ONLINE COURSE: Global Governance: Power, Structure and Agency

Global institutions, politics, and ideas – no matter what, the countries of this world are connected. To analyze global governance, one must take into account networks, diluted power, fragmented organizational structures, and renewed competition between great powers. What role does Germany play? Who are the indispensable nations? What kind of cooperation is needed to save the planet? Whose global order is it?

Course periodJan. 6, 2021 - Jan. 26, 2021
Category Social Sciences, Politics & History
Course levelsBachelor
Class size

up to 15 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline Nov. 15, 2020, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee650.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


This course will give an overview of how global governance works in a world of networks, diluted power, fragmented organizational structures, renewed great power competition, and exceeded planetary boundaries. The focus will be on the actors, institutions and ideas of world politics today – from the UN family and Agenda 2030 to Great Powers to thematic alliances such as the OECD.

Some hope Germany will take on the mantle of “leader of the free world”. While it is true that Germany has entered a phase of “new responsibility” in its foreign policy, and remains strongly committed to the liberal order and global sustainability, it is becoming more and more difficult for such powers to project its influence into the global order. The course will take this German perspective as a starting point to try to understand the state of global governance more broadly.

Who are the indispensable nations? Who are the spoilers? What kind of cooperation is needed to save the planet? Whose Global Order is it? How to save the world?

We will look at multilateralist and unilateralist behavior of states, and also at recent efforts to bring more sustainability to global governance. We will also identify non-Western visions of global governance. Finally, the course will revolve around the question of how to make the global liberal institutionalist order (and ultimately, our planet) more resilient in the face of new authoritarian challenges – after all, this is what Germany and other countries like it are striving to do.


Online Course Program (pdf)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.


The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (30%)
  • group exercises (30%)
  • assignments and self-study (40%)


Weekly schedule of virtual class room lessons:

  • Course days: Monday and Wednesday
  • 10.00 am – 12.00 pm (Berlin time, UTC+1)
    5.00 pm – 7.00 pm (Beijing time, UTC+8)
    8.00 pm – 10.00 pm (Sydney time, UTC+11)
    3.00 am – 5.00 am (Chicago time, UTC-6)
Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Undergraduate students of all subjects with an interest in German social sciences, politics, economy, and history.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

The minimum age requirement is 18 years.

Mr. Christian E. Rieck

Christian E. Rieck is Reader in Contemporary History and International Relations at the University of Potsdam and Senior Analyst for Regional Powers and Regional Integration at the Global Governance Institute in Brussels. He also teaches at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid.

Previous posts in applied research include the foreign policy think tank at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the European Foresight Program at the technology think tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, the Latin American Institute of the German Institute for Global and Area Studies GIGA, as well as a Carlo Schmid Fellowship in the area of competition policy at the United Nations in Mexico City.

Christian also teaches international relations, global governance and foreign and development policy at renowned universities in Brussels, Strasbourg and Potsdam – and is a tutor at the Academy for International Cooperation at GIZ in Bonn. He was a member of the Think Tank 20 process of the G20.

The area studies specialist holds a postgraduate degree in Latin American Studies by the University of Oxford. Before that he studied law and economics in Bayreuth and Seville, then European and international public law at HU Berlin as well as at the European University Institute in Florence. His prize-winning work on European integration was awarded, among others, the Prize on the Future of Europe from the German Council on Foreign Relations.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin

This course can be combined with: