Current International Issues

Humanities & Social Sciences
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 2203
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered


Course Description
The media almost daily reports on humanitarian disasters arising someplace in the world. This course examines contemporary issues in world politics including war, genocide, human security, the environment and global economic inequality. The course will assess attempts within the international system to manage conflict and the challenges posed by economic globalization and the environment.
Course Content

Unit One: Global Issues and International Relations Theory

1.1      Identification of global issues examined in the course.

1.2      Theoretical perspectives: neo-realism, neo-liberalism, constructivism, and critical approaches including Marxism, neo-colonialism, feminism, and postmodernism.


Unit Two: Conflict and Conflict Management


2.1      Globalization and violence, ethnic conflict, and genocide.

2.2      Conflict management: The United Nations, regional organizations, and the International Criminal Court.

2.3      Humanitarian intervention.


Unit Three:  The Global Economy: Trade, Monetary Relations, and Foreign Aid


3.1      Globalization, regionalization, inequality, and interdependence and dependence.

3.2      Issues in monetary relations, trade issues, economic development, debt, and foreign aid.

Unit Four: Human Security Issues and Human Rights:

4.1        The concept of human security.

4.2        Human security issues: hunger, population growth, disease, poverty, demographic shifts, migration, and refugees.

4.3        Concepts of human rights and the development and expansion of human rights agreements.

4.4        Democratization.

4.5        Economic globalization and human rights.


Unit Five: The Global Environment:


5.1        Perspectives on the environment.

5.2        Global environmental issues: the limits to growth, the greenhouse effect, the ozone layer, pollution, biodiversity, oceans, deforestation, desertification, and environmental scarcity (energy, raw materials and water resources).

5.3        Environmental regimes: greenhouse gases, ozone layer.

5.4        The relationship between the environment and conflict.

Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including the use of formal lectures, structured group work by students, and in class discussion of assigned material. Additional readings may be assigned for each unit of the course and placed on reserve in the library. Where appropriate, audio-visual materials will be used.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and class presentations.  The instructor will provide specific evaluation criteria in course outlines.


One example of an evaluation system:


Midterm Exam                    20%

Group Presentation             20%

Research Essay                   30%

Participation                       10%

Final Exam                         20%  



Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


  1. explain current theoretical approaches to issues in world politics;
  2. describe the key features of a variety of global issues;
  3. apply various theoretical perspectives to an analysis of a variety of contemporary global issues including ethnic conflict,  economic relations, human security and the environment; 
  4. pursue further study of international politics.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts and course readings will be selected by instructors after consultation with the department. Other materials may be used by instructors as supplements, and texts will be periodically updated. Examples of texts to be used include:


Hebron, Lui and John F. Stack, Jr. Globalization. Second edition (Toronto: Longman, 2011). 


Jackson, Robert M. Annual Editions: Global Issues 11/12. 27th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson,



Kelleher, Ann and Laura Klein. Global Perspectives. Fourth edition (Toronto: Longman, 2011).

Payne, Richard. Global Issues. Third Edition. (Toronto: Longman, 2011).



POLI 1103 or permission of instructor


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for POLI 2203
Athabasca University (AU) AU POLI 3XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU POL 201 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR POLI 2XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU POLI 1150 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG POLI 2XXX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC POLI 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU POL 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU POLI 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU POLS 211 (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO POLI 221 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV POLI 260 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC INTS 100 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV POSC 260 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC POLI 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU POLI 201 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023