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Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics

Why do we cooperate? How can we achieve more lasting cooperation? This course explores the puzzle in international politics today.

8,396 enrolled on this course

A large conference room for international politics
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

As world leaders seek to find a solution to crises in Syria and Ukraine; economists try to reinvigorate stalling global financial markets; and a range of actors gather to find a consensus on climate change, there has never been a better time to understand the puzzle of cooperation.

Achieving cooperation on such issues is the defining concern of international politics in the 21st century. This free online course will introduce you to the range of political strategies that have been employed to meet these challenges.

Understand the diverse forms of cooperation in international politics today

From institutions that bring together partners in meaningful and lasting agreements, to more fragile and limited attempts to open dialogue between adversaries, we will offer you an insight into the diverse forms of cooperation that make up international politics today.

We will also explore a number of the major theoretical approaches, which can help us make sense of the opportunities for and limitations of cooperation in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world.

Learn according to your interests and available time

The course offers you the opportunity to learn according to your interests and available time. We’ve split each week into activities, which can be completed together or individually. We will explore cooperation through six case study puzzles (each lead by an expert from within the University of Birmingham), which reflect the issues and concerns that dominate current international agendas.

Optional Pre-course Materials - Underpinning Theory
- Professor Nicholas J Wheeler provides an insight into theory that underpins the study of cooperation in international politics. View pre-course materials

Week 1 - Cooperation between Partners
- NATO (Professor Mark Webber)
- The European Union (Dr Graham Timmins)

Week 2 - Cooperation between Diverse Actors
- Climate Change (Dr Fiona Nunan and Dr Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou)
- Peace Building (Professor Paul Jackson)

Week 3 - Cooperation between Enemies
- The Cold War (Professor Nicholas J Wheeler)
- Sino-Japanese Security (Dr Julie Gilson)

So whichever parts you choose, you will experience a practical, interactive and personal encounter with the politics of cooperation in the contemporary world.

Learn from the insights of leading researchers and practitioners

This course draws on the insights of leading researchers and practitioners from the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS); Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS); and International Development Department (IDD) within the School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham.

See why cooperation is so important and relevant by following us on Twitter.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in developing their understanding of cooperation and/or contemporary international politics. It will be of particular interest to those considering or currently studying politics, international development or related fields.

Whilst no prior knowledge is required, we actively encourage the participation of individuals with practical experience within NGOs, the armed forces, aid/donor agencies, government agencies, policy making and think tanks.

Who will you learn with?

I am Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor of EA WorldView (www.eaworldview), a news and analysis website on international relations.

Who developed the course?

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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