Summer Sessions | Courses | United Nations

Course information is posted for 2021. Please check back at a later time for updated 2022 course offerings.

United Nations

The School of International and Public Affairs offers a Certification of Professional Achievement (CPA) program over the summer:

Certification of Professional Achievement in United Nations Studies

Students may also apply to take individual SIPA courses without pursuing a CPA.

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information.

Summer 2021 Session Information

  • SESSION A courses are May 3–June 18, 2021
  • SESSION B courses are June 28–August 16, 2021

Visit our calendar for a complete list of Summer dates.

Note: Permission may be required for CC/GS (Columbia College/General Studies) matriculated students. Contact

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INAF6552S001 3 points.

What is the UN track record in promoting and protecting human rights? This intense six-week course will examine the UN human rights standards, mechanisms, institutions and procedures established over the past sixty years and question their effectiveness. With a particular focus on the actions (or lack thereof) of the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council and diverse international judicial institutions like the International Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court, the course will illustrate, through practical case studies, the inherent challenges associated with the protection of human dignity, the enforcement of human rights and the fight against impunity.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
INAF6552S001 001/10601 Summer B Subterm Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
David Marshall
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
INAF6554S001 3 points.

It is now a well known fact that countries embroiled in conflict seldom emerge from it 'once and for all.' They tend to relapse back into conflict within months or years. The reasons are also well-known: low education and high poverty levels, weak or non- existent institutions, poor governance, exclusion and marginalization of certain groups including women and poor economic prospects certainly in livelihoods. And yet Peace building in the international context is a relatively new concept. It appeared in the in the UN lexicon in the 1980s and has evolved as a normative concept since. Peace building is complex and multi-faceted encompassing security, human rights, development and reconciliation of past differences and ultimately societal transformation. It is before everything else a political exercise. This course will ask: How is Peace building done, who are the actors and stakeholders? What lessons have we learnt since the 1980s? What does it take to build the peace? The course will give an understanding of the evolution of the norm of peace building at the United Nations and discuss the new UN Peace building architecture. Ten years after its creation, has the Peace Building Commission made a difference and why? What have been its challenges? It will look at the many stakeholders on the ground and discuss the issue of coordination and the need for integrated strategies. It will provide examples of countries that have succeeded, analyze the root causes of the conflicts and the tools which were used. It will extract the lessons learned and the conditions for peace building to succeed.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
INAF6554S001 001/10603 Summer A Subterm We 02:00 PM–05:10 PM
Mo 02:00 PM–05:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
INAF6559S001 3 points.

This past year marked the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations (UN) and the year when a new Secretary-General will be selected by the Security Council to succeed Ban Ki Moon. At this critical juncture, the international system is being challenged to provide adequate responses to the rise of violent extremist groups, waves of refugees arriving in Europe, and to --†fewer but deadlier --armed conflicts. As prevention continues to be elusive and recent - mostly intrastate --armed conflicts have proven to be particularly resistant to peaceful settlement whether through mediation, the deployment of peace operations or peacebuilding projects, the question of the relevance of the UN is posed yet again. Has the Security Council been successful in using the tools at its disposal, from prevention to peace operations and enforcement measures? What has become of the Responsibility to Protect? Is a divided Security Council facing a crisis of relevance? What does it mean for peace operations sent where there is no peace to keep? What are the persisting obstacles to effective prevention? What are the lessons from the evolving partnership with regional organizations? How can peace be sustained over the long term? What will have been Ban Ki Moon's legacy? What are the prospects for UN reform and what could it look like? To address these questions and more, the course will examine the evolving role of the world organization in global security, shaped by its member states with different strategic interests and by the broader geopolitical context in which it operates.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
INAF6559S001 001/10602 Summer A Subterm Tu 09:00 AM–12:10 PM
Th 09:00 AM–12:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Arthur Boutellis
3 Closed for Online Registration Hybrid
INAF6569S001 3 points.

This six week course provides an overview of the contribution the United Nations development system has made in the sphere of development. The course traces the historical evolution of the UN's contribution in the areas of development cooperation, poverty reduction, environment and climate, human rights, gender and humanitarian action. It explores the emerging role of non-state actors, in particular the private sector and civil society. The last sessions will examine in detail the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 and the recognition that to be relevant in today's rapidly changing world, the UN must commit itself to major reform. The course will draw extensively from the practical experience of the instructor.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
INAF6569S001 001/10606 Summer B Subterm Th 02:00 PM–05:10 PM
Tu 02:00 PM–05:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Kimberly Gamble-Payne
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only