The United Nations and
International Diplomacy

Course Number: 470.752.81


The Johns Hopkins University

1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036


Graded Components

Course Grading

Class Schedule (including semester-specific information)

Class Syllabus (independent of semester)

Reading Materials


Distance Learning

This course will be offered via distance learning technology. Beyond the general requirements below, distance learning imposes additional requirements on students and teacher. A high degree of interaction is a must. This is not a self-paced course.


Course Description

The United Nations was established principally as a collective security arrangement after two devastating world wars. The League of Nations, lacking participation of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., failed to prevent WWII. The organization dissolved, but the idea did not. The immediate motivations included the two world wars, the Great Depression that contributed to WWII, and the crimes against humanity committed in Europe and Asia. The UN was established by the victorious powers and has evolved during the Cold War, the decolonization era, and the post- Cold War era. The course pays particular attention to the original formulation of the UN system, its evolution, its current state, and its trajectory for the 21st century.


Course Requirements

Students are required to undertake considerable reading each week and are expected to attend online and participate in class discussions. The principal output of the class is a paper that addresses a specific issue related to the United Nations. The primary inputs include a textbook and selected articles from scholarly journals. Each student is expected to contribute to class discussion.


Course Objectives

Students are expected to leave the course with an understanding of the principal organs of the UN, the subsidiary and specialized agencies, the evolution of the UN system, and why the system is what it is. Students are expected to leave the course with the ability to enter into an informed debate on international security and the role of intergovernmental organizations. A second category of objective is to ensure that students can use the University's electronic research resources and are familiar with the journals and web resources relevant to the UN.


Attendance Requirements

Attendance is taken week-by-week. To be in attendance during a week, you must meet two requirements: (1) you must post at least one message to any of the class discussions on four different days during each week, and (2) if you miss any two weeks of attendance, you will be withdrawn and will not be eligible to earn a grade. Any message you post in discussions will count towards the attendance requirement regardless of its quality. Attendance is not a graded activity. Weeks end at midnight Tuesday EST and the new week begins Wednesday morning. EST is chosen because most students are in the DC area. Some students, however, are posted around the world, and the instructor is CST.


Course Contact Information

Professor:       D. Robert Worley, Ph.D.

Reception:      202-452-1280.

Web Pages:     JHU web-based system (Sakai). Independent backup system.

Office Hours:  Email is the most reliable way to contact me. If you need voice contact, please make an appointment via email for a telephone call. I can generally arrange to be at home from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM EST during the week and on weekends.


The strength of the university depends on academic and personal integrity. In this course, you must be honest and truthful. Ethical violations include cheating on exams, plagiarism, reuse of assignments, improper use of the Internet and electronic devices, unauthorized collaboration, alteration of graded assignments, forgery and falsification, lying, facilitating academic dishonesty, and unfair competition. Report any violations you witness to the instructor.


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