Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2016



Course Number

DIPL 6201

Course Description

This course is designed to provide an academic and practical understanding of the impact of United Nations Security Council considerations and actions based on its writ to promote international peace and security.

The properties, processes, policy menu, politics, performance, and products of the United Nations Security Council will be assessed in light of post-Cold War dynamics in international relations.

The course is designed to impart sound knowledge of the Council’s

  • Role as established by the United Nations Charter and as evolved over time,
  • Legal framework and institutional properties (to include the background creation of the Council),
  • Decision making processes, from both conceptual and practical perspectives,
  • Menu of policy topics, and
  • Products, outputs, and outcomes of the Council’s considerations.

In the course of discussion, policy topics will include peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian intervention, post-conflict peace building, Secretary-General selection process, weapons of mass destruction and UN reform. Other issues would include children in armed conflict, conflict mediation, conflict prevention, disarmament, drug trafficking, energy, security and climate change, justice, impunity and rule of law, the protection of civilians, regional arrangements, sanctions, small arms, terrorism and women peace and security.

Please note that as interesting as each of these topics may be, this course is not about those topics, rather the Security Council.

More specifically, the course is designed

  • to examine the Security Council’s structure in detail, and to understand the roles of its machinery,
  • to explore the challenges faced by the Security Council, both political and structural (such as its capabilities for impact in international matters) to as to appreciate the difficulties inherent in its ongoing reform,
  • to appreciate the need and effort needed to formulate policy oriented recommendations about issues related to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Security Council,
  • to study the policies of nations and groups of nations at the UN Organization as regards peace and security so as to understand better the process of deliberations and agreements by UN member states and their translation into programs and activities by the Secretariat,
  • to become familiar and be able to appraise critically academic and political debates about the workings of the Security Council,
  • to recognize and apply relevant theoretical approaches to the study of the Security Council,

to appreciate the Security Council within the larger UN System, UN Organization, and relevant other entities, to include a mental mapping

  • of the United Nations system as regards it core pillar for peace and security. This implies an understanding of the Council’s historical foundations, current structures, operations and functionalities, the nature of representation in the Council, and the Council’s capacity for addressing contemporary issues;
  • to re-imagine international machinery for international cooperation, specifically the UN Security Council, by surveying challenges encountered by it and considering enhanced approaches for international cooperation into the future given trends in threats to peace and security, the phenomenon of globalization, and global governance matters.