This unit examines the roles and functions of organisations vis-à-vis international security, food, education, health, the environment, trade, economic development, human rights and the status of women. A comparative approach is adopted in examining operations of international organisations, states, the corporate sector and civil society. The roles, functions and operations of the UN's specialised agencies are investigated vis-à-vis influence on their member nation's policies. Other programs of the UN are looked at from the point of view of their strategies and policy-making and competing philosophies between them. Various regional bodies and international financial and trade organisations are reviewed.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:



Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically reflect upon current debates and discussions within the arena of international community development;  
  2. Conceptually map how the internationalisation of economic, political and cultural processes is redefining the role of nation states and communities;  
  3. Demonstrate interpretive skills with respect to the formation and delivery of community development programs in specific cultural settings; and  
  4. Cogently advocate recommendations through corroborating evidence to a variety of audiences.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation 20 minutes group presentations on set topics relevant to challenges facing international and regional organisations and policy making processes. 25%
Review Book review on selected core readings set for the unit 25%
Essay Critical essay on an international organization showing its history, how, why and who it was founded by, its philosophy, objectives and strategies. 50%
Total word count across all three assignments should be around 7,000 words. Item Learning Outcome Graduate Capability Presentation LO1, 2, 3, 4, 5 GC 2, 3, 4, 5 Project LO 3, 4,5 GC 1, 2, 3, 5 Test LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 GC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Required reading

International Organisations 3rd Edition
Artcher, C. 2002

Regional Organisations and Security: Conception and Practices
Aris, S & Wenger, A. 2013

An Insider's Guide to the UN
Fasulo, L. M. 2009
Yale University Press.

The NGLS handbook of UN agencies, programmes and funds working for economic and social development,
United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) 1994,
NGLS, Geneva/New York.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

Study a single unit

This unit may be available as a single unit of study.

Find out more about how to apply for single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.