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International politics: cooperation and conflict permeates our everyday lives

Dr Jamie Johnson, lead educator of the free online course, ‘Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics’ by the University of Birmingham, discusses the changing nature of international politics and outlines why cooperation is more important than it has ever been.

Cooperation in the contemporary world: Unlocking international politics

International politics has never been more relevant.  From political upheaval in the Ukraine, a planned referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EU and the ongoing global efforts to achieve consensus on tackling climate change, international cooperation and conflict permeates our everyday lives.

On this course we’ll take a journey through six different case studies which will look at cooperation between allies, acquaintances and enemies.  Why do organisations established at the height of the Cold War continue to not only exist but to grow in size and scope?  What were the drivers in transforming the adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union and what are the prospects for a similar transformation in Chinese-Japanese relations?  During this three week course you’ll have the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues, and apply some of the theories to a wide range of challenges that face our world today.

But international cooperation isn’t restricted to pure politics.  We live in an increasingly globalised world, where decisions made in one sphere have a direct impact on others living thousands of miles away.  Consider the global financial crisis: the speed and ease in which money can be moved around the world makes domestic economic decision-making dependent on a broad range of international factors.  An increase in global travel means that viruses and diseases can move beyond national boarders as easily as people.  And the effort to reduce global carbon emissions cannot be achieved by one nation alone.  Adequate responses to all these issues require close and extensive global cooperation.  So where does this leave the sovereign state, organisations and individuals?  All these questions and more will be discussed and debated on this course.

This programme has been designed for anyone who has an interest in international politics and cooperation; whether you work in the field or simply have a personal interest in the subject.  You’ll have your own individual motivation for signing up and I hope this, coupled with your different opinions and experiences, will make the interactive discussions and comments valuable to the whole group.

See why cooperation is so important and relevant by following us on Twitter. You can use the hashtag #FLcooperation to join and contribute to Twitter conversations about this course.

This free online course begins on 12 May, so if you want to explore the puzzle of cooperation and understand the myriad of approaches for partners and enemies alike to consider, then sign up now.

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