Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, INTERNATIONAL STUDIES ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 23 February 2018

Teaching International Organization

Summary and Keywords

The teaching of international organization (IO) poses unique challenges. One is deciding whether to take a broad global governance-IO approach dealing with the creation, revision, and enforcement of rules that mark different governance arrangements, the roles of formal, informal, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental IOs, and the politics, dynamics, and processes of problem-solving and governance in various issue areas, a theory-driven approach, or an IOs approach focusing primarily on select formal intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and possibly nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), emphasizing structures, charters, mandates, and functions. Either choice could lead one to utilize recent literature on IGOs (and to a lesser extent NGOs) as organizations and bureaucracies, examining their design, functions, and performance or behavior. Another is the extent to which various international relations as well as IO-related theories such as theories of cooperation, regime and institution formation and evolution, functionalism, constructivism, and others are integrated into an IO course. To what extent are students introduced to currents of critical theory such as postmodernism, Marxism, feminism, and postcolonialism in relationship to IOs? There is also the question of which IGOs—global and/or regional—to include given the range of possibilities. How all the abovementioned issues are addressed will strongly influence choices with regard to textbooks, other readings, and various types of electronically available materials.

Keywords: teaching, international organization, pedagogy, international relations

Introduction: What Are We Studying?

Although arguably teachers always must start a course by defining their subject matter, international relations (IR) teachers face some unique challenges in doing so for courses on international organization (IO). Is the subject spelled with or without an “s?” Is the course to focus on particular intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), and World Bank (IBRD), their mandates, structures, and activities? Does it include attention to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)? What about transnational social movements, advocacy networks, epistemic communities, or multinational corporations? And what about related elements of international law, norms, and international regimes?

Alternatively, in his pathbreaking text Swords into Plowshares published more than 50 years ago, Inis Claude ([1956] 1964:405) wrote:

It is perhaps necessary to stress … the distinction between international organizations and international organization. Particular organizations may be nothing more than playthings of power politics and handmaidens of national ambitions. But international organization, considered as an historical process, represents a secular trend toward the systematic development of an enterprising quest for political means of making the world safe for human habitation.

To use Claude's emphasis on international organization as a process of organizing global political action for teaching IO requires a very different approach. This alternative definition of IO does not ignore the need to understand the structures, mandates, and activities of particular IOs. Rather, it emphasizes evolving systems of governance for dealing with various global, regional, and subregional issues and problems that cannot be addressed within states. It is also an approach that lends itself to more emphasis on theory, including the extensive literatures on cooperation, regime theory, institutional design, global governance, and the evolution of norms.

The complexity of today's world, including the number of IGOs and NGOs as well as the continuing process of international organization across a wide range of global, regional, subregional, and other types of issues, compounds the challenges of teaching IO courses. Not only have there been major changes in the world, but there has also been a resurgence of interest in and scholarship on IO(s) since the late 1980s, including the development of a rich literature of IO-related theory, magnifying the questions of breadth and scope in teaching IO courses.

The definition of the subject, then, makes a fundamental difference in the overall orientation and focus of an IO course. From that flows a series of other choices to be made in scope, approach, and pedagogy. It also matters where and by whom a course is taught. In the first volume of their study International Relations Scholarship Around the World, Arlene Tickner, Ole Wæver, and their contributing authors (2009) have documented the wide variations in how, where, and by whom IR more generally is taught around the world. The differences between the United States and the rest of the world are striking. No comparable study yet exists for scholarship and teaching of IO, but some information is available. The context in which IO is taught clearly matters, as does the background of the individual teaching the course, whether or not there is just a single course at one level or some progression of courses. In the United States, for example, IO-related courses are taught almost exclusively in political science, government, and international relations departments by faculty with an advanced degree (usually PhD) in one of these fields. Elsewhere, IO-related courses may be taught in faculties of law and economics, sociology, diplomatic history, or security studies. Those teaching the subject may, therefore, be trained in different fields; it is also common in many countries, especially in developing countries, for IR and IO courses to be taught by former government officials and diplomats. As a result, the focus may be far more on training future diplomats and government officials in that country.

The limited information available on IO teaching shows that IO-related courses are not offered at all colleges and universities and, in fact, may be very scarce in some parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, for example, IO courses are offered at 46 out of 71 universities (Haack 2008); in Hungary, a law-based course is offered at only four out of 70 institutions and courses in faculties of economics may deal with international economic organizations, but most universities' curricula do not have a course titled IO as such (personal communication from Eszter Lukács, 2010).

For the most part, IO courses tend to be upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses, although courses on the UN in the United States may be taught in community colleges. Generally, the expectation is that students need to have had at least an introductory course in international relations/politics as a prerequisite. The type of institution, however, may affect pedagogy. For example, faculty at liberal arts colleges may be more inclined and able to incorporate simulations into their courses than those at large universities where class sizes are larger.

This essay explores the challenges of teaching IO, looking first at the evolution of the IO field and of IO courses, particularly changes in the field itself since the mid-1970s, the impact of seminal works, and global changes. It then explores the choices these changes now require regarding the scope and approaches in teaching IO, as well as the pedagogical possibilities in a field that has come to encompass much of international relations (IR) more generally.

The Evolution of the Field and of Teaching

In their 1986 article “International Organization: A State of the Art on an Art of the State,” Kratochwil and Ruggie noted: “As a field of study, international organization has always concerned itself with the same phenomenon … ‘how the modern Society of Nations governs itself.’” They then described a set of four shifts in how this phenomenon had been conceived up to that point from an initial emphasis on formal institutions to institutional decision-making processes and patterns of influence, organization roles in international governance, and, lastly, the role of IOs within international regimes. In his related essay “The Rise and Fall of International Organization as a Field of Study,” Rochester (1986) also traced the origins and evolution of the field. There has not been an effort to chart the field's evolution since the mid-1980s and this is not the place to do so, but it is important to describe how some of the major lines of scholarship have influenced the teaching of international organization.

The Study of Formal Organizations

The field of international organization developed out of international law and involved the study first of the League of Nations, then of the League and the United Nations. Courses focused on the provisions of the League Covenant and UN Charter, the various organs and structures and how they worked, their mandates, and activities. There tended to be heavy emphasis on peace and security issues because they were the primary focus of international relations in general. International law influenced the focus on the founding documents, their mandates, and the development of legal norms. Indeed, courses often combined international law and international organization; at some institutions they still do, especially outside the United States. Scholarly work and teaching were aided by publications of the Brookings Institution (e.g., Russell and Muther 1958) and Columbia University Press (e.g., Gordenker 1967; Goodrich, Hambro, and Simons 1968) on the UN Charter, the UN Secretary-General, the UN and peace and security, and other topics. The journal International Organization was a major resource as well, not only for its articles, but also for its listing of the UN system and other IO activities.

Over time, as Rochester (1986:783) noted, “International organization scholars became more interested in process than in structure and more inclined toward policy science than normative philosophy. These trends reflected currents of change in the international relations field generally as well as in political science as a whole.” So, too, by the 1960s the teaching of IO gradually incorporated focus on the use of the veto, the dynamics and roles of blocs and groups, patterns of influence, decision-making processes, voting behavior, conference diplomacy, IOs as legitimizers, the role of the UN in the process of decolonization, and the impact of membership increases on the organization. These additions followed the publication of articles and books that stimulated interest in each of these areas. Given the shifts in world politics and within the UN as a result of decolonization, there was also increasing attention to issues of economic development.

The primary focus on the UN persisted until the 1960s when the creation and development of the European Economic Community led to a surge of interest in the subject and a broadening of IO courses to include some attention to regional organizations and regional integration, particularly in Europe. In addition, the scholarly work of Inis Claude, Karl Deutsch, Ernst Haas, Harold Guetzkow, and others beginning in the late 1950s and 1960s initiated more conscious efforts to go beyond descriptive discussions of regional and global institutions to develop theoretical work regarding regional integration, functionalism, neofunctionalism, and the interaction between the international system and international organizations. As a result, theoretical questions and material were gradually introduced into IO courses.

A Changing Field and Changing World

The 1970s was a transitional decade in international politics and a number of the major scholarly outputs that accompanied the transitions in the world itself have influenced both the field of IO and teaching to the present day. It was a decade in which international economic relations, the environment, and a series of problems from population and food supply to desertification, water, and nuclear weapons all contributed to greater awareness of interdependence and the need for more global perspectives. As Kratochwil and Ruggie (1986:758) put it, the focus became “a more general concern with how international institutions ‘reflect and to some extent magnify or modify’ the characteristic features of the international system.” Developing countries challenged the existing international economic order with their proposals for a New International Economic Order (NIEO); in 1972, the Club of Rome issued its report, The Limits to Growth, challenging how IO and IR scholars thought about the world; a year later, OPEC's oil embargo and quadrupling of the price of oil upended conventional thinking about the nature of power and order in the world. In 1977, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye published their influential book, Power and Interdependence, exploring the dynamics of complex interdependence and the paradoxes in power relations that it can produce. And, in 1975, the first work on international regimes appeared introducing a new conceptual focus for work on international governance and IOs.

Rochester's essay noted “the steady disengagement of international organization scholars from the study of organizations” (1986:783–4). Teaching increasingly focused not just on the UN and some regional organizations as organizations, but also on their roles in addressing an ever-broadening array of issues and problems. International political economy (IPE) emerged as a subfield of IR and IO texts and courses increasingly incorporated attention to the Bretton Woods and other economic institutions. The challenges of making choices in what to include or exclude in IO courses began to increase substantially.

Even more than the movement away from the study of organizations as such was the gradual recognition beginning in the 1970s that formal intergovernmental organizations were not the only types of IOs. Keohane and Nye's 1971 special volume of International Organization on transgovernmental and transnational networks introduced a multi-actor framework including such international organizations as the Catholic Church and Ford Foundation and expanded issue orientation. Thus began the slow shift in the IR field more generally and the IO field specifically away from the exclusive state and IGO-centric focus to a recognition of NGOs as important actors in international politics. Harold Jacobson's Networks of Interdependence (1979; 2nd edn, 1984) was the first IO textbook to include some reference to NGOs, the differences between IGOs and NGOs, and networks of organizations. It was not until the 1990s, however, that either systematic scholarship or textbooks paid more serious attention to the roles of NGOs, the concept of advocacy networks, the power of social movements, and the emergence of global civil society. These developments coincided with the increased activities of the human rights, women's, environmental, and other movements in pushing their agendas in and through international organizations, spurring scholarly interest and adding yet more material to IO courses.

The introduction of regime theory into the IO field in the late 1970s and 1980s marked a return to thinking about the relationship between IOs and international law. It had a huge impact on scholarship but created a good deal of confusion for undergraduate teaching in particular. Susan Strange's article “‘Cave! Hic Dragone’: A Critique of Regime Analysis” in the 1982 special issue of International Organization edited by Stephen Krasner captured well the conceptual difficulties with regimes. For some, regimes were a bit like the tale of the emperor's new clothes. You could neither see nor touch a regime. For others, there was a tendency to conflate a regime with an IGO. The 1991 fifth edition of Leroy Bennett's text, International Organizations: Principles and Issues, included the concept of regimes only in the introductory section on theory and dwelled heavily on various critiques of its value while noting: “In spite of doubts and criticism, regime analysis retains a high degree of academic influence” (p. 29). For some, however, the regime concept became a useful way of teaching students about the links between international law (regime rules, principles and norms) and international organizations (regime decision-making procedures/processes), for example, in the nuclear nonproliferation regime or the international food regime.

Coincidental with the attention to regime theory in the 1980s was the revival of liberal theory and extensive work on theories of cooperation (e.g., Axelrod 1984; Keohane 1984; Oye 1986; Stein 1990). In what amounted to a new round of “great debates” about liberalism and neoliberalism versus realism and neorealism in IR generally, the IO field became a primary arena for debates over the conditions for cooperation and conflict, and the role of power and hegemony in creating and sustaining institutions and regimes. Where the field had long remained outside of central debates in IR, that was no longer the case (unless the debates were largely among realists and neorealists who persisted in seeing IOs as largely unimportant). The result has been the gradual incorporation of more explicit and extensive attention to the relationship between IOs and IR theory from the late 1980s to the present time.

The Cold War's end in 1990 combined with the emergence of globalization, the “third wave” of democratization, the increased attention to human rights, gender, and the environment, and the surge in ethnic conflicts, humanitarian crises, UN peacekeeping operations, and so on created a host of new issues for students and scholars of IOs alike, whatever their theoretical bent. For a short while, the UN rode a wave of optimism about its possibilities for dealing with many of these issues. Although that optimism quickly faded in the face of failures in Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda as well as the inability to get meaningful reform on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary in 1995, still it is hard to escape the fact that for dealing with many issues and problems in today's world, the UN is a central forum and, occasionally, a central actor. Correspondingly, courses on the UN and Model United Nations activities have enjoyed a substantial renaissance.

Fortuitously, shortly before the tumultuous events of 1989–90, a group of Canadian, American, and Mexican scholars met at Dartmouth College in 1987 to create a new organization – the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) – dedicated to revitalizing the study and teaching of international organization “with special attention on the programs and agencies of the United Nations system and other inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations that enhance the capacity of the international community to manage common problems on the global agenda” (Lyons 1988:1).

ACUNS conducted a survey of teaching about international organizations in the United States in 1988. The results showed that “courses now range over a broad spectrum of organizations, global and regional, inter-governmental and non-governmental, mandate specific and general purpose … there is now substantial coverage of a variety of issue areas.” The report also noted: “the most significant findings from the survey lie in the range of international organizations that are covered in courses and the problem or issue orientation which appears to characterize teaching” (Lyons 1988:4; italics in original). It also noted how IO had become integrated into the broader field of IR and into introductory courses where IOs were dealt with in the context of treatment of various issues. Among other results, the survey showed that the UN was most heavily treated except in professional (primarily law) schools; at all levels of instruction, it found large numbers devoting time to specialized agencies, the international financial institutions, and the European Community. It further showed that the majority of courses at all levels used a problem or issue approach; slightly under half in all levels used an institutional approach; a third of graduate courses used a regime approach compared with less than 25 percent of undergraduate courses and 13 percent of professional school courses (Lyons 1988:4–5).

Since its founding in 1987, ACUNS has had a huge impact on teaching and scholarship in the IO field through the combination of its annual conferences, the workshops for young scholars in international relations and international law initiated in 1991, its dissertation fellowships, and its journal, Global Governance. The latter has emerged as a primary outlet for IO scholarship and filled the vacuum left by International Organization's shift to more focus on IPE. Through the increasing international participation in the summer workshops and annual meetings, it has had a growing impact on both scholarship and teaching of IO outside its original North American base.

Several factors, then, have contributed to the dynamism that has marked the IO field since the early 1990s, including world events and the explicit stimulus from ACUNS’ activities. Echoing a comment from one respondent to the ACUNS survey, namely, “Virtually all of international politics now involves an organizational or organizing dimension, even though this phenomenon remains dimly perceived from certain quarters” (Lyons 1988:7), IO scholarship has burgeoned in many directions. Several lines of scholarship are of particular note for their impact on both the field itself and teaching: rationalist and critical theory; social constructivism with its attention to norms, identity formation, and socialization; regionalism and regional IGOs generally as well as work on the European Union (EU), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular; global governance and globalization; the “power” and dynamics of NGOs, transnational advocacy networks, and transgovernmental networks; legitimacy and authority; and IOs as agents, actors, and bureaucracies.

In his 1986 essay, Rochester noted that earlier reviews had suggested “the evolution of the international organization field has been marked not by one distinct era of scholarship giving way to a completely different era over successive decades but, rather, by certain research traditions being sustained from one decade to the next, gradually supplemented by and ultimately deemphasized in favor of newer approaches that have their day, leading to still newer lines of inquiry” (p. 783). The resulting additive process leaves those teaching IO with a series of dilemmas.

Approaches and Pedagogies: The Dilemmas of Choice

Because of the way in which the IO field has evolved, one faces a daunting set of dilemmas in trying to teach a one-semester graduate or undergraduate course on the subject (see Table 1). The first dilemma is whether to take a broad global governance-IO approach dealing with the creation, revision, and enforcement of rules that mark different governance arrangements, the roles of formal, informal, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental IOs, and the politics, dynamics, and processes of problem-solving and governance in various issue areas, a theory-driven approach, or an IOs approach focusing primarily on select formal IGOs and possibly NGOs, emphasizing structures, charters, mandates, and functions (the older institutional approach). Either choice could lead one to utilize recent literature on IGOs (and to a lesser extent NGOs) as organizations and bureaucracies, examining their design, functions, and performance or behavior. In some countries, IR and IO course content is driven by the policy concerns of the country itself (Tickner and Wæver 2009:331–2). Still another possibility is a historical approach to the evolution of international institutions and forms of organization, one variant of which would look at IOs.

Table 1 Dilemmas of choice


Common choice(s)

Other possibilities (select)

Potential overlap with other courses

How much and what theories? IO versus IOs?

Basic to moderate coverage of realism, liberalism, functionalism, regime theory, constructivism Some focus on broad IO pattern, including history, primary focus on IOs and select issue areas

Rational choice, critical theory, Marxism/dependency, feminist theory, principal-agent theory, organizational theory, decision-making, global governance Global governance orientation, systems of governance, patterns of power, politics, authority

IR Theory International Law

Which IGOs?

In-depth coverage of UN core organs, World Bank, IMF, EU, and some NGOs

UN specialized agencies, WTO, G7/8, G20, non-Europear regional organizations, transregional IOs (e.g., Commonwealth), range of NGOs, networks

IUN; Model UN; European Union; Regional Politics (Africa etc.); International Political Economy; Global Development

What about NGOs, networks etc.?

Basic to moderate

In-depth integration, including transnational advocacy networks, epistemic communities, social movements, civil society

Social Movements; Human Rights; Human Security; Global Development; Environmental Politics; Gender and Politics


Basic coverage of structures, charters, mandates, functions, moderate coverage of politics anc dynamics, activities in select issue areas

Processes of decision-making (law and norm creation), IOs as bureaucracies, governance in action as illustrated i by select cases, roles of states, non-state actors and IOs

Intro to IR; International Law

Which issue areas?

Primary focus on peace/security, including peacekeeping, arms control, economic development

Counterterrorism, conflict management, post-conflict peacebuilding, humanitarian intervention, counterpiracy, global financial system, trade, debt, human security, human rights, environment, population, food security, health

International Security; Human Rights; Human Security; Environmental Politics; Gender and Politics; Global Development

How Much IR Theory?

A fundamental dilemma concerns the extent to which various IR as well as IO-related theories such as theories of cooperation, regime and institution formation and evolution, functionalism, constructivism, and others are integrated into an IO course. To what extent are students introduced to currents of critical theory such as postmodernism, Marxism, feminism, and postcolonialism in relationship to IOs? For example, critical approaches often appear in courses that give significant attention to international economic institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank (see, for example, Bøås and McNeill 2003). Or, are students introduced to the rational choice, principal-agent (PA) model, which is largely interested in explaining patterns of deviant IO behavior, meaning goals assumed or actions taken by IGOs that are neither mandated nor desired by principal member-states (see, for example, Hawkins et al. 2006). It has become quite common for IO courses in the United States to incorporate recent constructivist work which utilizes sociological theory to explain patterns of IO power and pathology, particularly the work of Barnett and Finnemore (2004). These choices will be determined by the instructor's particular interests and his/her objectives for demonstrating the diversity of thinking regarding IOs.

If there is only one IO course in the curriculum and one is attempting to introduce students both to different theoretical approaches and to particular IOs as well as to select issues, the dilemma is evident in the content of most IO textbooks. Few, if any, attempt to cover all possible theories. Texts which opt for more theoretical depth necessarily forsake depth on organizations themselves, politics, processes, and issues. In 2003, Kent Kille analyzed seven IO textbooks then in print (in English) to discern their coverage of different organizations and issues as well as their coverage of 13 different theories. Kille's analysis revealed that none covered all 13. Only one came close, covering 10 theories with basic or moderate coverage of each. All covered functionalism; all but one covered realism and regime theory; four covered Marxism/dependency theory. Not included among Kille's 13 theories were rational choice theory, principal-agent theory, constructivism, and organizational sociology, which have been increasingly utilized in IO scholarship.

In their study of IR scholarship around the world, Tickner and Wæver (2009:334–6) found that realism and state-centrism continue to dominate along with a “lack of theoretical production.” They note that a key explanation for theory's low standing is “that it is not deemed especially helpful or relevant … given the ‘real world’ problems that many countries of the non-core are forced to address.”

There is a further consideration for the instructor: how much background on IR theories do the students bring to the course? If an introductory IR course with at least basic coverage of major theories is a prerequisite for an undergraduate IO course, then there is a foundation upon which the instructor can build if s/he wants to integrate a fair amount of theory with the treatment of IO(s). In a graduate course, much more familiarity with a range of theories can be assumed. Unless one is teaching a theory-oriented course, how to balance theory with empirics is a basic decision to be made along with decisions regarding which theoretical approaches to incorporate. Alternatively, one could pursue a purely historical or empirical approach that avoids theoretical entanglement altogether.

Which Organizations?

Almost irrespective of this choice, there is the question of which IGOs – global and/or regional – to include given the range of possibilities. Should the course focus primarily on the UN system? Should it include the EU? Many institutions in the United States and Europe now offer separate undergraduate and graduate courses on the EU and there are a variety of dedicated EU textbooks available. What about regional and subregional organizations other than the EU which tend to be less well covered by available texts? There is a burgeoning literature on ASEAN but comparatively little recent material on African, Latin American, and Middle East institutions and coverage in current texts varies widely. How much attention should be devoted to international economic and financial institutions (including the G7/8 and G20) and where may there be overlap with IPE courses? What about environmental and human rights institutions?

Then there is the further choice of how much attention is to be given to other types of IOs such as NGOs, social movements, networks, epistemic communities, civil society, and public-private hybrid organizations. In the UK, rather than being part of IO courses per se, NGOs are sometimes covered by sociologists interested in spaces for activism and resistance (Haack 2008).

Those who teach a combined course on international law and organizations face even tougher choices, although such a course can work quite well with a global governance approach and with an emphasis on international regimes.

Which Issues?

There are still further dilemmas of choice linked to the selection of specific issue areas and case studies. Kille's 2003 survey examined the seven texts' coverage of 10 organizational issues and 19 global problems. He found that four core issues were covered by all the texts: membership, representation, structure/administration, and voting. With regard to global problems, he noted the consensus on seven: security/peacekeeping, trade, human rights, disarmament/arms control, economic development, the environment, and self-determination. In most one-semester courses, it is still common to focus primarily on peace/security and economic development and to devote only a relatively short amount of time to human rights, the environment, gender equality or other issues. The tyranny of time limitations makes these dilemmas of choice particularly tough in a field that has evolved to include so many dimensions of governance and so many issues.

Even parsed out into issue areas, such as international economics, human rights, or the environment, one still faces difficult trade-offs between breadth and depth and the choices regarding which IGOs and NGOs to include. What proportion of a course's discussions and readings should be spent on the history, structure, and politics of the United Nations? How much time and effort should be allocated to tackling international financial institutions that may be covered in IPE courses, or international human rights IGOs and NGOs that may be covered in a human rights course?

In short, there are a number of substantive issues that may overlap with other course offerings in a particular department or program as illustrated in Table 1. This is often a highly relevant factor in one's decision-making regarding the omission or inclusion of certain IOs or issues. If, for example, one teaches in a department or program that offers standalone courses on the European Union, international political economy, or peacekeeping, one may decide to forego in-depth coverage of the EU, IMF, World Bank, and UN peacekeeping. An IO course positioned within a rich set of related course offerings allows the IO instructor much more room for selectivity. On the other hand, it may actually constrain choices. For example, even if the history and operations of the UN are covered in depth in a concurrent international law or international relations course, it is difficult to imagine an IO course that omits this subject. The task then is to differentiate the way we study the UN in different courses.

Choosing Textbooks and Other Readings

How the above dilemmas of choice are resolved will strongly influence choices with regard to textbooks, other readings, and various types of electronically available materials. As shown in Table 2, there were seven general IO textbooks in print (in English) in 2010; of these, two had not been updated since 2001/2002. Surprisingly, there are only four general readers in English for IO courses, all of which are compilations of articles from leading academic journals such as International Organization, American Political Science Review, World Politics, and Review of International Studies. There is a larger set of UN-specific texts, a growing number of EU-related textbooks, and several texts and readers on NGOs. In a review of UN textbooks, however, Jacques Fomerand (2002:395–6) was highly critical of the treatment of developing countries' role in the UN and the lack of attention to “developing countries' vision of multilateralism and on their understanding of the role of the UN.” Unquestionably, students tend to prefer texts in their own language, which means there may be severe limitations on the availability of texts in many parts of the world except where texts first published in English, for example, have been translated into one or more other languages or there are locally produced texts. For a sampling of regional IO texts in English and in print in 2010, see Table 3.

Table 2 A sampling of IO texts (in English and in print in 2010)

General IO texts

IO readers

IO and global governance theory

UN texts

International economic IGOs

NGO texts and readers

Archer (2001) International Organizations, 3rd edn

Diehl, ed. (2005) The Politics of Global Governance

Axelrod (1984) Evolution of Cooperation

Chesterman, ed. (2007) Secretary or General?

Babb (2009) Behind the Development Banks

Ahmed and Potter (2006) NGOs in International Politics

Barnett and Finnemore (2004) Rules for The World

Held and McGrew, eds. (2002) Governing Globalization

Barnett and Duvall, eds. (2005) Global Governance

Cronin and Hurd, eds. (2008) Council and the Politics of International Authority

Dobson (2007) Group of 7/8

Betsill and Corell, eds. (2008) NGO Diplomacy

Barkin (2006) International Organization

Kratochwil and Mansfield, eds. (2005) International Organization and Global Governance

Drezner (2007) All Politics is Global

Fasulo (2009) An Insider's Guide to the UN, 2nd edn

Hoekman and Mavroidis (2007) The World Trade Organization

DeMars (2005) NGOsand Transnational Networks

Bennett and Oliver (2002) International Organizations, 7th edn

Martin and Simmons, eds. (2001) International Institutions

Gruber (2000) Ruling the World

Gordenker (2010) The UN Secretary-General and Secretariat, 2nd edn

Marshall (2008) The World Bank

Heins (2008) Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society

Karns and Mingst (2010) International Organizations, 2nd edn

Wilkinson, ed. (2005) The Global Governance Reader

Hawkins et al. (2006) Delegation and Agency in International Organizations

Luck (2006) The UN Security Council

Strand (2010) Regional Development Banks

Josselin and Wallace, eds. (2001) Non-State Actors in World Politics

Pease (2009) International International Organizations, 4th edn

Murphy (1994) International Organization and Industrial Change

Mingst and Karns (2006) The United Nations in the 21stCentury, 3rd edn

Taylor and Smith (2007) Conference on Trade and Development

Keck and Sikkink (1998) Activists Beyond Borders

Rittberger and Zangl (2006) International Organization

Rittberger, ed. with P. Mayer (1993) Regime Theory and International Relations

Peterson (2005) The UN General Assembly

Vreeland (2006) The International Monetary Fund

O'Brien et al. (2000) Contesting Global Governance

Ruggie, ed. (1993) Multilateralism Matters

Smith (2006) Politics and Process at the United Nations

Weaver (2008) Hypocrisy Trap

Willetts (2010) Non-Governmental Organisations in World Politics

Weiss et al. (2007) The United Nations and, 5th edn Ziring, Riggs, and Plano (2005), 4th edn

Woods (2006) Globalizers

Table 3 A sampling of regional IO texts (in English and in print in 2010)

Comparative regionalism

African organizations

Asian organizations

European Union

Other European organizations

The Americas

Acharya and Johnston, eds. (2007) Cooperation

Francis (2006) Uniting Africa

Acharya (2001) Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia

Archer (2008) The European Union

Galbreath (2007) Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

TheHerz (2010) Organization of American States

Adler and Barnett, eds. (1998) Security Communities

Makinda and Okumu (2008) The African Union

Acharya and Go (2007) Reassessing Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific

Dinan (2005) Ever Closer Union, 3rd edn

Lindley-French (2007) Atlantic Treaty Organization

Mace, Bélanger et al. (1999) The Americas in Transition

Farrell, Hettne, and Van Langenhove, eds. (2005) of Regionalism

Akokpari et al. (2008) African Union and its Institutions

Beeson (2008) Institutions of the Asia-Pacific

Dinan, ed. (2006) Origins and Evolution of the EU

Shaw (2004) Cooperation, Conflict and Consensus in the Organization of American States

Fawcett and Hurrell, eds. (1995) Regionalism in World Politics

Pempel, ed. (2005) Remapping East Asia

Ginsberg (2007) Demystifying the European Union

Katzenstein (2005) A World of Regions Mattli (1999) The Logic of Regional Integration

McCormick (2007) European Union, 4th edn Nugent (2010) The Government and Politics, 7th edn

Söderbaum and Shaw, eds. (2003) Theories of New Regionalism

Peterson and Shackleton, eds. (2006) Institutions of the European Union, 2nd edn

Solingen (1998) Regional Orders at Century's Dawn Tavares (2009) Regional Security

Staub (2008) European Union Explained Wallace, Wallace, and Pollack, eds. (2005) Policy-Making in the European Union, 5th edn Warleigh, ed. (2002) Understanding European Union Institutions Watts (2008) European Union

Routledge's International Institutions series edited by Thomas Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson is producing a large number of short, accessible texts on a wide range of IOs. Beyond the major organs of the UN such as the Security Council, Secretary-General, and General Assembly, these include, for example, the Commonwealth, Asia-Pacific institutions, the International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, NATO, and the global South.

Beyond the choice of whether or not to use a core text in an IO course, there is a rich array of books, book chapters, journal articles, and other materials in English at least to consider depending on what particular organizations, issues, and topics are to be covered and the level of the course. The literature on NGOs, for example, has grown substantially since the late 1990s. The UN Intellectual History Project volumes published by Indiana University Press form a valuable tool in teaching about the UN's evolving role. The final volume, UN Ideas That Changed the World (Jolly, Emmerij, and Weiss 2009), draws upon the findings of the other 14 volumes and provides an assessment that would be particularly valuable in a graduate course. There are also several recent histories of international organizations, some of which analyze IO as forms of international order (see, e.g., Murphy 1994; Conrad and Sachsenmaier 2007; Reinalda 2009).

Thanks to the internet, all IGOs and most NGOs have websites that are valuable resources, though they vary in what they provide. The UN's website is particularly rich because it provides access to primary documents, resolutions, reports, webcasts, and other material. Instead of sending students to one of the UN Depository Libraries scattered around the United States (and other countries) in search of documents catalogued in the UN's somewhat byzantine classification system, these materials are available with a few clicks of the mouse. Other IGO and NGO websites vary in accessibility, but in general students and faculty alike have ready access today to a rich variety of primary and secondary sources for use in research and classes. Videos, YouTube, webcasts, podcasts, and other materials can bring IO activities to life.

In addition, there are various IO-produced reports such as the United Nations Development Programme's annual Human Development Report (HDR) and World Bank's annual World Development Report that can be valuable classroom tools. Salem and Freeman (2002), for example, have described using the HDR to help students think critically about inequality as a global issue and to raise questions about how this internationally generated report can drive national policy choices since the reports are intended to assist countries in considering how to make progress toward human development. Publications such as the Annual Review of Global Peace Operations and sites such as the Human Security Gateway, for example, can be valuable resources in IO courses dealing with peacekeeping, conflict, and human security.

Bringing IOs to Life in Simulations: One Experience is Worth a Thousand Words

Active learning has become widely accepted in education today, no less so in political science and international politics. Ironically, it originated with the Model League of Nations pioneered at Harvard in the 1920s and succeeded by Model United Nations in the early 1950s at both Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley as well as the National Model UN (NMUN). In the late 1950s and 1960s, other types of simulations were introduced into international relations and foreign policy courses and research.

Today, there is a veritable explosion of IO simulations. Of these, Model United Nations are the most numerous and have become truly global in scope. Although one finds faculty in many American colleges and universities incorporating simulations into UN, EU, IR, and general IO courses, there is a large number of multi-institutional, national, and international Model United Nations conferences today. Of these, the largest are the National Model United Nations held in New York and The Hague International Model United Nations in the Netherlands, both of which attract close to 5,000 delegates from around the world. Model UN conferences are most numerous in the United States and are organized at the university, high school, and middle school levels; but they are found throughout the world in small countries as well as large and supported by many different organizations including the World Federation of United Nations Associations and the UN itself through its CyberSchoolbus (

Some Model UN simulations cover a large array of UN bodies and sometimes non-UN bodies. Others, particularly in a classroom setting, simulate individual bodies such as the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), International Court of Justice (ICJ), Human Rights Council, or a specialized agency. Jeffrey Lantis (2000), for example, designed a “United Nations Security Council Restructuring Summit” for use in an introductory international studies course to help students learn why Security Council reform has proved so difficult and to gain experience in the process of global problem solving. Howard Tolley's Teaching Human Rights Online project includes a web-based opportunity for students to play the role of ICJ justices in the genocide-related case brought by Bosnia against the Former Yugoslavia in 1993 (Tolley 2000).

Today, however, simulations are not limited to Model UN. Since the late 1980s, there has been a growing number of simulations of the European Union and its institutions. Three are particularly prominent: the Transatlantic Consortium for European Union Simulations, which originated EU simulations among SUNY institutions in 1987, the Midwest EU simulation begun in 1993 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Consortium. As with the UN, instructors have also devised single or multi-session simulations of EU organs such as the European Council and Council of Ministers to help students understand intergovernmentalism or different voting rules (Van Dyke, DeClair, and Loedel 2000; Zeff 2003; Switky 2004). The Organization of American States (OAS) itself supports a Model OAS General Assembly held in Washington, DC. Howard University in Washington, DC has long sponsored first a Model Organization of African Unity (OAU), then the Model Arab League, and most recently, a Model African Union (AU). It has also partnered with Kent State University in organizing the National Model NATO Conference. In addition, there are Model APEC and ASEAN conferences.

Model UN and other Model IO simulations engage students in role playing within the context of a specific organ of the simulated organization. Participants are typically assigned roles as diplomats or delegates from a member country and expected to conduct preliminary research on that country and its policies as well as on the international issues on the pre-set agenda. Frequently, delegates are required to write position papers outlining their country's position on the issue(s). If the simulation is not part of a regular academic course, then preparation must also include background information on the organization and its decision-making processes, including parliamentary procedure. The simulations themselves typically stretch over several class sessions or three to five days at a designated site and involve public speaking, debate, deliberation, consultation with other delegates, drafting and negotiation of resolutions or reports. If held in proximity to UN or other IO headquarters or a national capital such as Washington, DC, the conference may include opportunities for delegates to meet with senior diplomats from “their” country as well as speakers from the organization itself.

There is a substantial scholarly literature on the use and benefits of simulations as tools for student learning. Simulations bring an international organization to life for students by recreating the “complex, dynamic political processes” that characterize most IOs and international politics generally. They give students opportunities “to examine motivations, behavioral constraints, resources, and interactions among institutional actors” and provide insights into political processes. The “hands-on” character of simulations tends to make students “more attentive and more active in the learning process” because they have a stake in the outcome of the simulation (Smith and Boyer 1996:690). As Pamela Chasek has noted (2005:1), “In the International Organizations classroom, students learn a lot about the nuts and bolts of international organizations in theory but do not always have the opportunity to understand how international organizations work in practice. Understanding negotiations, diplomacy and interstate relations is essential in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of international organizations.” Therefore, simulations – whether in or out of the classroom – can be effective ways of helping students learn about the challenges of global governance through their exposure to the power dynamics between member-states and the constraints of IOs.

Although lecture time is lost when simulations are incorporated into classes, students clearly learn a great deal from a well-designed simulation. Experience accumulated over many years now shows that students are more actively engaged with course material and simulations help them to connect that material to their experience in the simulation – to connect theory and practice. There is also evidence that the learning is deeper as a result of students having to conduct negotiations, speak publicly, defend their countries' positions, and search for solutions to problems. Indeed, the reasons for learning about the complexities of institutions, decision-making processes, and issues become clearer. As Eleanor Zeff (2003:273) puts it, “Students appreciate that role-playing helps actualize complex theoretical issues.” Responding to the question of whether the work required to organize simulations is worth it, Daniel McIntosh (2001:275) says, “There is an energy in a class simulation that can't be matched in even the best lectures. Lectures and discussion are also improved when students and professors link their experiences to the concepts and data of international relations. For all the importance of reading and hearing about IR, nothing matches the experience of doing it.” In addition, research has shown the enhanced retention of subject matter following simulation.

The scholarly literature on simulations has identified four important elements for promoting maximum active learning, underscoring the importance of good design. These include clearly identified educational objectives that tie the simulation closely to course content on a particular IO, decision-making processes in that organization, relevant theory(s), patterns of negotiation, or the politics of certain issues. Second, the parameters of the simulation must be clearly established in background information and assignments of students to specific roles. Third, it is crucial to specify procedures, rules, and protocol ahead of time and provide appropriate training on procedural rules and resolution drafting. An EU simulation, for example, could aim to help students understand how voting works in the EU and why qualified majority voting is used in the Council of Ministers but not the Parliament and on some issues but not on others. “For a topic like this,” Switky (2004:40) notes, “a standard lecture is not always the best technique … it takes time to understand how voting works in the EU, and student attention spans may not survive a full lecture on the subject.” Fourth, debriefing and assessment are crucial to ensure maximum learning. Kirsten Haack (2008:398) notes that all too often this does not happen and the focus of Model UN is on “experiential, not theoretical learning,” with “weak integration into the broader curriculum of UN studies” since in the United States and around the world, Model UN participation is often extra- or co-curricular. Unless there is some type of debriefing, then, student learning will not be captured.

Active learning methods and especially simulations, however fun and valuable they may be for students, take considerable work for those who organize and run them whether in an individual classroom or on a larger multi-institutional scale. They also demand greater commitment and teamwork from students than regular lectures and discussions require. They do not resolve the dilemmas of choice for those teaching an IO course. If anything, they sharpen them because of the classroom time that must be devoted to preparation and running a simulation as well as the choices that must be made about which organization to simulate, which issue(s) to focus on, and how best to tie the simulation clearly to course objectives and content. Furthermore, as Kirsten Haack (2008:408) notes, “A lack of alignment in the use of Model UN or other active learning activities would render these as little less than an interesting diversion from the classroom rather than a deliberate learning tool that may support deep learning.”

Two final points are worth noting regarding the value of simulations for teaching international organization. The first is that in the handful of truly international conferences, students gain valuable perspectives on the challenges of dealing with different national and cultural attitudes. The second is that almost any simulation – in or outside the classroom – affords students opportunities for developing skills that will serve them well throughout their lives: skills in public speaking and presentation, debate, negotiation, and working under pressure. And, since many international relations courses aim to increase student interest in and awareness of the world around them, often with the implicit goal of creating a more informed citizenry, Pamela Chasek (2005:3) adds: “Studies have found that students who focus on current events in the classroom tend to be more interested in current events and engage in more news-seeking behavior outside of school.”

Case Teaching

A second, increasingly common active learning approach is that of case teaching. Although long used in business and law schools as well as by the Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, case teaching received a major boost from the Pew Faculty Fellowships awarded to over 100 faculty in international relations in the early 1990s to support their participation in summer workshops and the writing of new cases. The Pew Cases are accessed through Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and new cases are added regularly (http://ecase, Similarly, the Kennedy School at Harvard publishes a large number of case studies, although very few are IO-related (http://www,

Like simulations, case teaching is both time intensive and a powerful teaching tool. Its effectiveness is documented by anecdotal evidence from students and faculty as well as by empirical data collected in classroom research and research on learning theory (for references, see Golich 2000:11–12). As Golich (2000:12) notes, “Cases are stories … [they] come in all shapes and sizes: they can be formal written cases, a lead newspaper article, a movie clip, a radio/TV news story, a picture, a piece of art.” They provide details about decision-making that can be used to engage students in analyzing specific situations, making connections with theories, and/or identifying competing perspectives in the situation. In retrospective cases, students may not only examine the reasons for what did happen but also consider why other choices were not selected. With decision-forcing cases that do not reveal the outcome, students must analyze the problem, identify and assess various options, then make a decision. Thus, the pedagogical value of case teaching is that “students are learning not just the content of a bounded and discrete subject matter but ways to be lifelong learners and critical thinkers across a spectrum of subjects, most of which are yet to be encountered” (Cusimano 2000:91).

As with simulations, case teaching imposes requirements on both teachers and students. Because the learning approach is active, however, case learning results in outcomes other than just learning content including “how to learn,” communication and critical thinking skills, and the importance of listening to and respecting others' opinions as participants work together to solve problems (Golich 2000:13). As one participant in the Pew Fellowship reported, “I cannot think of a better teaching vehicle for enhancing problem solving and policymaking [skills] … and in general for preparing our students as global citizens about to enter the 21st century” (quoted in Boehrer 1994:1). Similarly, Boehrer cites student reactions such as the following: “Case discussions bring the pages alive … It makes you think about what you read more because you have to take into account how other people see it, and then you have to rethink your ideas … we get to look at recent events and to see how they play out and how things can happen, and they don't always work out according to theory.”

Much as with simulations, then, case teaching requires careful attention to clarifying educational objectives and matching case selection to those objectives. It also requires attention to the design parameters such as time and amount of background information required, appropriate technologies, and other resource issues as well as making sure that students understand what is expected of them. A key task is mapping the set of questions the teacher uses to guide discussion and help students work through the case individually and collectively. Like an orchestra conductor, s/he seeks to elicit individual and collective observations and analyses from the students based on the learning outcomes that motivated the choice of case(s). (See Lamy 2000:30–1 on structuring the varieties of questions to be asked.) As John Boehrer, the “guru” of the Pew Fellowship program puts it (1994:2), “Cases ground the abstract questions in specific events, which take meaning from the abstract questions – a synergy that enhances the power of case discussion as a learning process.” Finally, assessment and debriefing are key elements since experiential learning often occurs after not during an exercise and through discussion and reflection.

At the present time, the universe of IO-related formal, written cases is more limited than that of negotiations/diplomacy and foreign policy decision-making. Still, the potential is considerable, particularly when one considers the number of IOs – both IGOs and NGOs – as well as the huge array of issues and problems dealt with in and through IOs. Examples of cases include Michael Barnett's study of the UN Secretariat's failings in the face of the Rwandan genocide (Barnett 2002) and Pew cases such as Eric Leonard's “Establishing an International Criminal Court: The Emergence of a New Global Authority” and Curtis H. Martin's “Going to the United Nations: George W. Bush and Iraq.” And, as noted above, teaching cases can take many forms and be drawn from different types of materials. In that way, teachers can seize a “teachable moment” with a current news story or topic, for example, or use a set of tightly focused essays to engage students in debate.

Although most IO courses tend to be upper-level and graduate courses, IOs in general and certainly the UN are commonly introduced in introductory international relations courses. Steven Lamy, among others, has demonstrated that case teaching is not reserved for smaller, upper-level courses but can be successfully used in large introductory international relations courses to “provide a meeting place for competing theories about what is real in the world and contending images and explanations of the behavior of state and nonstate actors.” Since teaching cases, he notes, “leave[s] analysis and evaluation to the students, almost every case discussion will encourage students to think independently, develop intellectual confidence, and become more accepting of the need to find competing explanations of controversial events” (Lamy 2000:22).

Traditionally, the subject of international organizations has been viewed as having less drama than other subfields in international relations; there are more “nuts and bolts” to master and scores of meetings, resolutions, and reports that seem to matter little. Yet, multilateralism, in and through IOs as well as less formal groups, has become the dominant feature of diplomacy and international interactions and the primary means of global problem solving over the last 50 years. Although realists and neorealists may still scoff at the notion of the “power” of international institutions, the reality is that they matter a great deal. The challenge, then, is conveying that to students, perhaps through a role-playing exercise or debate or case study! Active learning approaches have clearly proven their value in this regard – witness the excitement of thousands of students who participate in Model UN and other Model IOs each year. As one veteran international relations scholar/teacher who discovered case teaching and active learning relatively late in his career has noted, however, “The first prerequisite for effective teaching is a passion for the subject matter. Unless one can convey to students a genuine belief that the subject is important and interesting, it will be very hard to persuade them to put a maximum effort into their studies. If you do not really care very much, why should your students?” (Holsti 2000:258). The key, then, to making active learning exciting and linking it closely to course material is the instructor's own passion and willingness to devote the time and energy needed for incorporating such approaches. The payoffs in satisfaction for both teachers and students are clearly documented, however, making the investment a most worthwhile one.


The daunting task of teaching IO is not for the faint-hearted. Yet, whereas in the past international relations and political science departments offered one or perhaps two undergraduate or graduate IO courses, if any (a reality that still holds true in much of the world), today there may also be a number of courses that teach about IOs in some way. The proliferation of IOs themselves, of issues and problems involving IGOs and NGOs, and of the overall process of IO has led to the proliferation of specialized courses on topics such as peacekeeping, post-conflict peacebuilding, terrorism, humanitarian intervention, human rights, international political economy, international development, environmental politics, global governance, transnationalism, the European Union, and so on. Likewise, where historically the teaching of IO was largely descriptive and atheoretical, now there is a rich literature of theoretical material to utilize in teaching either IO or IOs. Where 30 years ago the IO field was languishing, today it is where some of the most exciting work and opportunities for teaching lie. This does not resolve the dilemmas of choice but offers the opportunity for creativity in making choices of what to cover and what approaches and pedagogies to use. With the burgeoning resources available through the internet, the subject matter of IOs is far more accessible today than ever before, making for a rich store of possibilities from which teachers can choose and which students can explore.


Acharya, A. (2001) Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Acharya, A., and Go, E. (eds.) (2007) Reassessing Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific: Competition, Congruence, and Transformation. Cambridge: MIT Press.Find this resource:

Acharya, A., and Johnston, A.I. (eds.) (2007) Crafting Cooperation: Regional International Institutions in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Adler, E., and Barnett, M. (eds.) (1998) Security Communities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Ahmed, S., and Potter, D.M. (2006) NGOs in International Politics. Bloomfield: Kumarian.Find this resource:

Akokpari, J. et al. (2008) The African Union and its Institutions. Johannesburg: Fanele.Find this resource:

Archer, C. (2001) International Organizations, 3rd edn. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Archer, C. (2008) The European Union. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Axelrod, R. (1984) The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books.Find this resource:

Babb, S. (2009) Behind the Development Banks: Washington Politics, World Poverty, and the Wealth of Nations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Find this resource:

Barkin, J.S. (2006) International Organization: Theories and Institutions. New York: Palgrave.Find this resource:

Barnett, M. (2002) Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Barnett, M., and Duvall, R. (eds.) (2005) Power in Global Governance. New York: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Barnett, M., and Finnemore, M. (2004) Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Beeson, M. (2008) Institutions of the Asia-Pacific. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Bennett, A.L., and Oliver, J.K. (2002) International Organizations: Principles and Issues, 7th edn. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Find this resource:

Betsill, M.M., and Corell, E. (eds.) (2008) NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations. Cambridge: MIT Press.Find this resource:

Bøås, M., and McNeill, D. (2003) Multilateral Institutions: A Critical Introduction. London: Pluto.Find this resource:

Boehrer, J. (1994) Teaching International Affairs with Case Studies. At, accessed November 2009.Find this resource:

Chasek, P.S. (2005) Power Politics, Diplomacy and Role Playing: Simulating the UN Security Council's Response to Terrorism. International Studies Perspectives (6) (1), 1–19.Find this resource:

Chesterman, S. (ed.) (2007) Secretary or General? The UN Secretary-General in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Claude, I.L., Jr. ([1956] 1964) Swords into Plowshares: The Problems and Progress of International Organization, 3rd edn. New York: Random House.Find this resource:

Conrad, S., and Sachsenmaier, D. (2007) Competing Visions of World Order: Global Moments and Movements, 1880s–1930s. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

Cronin, B., and Hurd, I. (eds.) (2008) The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Cusimano, M. (2000) Case Teaching Without Cases. In J.S. Lantis, L.M. Kuzma, and J. Boehrer (eds.) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 77–92.Find this resource:

DeMars, W. (2005) NGOs and Transnational Networks: Wild Cards in World Politics. London: Pluto.Find this resource:

Diehl, P.F. (ed.) (2005) The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Dinan, D. (2005) Ever Closer Union, 3rd edn. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Dinan, D. (ed.) (2006) Origins and Evolution of the EU. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Dobson, H. (2007) The Group of 7/8. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Drezner, D. (2007) All Politics is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Farrell, M., Hettne, B., and Van Langenhove, L. (eds.) (2005) Global Politics of Regionalism: Theory and Practice. London: Pluto.Find this resource:

Fasulo, L. (2009) An Insider's Guide to the UN, 2nd edn. New Haven: Yale University Press.Find this resource:

Fawcett, L., and Hurrell, A. (eds.) (1995) Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order. New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Fomerand, J. (2002) Recent UN Textbooks: Suggestions from an Old-Fashioned Practitioner. Global Governance (8) (3), 383–403.Find this resource:

Francis, D.J. (2006) Uniting Africa: Building Regional Peace and Security Systems. Aldershot: Ashgate.Find this resource:

Galbreath, D.J. (2007) The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Ginsberg, R.H. (2007) Demystifying the European Union: The Enduring Logic of Regional Integration. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Find this resource:

Golich, V.L. (2000) The ABCs of Case Teaching. International Studies Perspectives (1) (1), 11–29.Find this resource:

Goodrich, L.M., Hambro, E., and Simons, A.P. (1968) Charter of the United Nations: Commentary and Documents, 3rd and rev. edn. New York: Columbia University Press.Find this resource:

Gordenker, L. (1967) The UN Secretary-General and the Maintenance of Peace. New York: Columbia University Press.Find this resource:

Gordenker, L. (2010) The UN Secretary-General and Secretariat, 2nd edn. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Gruber, L. (2000) Ruling the World: Power Politics and the Rise of Supranational Institutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Haack, K. (2008) UN Studies and the Curriculum as Active Learning Tool. International Studies Perspectives (9) (4), 395–410.Find this resource:

Hawkins, D.G., Lake, D.A., Nielson, D.L., and Tierney, M.J. (eds.) (2006) Delegation and Agency in International Organizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Heins, V. (2008) Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society: Struggles over Recognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

Held, D., and McGrew, A. (eds.) (2002) Governing Globalization: Power, Authority, and Global Governance. Cambridge: Polity.Find this resource:

Herz, M. (2010) The Organization of American States. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Hoekman, B.M., and Mavroidis, P.C. (2007) The World Trade Organization: Law, Economics, and Politics. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Holsti, O.R. (2000) Reflections on Teaching and Active Learning. In J.S. Lantis, L.M. Kuzma, and J. Boehrer (eds.) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 257–69.Find this resource:

Jacobson, H.K. (1979) Networks of Interdependence: International Organizations and the Global Political System. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Find this resource:

Jolly, R., Emmerij, L., and Weiss, T.G. (2009) UN Ideas That Changed the World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Find this resource:

Josselin, D., and Wallace, W. (eds.) (2001) Non-State Actors in World Politics. London: Palgrave.Find this resource:

Karns, M.P., and Mingst, K.A. (2010) International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance, 2nd edn. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Katzenstein, P.J. (2005) A World of Regions: Asia and Europe in the American Imperium. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Keck, M.E., and Sikkink, K. (1998) Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Keohane, R.O. (1984) After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Kille, K.J. (2002) Simulating the Creation of a New International Human Rights Treaty: Active Learning in the International Studies Classroom. International Studies Perspectives (3) (3), 271–90.Find this resource:

Kille, K.J. (2003) International Organization: What Do We Know and How Do We Pass on Our Knowledge? International Studies Perspectives (5) (3), 426–32.Find this resource:

Kratochwil, F.V., and Mansfield, E.D. (eds.) (2005) International Organization and Global Governance: A Reader. New York: Pearson Longman.Find this resource:

Kratochwil, F.V., and Ruggie, J.G. (1986) International Organization: A State of the Art on an Art of the State. International Organization (40) (4), 753–76.Find this resource:

Lamy, S. (2000) Teaching Introductory International Relations with Cases and Analytical Exercises. In J.S. Lantis, L.M. Kuzma, and J. Boehrer (eds.) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 21–35.Find this resource:

Lantis, J.S. (2000) The United Nations Security Council Restructuring Summit. In J.S. Lantis, L.M. Kuzma, and J. Boehrer (eds.) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 129–40.Find this resource:

Lantis, J.S., Kuzma, L.M., and Boehrer, J. (eds.) (2000) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Lindley-French, J. (2007) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Luck, E.C. (2006) The UN Security Council. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Lyons, G.M. (1988) Teaching about International Organizations. Academic Council on the United Nations System Report No. 3.Find this resource:

Mace, G., Bélanger, L. et al. (1999) The Americas in Transition: The Contours of Regionalism. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Makinda, S.M., and Okumu, F.W. (2008) The African Union: Challenges of Globalization, Security, and Governance. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Marshall, K. (2008) The World Bank: From Reconstruction to Development to Equity. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Martin, L.L., and Simmons, B.A. (eds.) (2001) International Institutions: An International Organization Reader, 3rd edn. Cambridge: MIT Press.Find this resource:

Mattli, W. (1999) The Logic of Regional Integration: Europe and Beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

McCormick, J. (2007) The European Union: Politics and Policies, 4th edn. Boulder: Westview Press.Find this resource:

McIntosh, D. (2001) The Uses and Limits of the Model United Nations in an International Relations Classroom. International Studies Perspectives (2) (3), 269–80.Find this resource:

Mingst, K.A., and Karns, M.P. (2006) The United Nations in the 21st Century, 3rd edn. Boulder: Westview Press.Find this resource:

Murphy, C. (1994) International Organization and Industrial Change. New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Nugent, N. (2010) The Government and Politics of the European Union, 7th edn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

O'Brien, R., Goetz, A.M., Scholte, J.A., and Williams, M. (2000) Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements. New York: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Oye, K.A. (ed.) (1986) Cooperation under Anarchy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Pease, K.S. (2009) International Organizations: Perspectives on Global Governance, 4th edn. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Find this resource:

Pempel, T.J. (ed.) (2005) Remapping East Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Peterson, J., and Shackleton, M. (eds.) (2006) The Institutions of the European Union, 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Peterson, M.J. (2005) The UN General Assembly. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Reinalda, B. (2009) Routledge History of International Organizations: From 1815 to the Present Day. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Rittberger, V. (ed.), with Mayer, P. (1993) Regime Theory and International Relations. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Find this resource:

Rittberger, V., and Zangl, B. (2006) International Organization: Polity, Politics and Policies. New York: Palgrave.Find this resource:

Rochester, J.M. (1986) The Rise and Fall of International Organization as a Field of Study. International Organization (40) (4), 777–813.Find this resource:

Ruggie, J.G. (ed.) (1993) Multilateralism Matters: The Theory and Praxis of an Institutional Form. New York: Columbia University Press.Find this resource:

Russell, R.B., with Muther, J.E. (1958) A History of the United Nations Charter: The Role of the United States 1940–1945. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Find this resource:

Salem, G., and Freeman, C. (2002) Teaching the New Inequalities: Using the Human Development Report as Class Text. International Studies Perspectives (3) (1), 42–52.Find this resource:

Shaw, C.M. (2004) Cooperation, Conflict, and Consensus in the Organization of American States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

Smith, C.B. (2006) Politics and Process at the United Nations: The Global Dance. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Find this resource:

Smith, E.T., and Boyer, M. (1996) Designing In-Class Simulations. PS: Political Science and Politics (29) (4), 690–4.Find this resource:

Söderbaum, F., and Shaw, T. (eds.) (2003) Theories of New Regionalism. New York: Palgrave.Find this resource:

Solingen, E. (1998) Regional Orders at Century's Dawn: Global and Domestic Influences on Grand Strategy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Staub, A. (2008) The European Union Explained. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Find this resource:

Stein, A.A. (1990) Why Nations Cooperate: Circumstance and Choice in International Relations. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Strand, J. (2010) Regional Development Banks: Lending with a Regional Flavor. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Strange, S. (1982) “Cave! Hic Dragones”: A Critique of Regime Analysis. International Organization (36) (2), 479–96.Find this resource:

Switky, B. (2004) The Importance of Voting in International Organizations: Simulating the Case of the European Union. International Studies Perspectives (5) (1), 40–9.Find this resource:

Tavares, R. (2009) Regional Security: The Capacity of International Organizations. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Taylor, I., and Smith, K. (2007) The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Tickner, A., and Wæver, O. (eds.) (2009) International Relations Scholarship Around the World. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Tolley, H., Jr. (2000) Teaching Human Rights Online: The International Court of Justice Considers Genocide. In J.S. Lantis, L.M. Kuzma, and J. Boehrer (eds.) The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 219–38.Find this resource:

Van Dyke, G.J., DeClair, E.G., and Loedel, P.H. (2000) Stimulating Simulations: Making the European Union a Classroom Reality. International Studies Perspectives (1) (2), 145–59.Find this resource:

Vreeland, J.R. (2006) The International Monetary Fund: Politics of Conditional Lending. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Wallace, W., Wallace, H., and Pollack, M. (eds.) (2005) Policy-Making in the European Union, 5th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Warleigh, A. (ed.) (2002) Understanding European Union Institutions. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Watts, D. (2008) The European Union. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Find this resource:

Weaver, C.E. (2008) Hypocrisy Trap: The World Bank and the Poverty of Reform. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Find this resource:

Weiss, T.G., Forsythe, D.P., Coate, R.A., and Pease, K.S. (2007) The United Nations and Changing World Politics, 5th edn. Boulder: Westview Press.Find this resource:

Wilkinson, R. (ed.) (2005) The Global Governance Reader. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Willetts, P. (2010) Non-Governmental Organisations in World Politics. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Woods, N. (2006) The Globalizers: The IMF, the World Bank, and Their Borrowers. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Find this resource:

Zeff, E.E. (2003) Negotiating in the European Council: A Model European Union Format for Individual Classes. International Studies Perspectives (4) (3), 265–74.Find this resource:

Ziring, L., Riggs, R.E., and Plano, J. (2004) The United Nations: International Organization and World Politics, 4th edn. New York: Cengage Learning.Find this resource:

The primary internet resources for international organization teaching are the websites of IGOs and NGOs themselves.

Annual Review of Global Peace Operations. At The Center on International Cooperation at New York University, in cooperation with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the African Union's Peace and Security Department, publishes this invaluable compendium of data and analysis on both UN and non-UN peace operations.

Can the United Nations be Taught? Colloquium on Innovative Approaches to Teaching the UN System (November 22, 2008). At Sponsored by the Academic Council on the United Nations System and the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office, these proceedings contain over 40 contributions by teachers and students from around the world on active learning techniques, simulations, computer-based learning, and lessons learned both from university programs and from peacekeeping and police operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone.

Global Environment Outlook (GEO). At Since 1997, the United Nations Environment Program has published this series of reports analyzing global environmental changes, causes, impact, and policy responses to support early warning, build capacity at the global and subglobal levels, and increase awareness. UNEP also publishes the GEO Yearbook, which can be accessed through the same website.

Global Governance Monitor. At The Council on Foreign Relations International Institutions and Global Governance program's monitor is an online guide that tracks, maps, and evaluates efforts to address today's global challenges including nuclear nonproliferation, global finance, ocean governance, and climate change.

Human Development Reports. At The United Nations Development Programme has published these reports annually since 1990 with each issue focusing on a different theme. The reports include a compendium of social, political, and economic data, charts, and tables relating to various human development indicators, the Human Development Index (HDI), Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM).

Human Security Report Project. At The Human Security Gateway. At The Human Security Report Project based at Simon Fraser University in Canada conducts research on trends in political violence, producing excellent reports and data, including the miniAtlas of Human Security with a wealth of information on conflicts since 1946. The Gateway provides access to electronic and bibliographic resources on human security.

Security Council Report. At This is a privately supported site that provides monthly reports and forecasts on the activities of the UN Security Council as well as research studies and general information relating to the Council's work, including the Thematic Issues on the Council's agenda.

United Nations. At The UN's website is a goldmine of resources on the organization, including documents, resolutions, webcasts, and much more. The web locator for the entire UN system of organizations, including the specialized agencies, is found at See also the UN's online resources for Model UN:

The United Nations Association of the United States (UNA/USA) maintains a major online resource for Model United Nations at The site contains a Model UN Calendar Database listing conferences around the world, various Model UN resources, and access to the Global Classroom Facebook page and Model UN Discussion Boards.

World Development Reports. At Published annually by the World Bank, these reports are a valuable source of development-related data and analysis related to the annual theme, such as poverty, climate change, agriculture, or conflict and development.

The World's Women. At Since 1990, the UN's Statistical Division has published four reports providing sex-disaggregated statistics in such areas as demographics, health, education, work, violence against women, poverty, human rights and decision-making. The 2005 report assesses progress made in the provision of national statistics and provides recommendations for improving national data collection and mainstreaming of gender concerns.

Yearbook of International Organizations. At Since 1910, the Union of International Associations in Brussels has published this Yearbook, which is recognized as the primary source of information on both international intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, including some 60,000 civil society groups.


This essay has benefited from comments and suggestions made by Catherine Weaver, Karen Mingst, Melissa Labonte, Kendall Stiles, two anonymous reviewers, and participants in the Roundtable on Teaching International Organization at the June 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System, including Christer Jønsson, Kirsten Haack, Shin-wha Lee, Gerhard Hafner, Eszter Lukács, and Zuzana Lehmannova. I also appreciate the willingness of Michael Barnett, Martha Finnemore, Natalie Hudson, Kent Kille, Karen Mingst, Mark Pollack, and J. Martin Rochester to make their IO course syllabi available to me.