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International Relations

Tekst Elective International Relations voor Kies-op-Maat – 2020/2021                                                               


This programme aims to provide students with a solid background for doing business internationally and/or working in international organisations.

The first block of this elective centres on the European Union: how are decisions being made and how can stakeholders, such as countries, businesses and international organisations influence the decision making process? In small groups students will prepare themselves to represent a member state during a mock European Summit at the end of the block. Classes in Negotiation Skills, Professional English, European Public Affairs and European Policy Law will support this preparation.

During block 2 students will explore the relationship between geo-political shifts and power instruments in International Relations, in the political as well as in the financial/economic domain. We will address the current situation in international diplomacy and the solutions it could or should provide in this rapidly changing environment. Cross-cultural communication will be boosted by participating in an online case study project together with our American partner, Widener University (Philadelphia). This block culminates in a Global Summit on a topical issue. Supporting classes that are offered include Critical Thinking, International Relations and International Business Law.



Learning goals (Leerdoelen)

The level of the elective is advanced, which corresponds with levels 5 - 6 of the European Qualifications Framework EQF and the levels of the International Standard Classification of Education ISCED 2011 (UNESCO).

Knowledge and skills

The student gains knowledge in:

cultural dimensions, European law, foreign markets, international economic and political relations, international private law, state policies and tools of international trade.


The student has the opportunity to train his skills in:

debating, negotiating, English, intercultural communication, presentation and teamwork.

Aanvullende informatie





Project European Conference

In a small project group, students will represent a member state of the EU during a mock European Summit. To prepare for the summit, students will research the position of that member state on current affairs and participate in lobbying rounds.


Negotiation Skills

Working as a diplomat means managing relationships. You can bring all the expertise you want but if communication is poor, you won’t succeed. In this course you will learn how to adopt the most effective behaviour in your communication in order to achieve your goals. First of all you will get insight into your own behavioural patterns, with all its strengths and pitfalls. This will be done by completing several self-assessment tests and exercises from different perspectives and theories, like Leary’s Rose interaction model. All with the aim to reflect on and study the effects of different behaviours on others and work on the IRC (Intercultural Readiness Check) competences. We also will be practising real-life cases in which you will learn how to communicate more adequately in negotiation cases. All in all this course has a practical focus, aiming at developing you as a professional in an international context.



Intercultural Communication

By participating in an online case study students will develop knowledge with regard to intercultural competencies such as dealing with cultural differences. Together with students from our partner institution, Widener University (USA), students will analyse an international business case whilst experiencing working in multinational project teams online. By doing so students will gain hands-on experience when it comes to problem solving, conflict resolution, dealing with time differences and showing perseverance and flexibility. Students will be able to explain which factors play a role in creating international teams, analysing whether individual differences can be culturally determined. Subsequently, students will find out that communication styles will differ as well as the way in which professionals regard work relations. Lectures will include theory and practical skills training.


European Public Affairs

This course aims to give the student a thorough understanding of the decision making processes in the European Union and the interests and goals of the various players therein: EU-institutions, governments of member states and non-member states, experts and lobby groups. He will develop the skills to be able to negotiate effectively in bilateral and multilateral settings.


European Policy Law

These lectures provide students with a solid introduction to the European Union, European laws and regulations, comprehensive European law enforcement, etc. Equally, students will gain considerable insight into European competition law and the single market. As both European law and European political reality are changing every day, lectures will focus on topical developments 'as they happen'.


- will gain comprehensive knowledge of European rules and regulations

- will be equipped to form a supported opinion on the mechanisms of the European institutions

- will be able to incorporate European legislation into a practical project.





Project Global Conference

Dwelling upon the experiences students have gained during Project 1, the focus of this second project is more global as students will dive into the challenges and opportunities of the African continent. Students will acquire profound knowledge of economic and political relations at the global level and the increased role of non-governmental actors, transnational networks, corporations and individuals when it comes to boosting opportunities in Africa. They will gain insight in lobbyist and focus group power and influence and the interdependent role of power blocs such as the EU, the US and China. The project will be concluded by participating in a global conference in which student groups will represent a power bloc/country and its stance on the development of the African continent. In preparation for the conference students are asked to write a diplomatic paper and will practise lobbying skills to that end.  


Critical thinking

Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as those that separate students who are prepared for a more and more complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future. Hence this course focuses on different techniques for creativity and critical thinking.


International Relations

We live in an increasingly interconnected world. In this course we will examine the relationships between countries, and the role of other actors on the world’s stage, from a political, economic and cultural viewpoint. Topics such as security, trade and business, human rights, global poverty and the environment may be examined.

We will apply the various theories related to IR to current world affairs.


Global Public Affairs

Strongly related to the Project 2 the GPA classes revolve around identifying and rating global stakeholders related to a number of international challenges, such as the empowerment of Africa, the effects of China’s Road and Belt Initiative, and other global developments. Students will learn to identify stakeholders, assess their reciprocal relationships as well as their quality and they will be able to write an extensive stakeholder analysis on the topics mentioned above. During the highly interactive classes international (corporate) developments, lobbying practices, critical thinking, and a good chunk of personal experience from dedicated lecturers are the key ingredients.


International Business Law

The course aims to give students an understanding as well as practical knowledge of the legal problems arising in the area of international business, and to equip them with the skills needed to prevent and tackle these problems.

A strong focus will be on the ability to apply a number of treaties and EU-Regulations to international business cases, such as the UNCISG (contracts of sale), CMR (contracts of carriage), Brussels I (rules on jurisdiction) and Rome I (rules on the applicable law).

Other subjects include the Incoterms; various modes to enter a new market: the difference between agency, distribution, franchising and employment; and international payments: the cheque, the draft and the letter of credit.



BLOCKS 1 & 2


Professional development

As this elective is aimed at providing students with the right set of competencies to be a starting international diplomat, it is vital that students work individually to attain these competencies and meet their personal goals. As part of this 2 ECTS programme, students are stimulated to e.g. join conferences, bilateral meetings and can fulfil duties during activities at Windesheim. Students are required to compile a portfolio containing proof of all the activities they have performed during the course of this elective.


Professional English

Students will acquire practical knowledge of professional English, to be applied in a political and economic setting. English proficiency entails proper negotiating and report writing skills in English. During block 1 lectures focus on English oral proficiency, whereas block 2 teaches students to apply grammar and register correctly, preparing students to independently and concertedly write a formal report. During this block students will learn to correctly interact in professional (business) settings. Oral and negotiation skills will be explained and subsequently practised, preparing students for the final 'conference'. Students will acquire a proper English or American accent and will be able to identify business etiquette practices. In addition, students will be assisted in writing the country/sector analysis and formal report. These lectures will enable you to take your professional English skills to a higher level.


Requirements (Ingangseisen)

The student has completed the propaedeutic programme and has participated in the full second-year programme of his major.

As we would like to see the most motivated students participate in this elective, we use a selection procedure. After you have enrolled for this programme, you will be invited to write a motivational letter and to an interview about your motivation, both in English.



Testing (Toetsing)

Assessments take place at the end of each block. These are the forms of assessment of each course:

Project 1                                             Country analysis, Conference

Negotiation Skills                            Portfolio & assessment (role play on negotiation case)

Intercultural Communication     Assignment with Widener University USA

European Public Affairs                 Paper with stakeholder analysis & scenarios

European Policy Law                      Written exam

Professional English 1                    Essay & performance during Conference


Project 2                                             Position Paper, Conference

Professional English 2                    Language Portfolio & performance during Conference

Critical Thinking                               Assignment

International Relations                 Presentation

Global Public Affairs                       Position Paper based on Scenario planning

International Business Law          Written exam


Professional Development:         Portfolio