module 3) we provide a complementary focus upon the broader macro-trends in global affairs, bringing together the study of International Relations with the study of global history and public policy. Special attention is given to China’s emerging role in global leadership and the major transitions that are likely to shape the future trajectory of global governance.