Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy
Course Offerings for Summer 2015 in Washington and Geneva

(Please visit our professors page for faculty profiles)

PLEASE NOTE: THE GENEVA PROGRAM IS NEARLY AT FULL CAPACITY. New applicants will be on a waitlist - if there is not space available, then the $100 application fee will be transferred to use in another WCL study abroad program.
There are still places available in our Washington courses.

Washington: Tuesday, May 26 - Friday, June 19, 2015

The following schedule of courses is subject to change. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled.

The Law of International Organizations
2 credits
Professor Nneoma Veronica Nwogu
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

            The activity of international organizations affects nearly every aspect of commerce, governance, security, and the health, welfare and quality of life of people the world over.  They establish standards, impose sanctions, and resolve disputes in areas ranging from trade to disease control, terrorist financing to airline travel.  What is an international organization? What are its powers? Where does it get this authority? What constrains it? What are its responsibilities? How can it be held accountable? This course will answer these questions through an introduction to the law of international organizations, including the law that governs their establishment, structures, authority, and responsibilities; the law that dictates their relationships to states and non-state actors; and their law-making and adjudicatory functions.  The course will survey the core principles of public international law that generally govern all international organizations, but also highlight the significant variance across the hundreds of international organizations in existence.  Each student will be assigned an international organization to study, and in-depth discussion of these case studies will illustrate the reasons for and implications of the differences in institutional design and capacity.

International Development Finance Organizations (World Bank, IMF)
2 credits
Professor Matthew Glasser
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

            This course provides an in-depth look at the modern-day architecture of International Finance Institutions (IFIs), and their prospective evolution. Starting from a historical review of the rationales for the creation of the IMF, the World Bank and the major regional development banks, participants will have the opportunity to examine the evolving role of the IFIs. The course will look in detail at some current issues, such as: (i) the performance of the IFIs in the response to the global recession which started in 2008; (ii) the ongoing debate on governance of IFIs and the establishment of new IFIs in the face of the changing balance of powers in the international community; (iii) the Millennium Development Goals and upcoming Sustainable Development Goals and how they impact the IFIs’ agendas. The course will also provide an overview of the debate around the development models implicitly or explicitly espoused by different IFIs, as well as the critiques leveled by many parties against them.

Trade and Diplomacy
1 credit
Professor Aluisio Lima-Campos
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

(This course is recommended for students enrolling in the International Intellectual Property and Trade Track in Geneva.)

Introduction to International Workers’ Rights
1 credit
Professor Carol Pier
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

(This course is recommended for students enrolling in the International Labor and Human Rights Track in Geneva.)

The debate surrounding workers’ rights in the global economy is increasingly heated and dogmatic, politicized and divisive.What are international workers’ rights, how are they established, and what do they mean in theory and in practice?What tools are available to protect and promote them and how are those tools applied?This course will provide an overview of the International Labor Organization, focusing on the ILO’s standard-setting and supervisory functions.Students will discuss the relevance of the ILO to international labor policymaking, with a particular focus on trade, using the U.S. experience as a case study.The course will examine the evolution and implementation of labor provisions in U.S. free trade agreements, from NAFTA through the present, and the labor eligibility criteria in U.S. trade preference programs and their enforcement.The course will conclude with a critical look at government-funded foreign technical assistance and capacity building to improve the protection of international workers’ rights, examining in particular, programs to address concerns related to child labor and freedom of association.

LAW AND DIPLOMACY IN REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (4 credits total, offered individually)

African Union (AU)
1 credit
Professor Patrick Ukata
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

            The African Union course will analyze the efforts by African states to manage their external relations through continent-wide and regional organizations. It specifically seeks to appraise the workings of the African Union (AU) and the regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as they deal with political, legal, economic, security, social and cultural issues affecting their respective member states. The course also aims to deepen the student’s understanding of the environment within which African states, whether at the regional or at the continental level, conduct their diplomatic relations with particular attention being paid to providing a good understanding of the actors, contexts and outcomes. We shall identify patterns of change, examine constraints, and give careful attention to some of the processes that influence policy outcomes.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
1 credit
Professor Amitav Acharya
Room: TBC
Time: TBC
            The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is one of the most prominent regional organizations in the developing world today. Established in 1967, ASEAN has undertaken extensive cooperation on economic, political, security and socio-cultural affairs among its members. Moreover, through its affiliated institutions, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asian Summit, it brings together all the major powers of the world and plays the role of anchor of the wider Asian and Asia Pacific regionalism. As such, it plays an important role in the regional economic and security order of Asia, a region which is increasingly vital to world affairs. This course will provide an overview of ASEAN’s emergence, role, successes and limitations.

European Union (EU)
1 credit
Professor Gisella Gori
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

            This is a basic course intended to introduce students to the law and institutions of the European Union (EU). The EU is an organization which began as the European Coal and Steel Community of six states in 1952, but which has greatly expanded in both its membership and the scope of its activities since then. There are currently twenty-eight member states with applications for membership pending from several others, including candidate states such as Turkey, Serbia, and FYROM (Macedonia). The scope of the EU’s powers, which are shared with member states in a set of arrangements even more complex than that of the US’s ‘marble-cake federalism’, ranges from core market-integration and market-liberalization activities to the growing field of ‘justice and home affairs’ (including immigration, policing, criminal and civil law coordination, fundamental rights), as well as to foreign policy and defense. The law of the EU, a complex edifice which has been constructed alongside and over the law of its member states, comprises a vast and detailed body of treaties, case law and regulation of every kind. For instance, in the aftermath of the European financial crisis there are newly created measures designed to reinforce the architecture of the economic and monetary Union while creating a new “fiscal compact” under which countries in the euro zone are bound to write a ‘golden rule’ on balanced budget into their national constitution with automatic correction mechanisms if the law is breached. Any introductory course will necessarily be very selective, and this course provides simply a first look at the EU. The course aims primarily to provide an entry point into the study of this unique political arrangement which, despite the various labels – super state, federation, international organization – which are sometimes used to describe it, continues to defy ready categorization.

Organization of American States (OAS)
1 credit
Professor Adriana Jáuregui Zabalaga
Room: TBC
Time: TBC

            The Americas and Latin America course will cover hemispheric institutions (Organization of American States [OAS] and the Inter-American Development Bank [IDB]), regional organizations (the Rio Group) and sub-regional organizations (such as the Southern Common Market [MERCOSUR], the Union of South American Nations [UNASUR], and the Central American Common Market [CACM]). The historical context, the evolution of state actors and the culture and processes of institutions will be analyzed. It will focus on four main purposes of cooperation: security and non-intervention, human rights, democracy and economic integration.

Other Recommended Courses in Washington:

Offered by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
Introduction to International Intellectual Property Law I&II
            These courses are recommended for students enrolling in the International Intellectual Property and Trade Track in Geneva who have not previously taken a course in intellectual property. The courses introduce students to the basic principles and legal instruments of international intellectual property law, including coverage of the international treatment of patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Offered by the Academy on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
            These courses are recommended for students enrolling in the International Labor and Human Rights Track in Geneva who have not previously taken a course in international human rights and humanitarian law.

Offered by the Environmental Law Program
International Institutions and Environmental Protection
            This course surveys international institutions, such as the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme, and how their policies and activities promote or impede environmental protection and sustainable development.


Geneva: Monday, June 29 - Friday, July 17, 2015

Monday, June 29th will be the arrival day with a welcome and orientation dinner (no classes). The first class meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 30th. The last class will be held on Thursday, July 16th. Students depart on Friday, July 17th. Classes meet every weekday for two hours per class plus additional site visits.

Participants take 4 credits – 2 courses at 2 credits each choosing either the International Intellectual Property and Trade Track OR the International Labor and Human Rights Track.


Intellectual Property Law and Policy in the Multilateral System
Professor Sean Flynn

            This course provides a comprehensive study of international intellectual property policymaking at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations created "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world." The course includes comparative study of international treaties on intellectual property and WIPO’s role in the formation and administration of these instruments. The course will cover contemporary debates around the role of intellectual property in development, including such issues as the impact of patents on public health, the transfer of technology and licensing, regulation of access to genetic resources, protection for traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, enforcement of intellectual property rights, and the role of intellectual property in the promotion of green technology and responding to climate change.

The World Trade Organization: Rule Making and Dispute Settlement
Professor Padideh Ala'i

            This course provides an in-depth look at the World Trade Organization (WTO) with a focus on the structure and internal workings of the WTO.  It will also provide an overview of the substantive areas of international economic relations that are covered in the text of the WTO Agreements.  The course will specifically look at the workings of the different WTO divisions, including the accessions and rules divisions, the workings of specific committees, the WTO dispute settlement mechanism (including the Appellate Body) and the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM).  The course will also explore the relationship of the WTO with non-state actors and civil society groups (particularly those present in Geneva) and will explore relationships of the WTO with other international organizations in Geneva.  The program provides a unique opportunity for discussion and interaction with WTO staff, Appellate Body members, as well as WTO member country representatives and will be hosted at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.



The International Labor Organization: Decent Work Agenda
Professor Janie Chuang

            This course will focus on the International Labor Organization and the multiple ways in which it promotes rights at work, employment and social protection. Much of labor legislation around the world is based on the principles and instruments that governments, employers and workers have agreed to in the ILO since 1919. Today this is recognized by the multilateral system as the Decent Work agenda. In addition to employment, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue (tripartite cooperation), a special look will be taken at the ways the ILO makes its unique standards supervisory system work. The course will also highlight corporate social responsibility and the way in which technical cooperation renders the Decent Work agenda operative throughout the world.

Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law: Current Challenges
Professor Claudia Martin
Required book: Buergenthal, Shelton, Stewart (4th Ed, 2009): International Human Rights in a Nutshell, West Publishing

            This course will focus on current developments of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The course will allow students to be exposed to the practical underpinnings of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law in the Geneva scene.  Participants will be able to meet some of the main actors currently working in human rights cutting edge issues in Geneva.  They will have unique access to some of the most important actors in the United Nations system and civil society that shape the legal and political debate surrounding the UN Human Rights Council and its special mandates, as well as the work of UN treaty bodies. They will also have the opportunity to exchange views with experts from institutions such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others.  The course provides participants with a perfect opportunity to complement their interest in human rights and/or humanitarian law by providing the real-life experience of experts working in Geneva from several perspectives in this field of international law.

An ABA-approved program

For more information, contact:

Fernanda Nicola, Director
Marc LeBlanc, Coordinator