The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly reshaped our vision of the world around us. The outbreak of the pandemic and the resulting global lockdown have had complex and wide-ranging impact on countries around the globe. Besides fundamental challenges to health care systems, the pandemic has profoundly disrupted the functioning of the global economy, political systems, social structures and institutions, the environment, and the demographic situation. The psychological condition of millions of people has been negatively impacted. Every country has had to deal with the consequences of the pandemic and find an appropriate response to it. Its impacts are still evolving and so far, we only know that they have been and will continue to be far-reaching. Leaders in many countries have reacted with highly populist political rhetoric and self-centred nationalism. The concepts of liberal democracy and liberal economy are being tested, perhaps even shaken to their foundations. At the same time, we see global solidarity, manifested for example in the global sharing of medical know-how for dealing with the Covid-19 virus, and in an attempt by EU member states to deepen their cooperation and address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic together. The social sciences in general, and international relations and area studies in particular, can help us to understand the current challenges better.
The key objective of the Online Winter School 2021 is to analyse the development of international relations in the light of COVID-19 pandemic and from various perspectives. How are different political regimes coping with the pandemic? How has COVID-19 affected the principle of multilateralism and global interconnectedness? What effects has the pandemic had on the EU? How will COVID-19 influence the politics of the U.S. and China? What are the implications of the pandemic for gender equity, climate change, and technological progress?
The Winter School is an online, interdisciplinary course that combines multiple learning methods. Its learning space is divided into asynchronous and synchronous components. Synchronous learning, via Zoom, involves lectures and in-class discussions. Asynchronous learning, via Moodle, is designed to facilitate both individual preparation and group projects. The course includes an online reader. Our teaching methods encourage the students to apply the knowledge they gain from reading various texts in academic journals in a practical way. Lectures, group projects, discussions, and reading help students develop critical thinking about potential solutions for the problems international politics faces today. In group projects and discussions, students will have an opportunity to express their personal opinions and demonstrate the knowledge they have gained during the course. Students will practice their soft skills and develop their ability to discuss contentious topics in a diverse environment composed of students from various countries who hold different views, and potentially come to agreement. Students will learn to express themselves well and cooperate with others in an online environment.
After attending the course, students should: