United Nations System

3 credits / 9 weeks weeks
9 Sep 2019 - 8 Nov 2019

Professor Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo
Professor Mihir Kanade

Ever since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations has performed a pivotal function in a great variety of affairs, large or small, international and national. As such, the UN has played an incisive role in the lives of people around the world. Much of what the UN does is taken for granted and even goes unnoticed by the larger public, to the point that there has been expressed that ‘if the UN did not exist it would have to be invented’. At the same time, millions around the world look to the UN expecting it to address many of the enormous challenges faced by humankind. These complex dynamics are complemented by the fact that the UN is both reliant on what the member states want, while at the same time, being much more than the sum of its members. This course provides a comprehensive and rigorous introduction into the UN system, including its origins and history, its organisational framework and the functioning of various organs, agencies, bodies and programmes. 

Students will critically examine the most important areas of the UN mission including the key Charter principles, the pillars of international peace and security, economic and social progress, development and human rights as well as a growing list of priorities and initiatives (e.g., gender equality and  mainstreaming; eliminating gender-based violence; environmental protection; climate change; post-2015 development agenda; Global Education First Initiative; action to counter terrorism; R2P, etc.).

In addition, the course offers a close scrutiny at some of the challenges the UN faces, and discusses also various proposals for its reform. Students will be encouraged to reflect on how UN priorities and initiatives can be constructively addressed in their respective fields and programmes of peace studies.




Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo

Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo is the Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate ProfessorĀ at UPEACE. He is also Associate Professor of International Law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas since 1998. Professor of Humanitarian International Law at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Bogota since 2009; he was Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Washington College of Law at the American University in 2008-2009. He served as Jurist to the Regional Delegation of Venezuela and the Caribbean of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo has a Law Degree, Master in International Law and Doctorate (Cum Laude) from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and a Master Degree from Oxford University, UK. He has published four books on international law and international relations and a numerous articles in different publications in the field.



Mihir Kanade

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Academic Coordinator of UPEACE, the Head of its Department of International Law, and the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre. He holds an LL.B. from Nagpur University (India) and a Master degree and Doctorate from UPEACE. He is also an adjunct faculty at Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and Long Island University (United States). His principal area of academic research and study is International Law, Human Rights and Globalization, covering several themes within that interface including trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He has extensive experience in training staff of inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals, in the field of human rights. He acts as an advisor to several human rights organizations and corporations on issues related to international law and human rights. He serves on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights. He also leads a project of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting the Right to Development. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer at the Bombay High Court and at the Supreme Court of India.



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