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  • UN Security Council

    You want to work for social justice at the global level, but most United Nations study programs take you sightseeing. Do you want just a cursory tour or do you want to immerse yourself in international affairs?

    The United Nations Summer Study (UNSS) program, offered by The New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs, puts graduate and undergraduate students on the ground in the United Nations and in New York City. Unlike other UN study programs, UNSS takes you beyond a narrow focus on security and diplomacy to investigate development, human rights, humanitarian action, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and environmental and reform issues. UNSS coursework prepares you to understand and engage with contemporary issues, policies, and debates in international affairs. UNSS practicums, not found in any other UN summer program, enable you to gain hands-on experience in the UN system.

  • Program Options

    United Nations Summer Study offers three options:

    Option 1: Core Curriculum

    (3 graduate / 4 undergraduate credits)

    • Class: “The United Nations and World Order”
    • Colloquium: presentations by UN staff and officials from other organizations and governments that provide insider perspectives and direct contact with professionals
    • Site Visits: briefings and talks at UN headquarters, international organizations, and other key places salient to global governance and processes.
    • Experience New York City: social justice tours and other guided activities to connect global issues addressed by the UN to local issues in New York City

    Option 2: Core + Practice

    (6 graduate / 8 undergraduate credits)

    • Includes all elements of the Core Curriculum Option
    • Practicum: a group consultancy with a United Nations agency, nongovernmental organization, or research institute that works with the UN and is overseen by a faculty adviser.

    Option 3: Non-Credit

    • Class, colloquium, site visits, and NYC experience without earning academic credits.

    Course: “The United Nations and World Order”

    Description

    This course analyzes the role of the United Nations (UN) in constituting and reconstituting world order. Initially founded to address the challenges of international armed aggression associated with World War I and World War II, the United Nations has grown and evolved in significant ways since its establishment in 1945, and is now charged with confronting a wide range of threats, including mass atrocities, poverty, hunger, disease, and climate change. This international organization—simultaneously a forum for countries to pursue their respective national interests and a mechanism for fulfilling collective goals—has become the centerpiece of world order, playing a pre-eminent role in issues of international peace and security, economic development, and human rights and humanitarian affairs.

    After outlining social scientific parameters of study and the major theoretical approaches, the class surveys the historical and political contexts that shaped the birth, behavior, and performance of international organizations—the early inter-state system, the 19th century, the wars and inter-war epoch of the early 20th century, the Cold War, the post-Cold War era, and the post-September 11, 2001 period. Over the course of the class students will probe the nuts-and-bolts of the UN system (including a review of major organs and specialized agencies), develop their abilities to analyze UN policies and practices, and connect UN evolution to patterns of change and continuity in international affairs. 

    Format and Approach

    Class lectures/seminars meet twice a week, each session will last 3 hours. The class coheres the other components of the core curriculum and class sessions have both lecture and seminar elements. The lectures will build on materials students have read prior to each session. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the seminar portions, ask questions as needed, and offer relevant comments. There will also be discussion groups to promote deeper probing and foster debate. 

    The UNSS class develops a skill set to pursue a career in international affairs, specifically by providing scholarly and practitioner training. Accordingly, students become fluent in academic discourse and versed in analyses as well as learn practice-oriented speaking and writing.

    Class Outline

    1. Social Science and the Study of the United Nations and World Order
    2. Paradigms of World Order and Analytical Prisms on the United Nations
    3. Sovereignty,Antecedent World Orders, and the Founding of the United Nations
    4. Collective Security and United Nations Peacekeeping During the Cold War
    5. The “New Wars” of the 1990s and Post-Cold War United Nations Peace Operations
    6. Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Global Security Since 9/11
    7. 21st Century Security Threats, the United Nations, and World Order
    8. International Human Rights, Law, and Advocacy
    9. International Humanitarian Law, Humanitarian Action, and Humanitarian Intervention
    10. Economic Development, International Financial Institutions, and the United Nations
    11. The North-South Gap, Development Goals, and the United Nations
    12. Natural Resource Management, the Environment, and the United Nations
    13. The “Third UN,” Civil Society, and Non-Governmental Organizations
    14. The Challenges of Change: United Nations Reform and the Revolution in World Order

    Colloquia

    The colloquium series offers rare access to high profile UN officials, and non-governmental organizations personnel who offer candid off-the-record assessments and illuminate the behind-the-scenes workings of the UN system. Each talk spotlights a particular theme and is geared toward showing how theory informs and interprets practice. The colloquia meet once a week for 2 hours.

    2016 UNSS colloquia have not yet been determined.

    Below is a list of previous colloquia:

    • Research, Advocacy, and the United Nations System
      • Tatiana Carayannis (Social Science Research Council, Deputy Director of Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum)
      • Volker Lehmann (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Senior Policy Analyst)
    • Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration
      • Dean Piedmont (GPIA faculty, former United Nations official)
    • From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding
      • Eric McCandless (GPIA faculty)
    • Human Rights Issues and the United Nations
      • Sushil Raj (United Nations, Political Affairs Officer in Department of Political Affairs)
    • Development Issues and the United Nations
      • Barbara Adams (former United Nations official)
      • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (GPIA faculty, former United Nations official)
      • John Hendra (United Nations, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy and Programme at UN Women)
    • Multilateral Environmental Accords & the Post-2015 Agenda
      • Michael Dorsey (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Director)
    • Gender and the United Nations
      • Saraswathi Menon (former United Nations official, former director, Policy Division of UN Women)
    • United Nations Careers
      • Becky Band Jain (United Nations, Office of Information and Communications Technology at the United Nations)
      • Norbert Bromme (United Nations, Human Resource Office, Chief of Examination and Tests)
      • Anna Whitson (United Nations Development Programme, Policy Analyst)

    Site Visits

    Experience the UN and NYC first hand with visits and tours that connect international affairs and urban issues. Site visits expand on and apply the curriculum; faculty guide students in encountering and unpacking the content and the environment of sites. Site visits are once a week and, with travel time and sometimes exploring the surrounding neighborhood, often last longer than 2 hours. 2016 UNSS site visits have not yet been determined.

    Previous site visits have included:

    • United Nations Headquarters
    • Permanent Mission of the United States Mission to the United Nations
    • Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
    • National September 11 Memorial & Museum
    • Wall Street
    • Zuccotti Park
    • Tenement Museum
    • Museum of Chinese in America
    • The Morgan Library & Museum
    • Climate vulnerability tour of Lower Manhattan

    Practicums

    United Nations Summer Study practicums are group-based consulting projects with an inter-governmental or non-governmental organization. Student teams, with faculty oversight, work with their host organization to define a need and develop a product—the product may be data collection and analysis, website or social media, policy recommendations, etc.  Students gain invaluable professional experience in how international organizations operate, their professional culture, and working collaboratively in a group with strict deadlines. Each team will give a formal presentation of their final project to the client as well as UNSS. Practicum faculty supervisors will set meeting times and time commitment—given the short time frame of UNSS, it is expected that students participating in the practicum will devote at minimum 6-8 hours of work per week to this component. 2016 UNSS practicums have not yet been determined.

    Previous UNSS practicums have been with:

    • UN Women
    • United Nations Office of Internal Oversight
    • International Rescue Committee

    Administration and Faculty

    Fabiola Berdiel, Director of International Field Programs

    Peter J. Hoffman, UNSS Faculty Supervisor and Course Instructor

    Faculty Advisory Board

    Jonathan Bach, Associate Professor Global Studies

    Michael Cohen, Professor of International Affairs

    Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs

    Peter J. Hoffman, Studley Faculty Fellow

    Mark Johnson, Assistant Professor of Practice

    Nina L. Khrushcheva, Professor of International Affairs

    Sheba Mukhtar Tejani, Assistant Professor of International Affairs

    Host City

    Home to UN Headquarters along with country missions from every member state and a vast array of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and research institutes on international affairs, New York City is a hub of diplomacy, and as a global city it reflects and responds to global issues at the local level.