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Fundamental modules and professional skills

Five fundamental modules form the framework of teaching and research at CIFE. Generally, the courses take place every week. Each module is directed by a permanent faculty member. Additionally, guest lecturers from other countries, experts from various European and international organisations, as well as researchers from partner institutions contribute to these modules.

1. Conflict and Cooperation in the International System

World Politics in the 21st century are confronted with dynamic, multidimensional challenges. The digital information revolution comes along with a rise of populism and authoritarianism. Domestic changes (Great Britain, US elections) seem to question strategic alliances in international politics. Migration from conflict zones tests both the political credibility and stability of political regimes.
Meanwhile, global phenomena like climate change and transnational terrorism pose shared risks that merge into collective interests and cooperations. Fear and trust remain relevant political ressources in international politics. 
In our module we use a theoretically grounded approach to revisit the continuities and changes of international relations. Following a theoretical introduction into the grand schools of thought of international relations theory, we will approach the interdisciplinary field of conflict and violence studies. From its very beginning, understanding and explaining questions of war and peace has been at the heart of "International Relations" as an academic discipline.
A special focus will be attributed to inter-group violence and inter-state conflicts in both the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe: from the Western Balkans to Cyprus, from Israel to Palestine, from Ukraine to Syria. The module will focus at causes and dynamics of escalation and de-escalation, including international law and transitional justice in a multiperspective approach.

2. European Integration and External Action

At the beginning of the new millennium, the European Union can look back at considerable achievements such as the completion of the monetary union.
On the other hand, the EU remains confronted with huge challenges: New member states in Central and Eastern Europe need to be fully integrated, the EU institutions must be reformed, a common identity for foreign and security politics must be reinforced, the acceptance of the EU amongst its Member States’ populations needs to be strengthened.
This seminar aims at familiarising the students, who could well become the next generation of European and international decision-makers, with an expert knowledge of the structures, institutions, and problems of the European Union.
We focus firstly on the historical development of European unification and then go on to analyse the Union’s institutions and study the basics of EU law. The last part of the program is devoted to the different policies of the EU and especially emphasises the challenges of enlargement.

3. Federalism and Multi-Level Governance

For the last fifteen years, federalism has known a revival as an international field of studies. In this framework, three major developments can be considered.
The first is the study of the European Union, not analysed any more as a process of integration but in terms of federal institutional comparative approach.
The second development is multi-level governance, that can be conceived as an extension of federalism as it deals with any form of multi-tier institutional system. This cooperative/competitive approach has appeared to understand the institutional consequences of the process of globalisation in post-industrialised societies, and of the subsequent changing of nature of sovereignty in the relevant states.
Eventually, federalism has become a tool of conflict resolution, in order to resolve violent conflicts all over the world. Examples include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Nepal. It is also perceived as a solution for Syria, Cyprus, Ukraine, Libya… As well, new federal discourses have emerged in historically centralised countries. It appears that all these developments share a same multi-tier conceptual framework, referred to as federalism. As such, they add themselves to older federal questions, such as political co-operation, democratic representation, minority issues and economic coordination. However, understanding the contemporary evolution of the federal meaning and of its main uses requires an innovative analytical thinking. This module will bring together these new approaches and highlight the changing nature of federalism in an ever more complex world.

4. Economic Globalisation and Sustainable Development

The main goal of this module is to shed a light on the key forces shaping economic globalisation processes in their various dimensions: international trade, financial markets, currency issues, etc. Without going into the details of economic theory, the module helps students understand the contribution of these fundamental driving forces to long term economic development as well as major economic crisis.
Beyond a broad overview of the current state of the world economy, the objective is to understand how globalisation refers to the problem of international economic governance, and to describe the institutions, actors and processes at work when it comes to cooperation challenges in order to solve economic public goods management problems such as trade dynamism, financial stability or monetary cooperation.

5. Professional Skills Workshops

This module equips the participants with professional skills and competences that will enable them to work in the context of the European and International organisations. They will actively take part in several simulation games and follow seminars and workshops on:
- Project cycle management
- Intercultural communication
- International mediation and negotiation
- Drafting of position papers and policy recommendations
- Career workshop



CIFE is one of my favorite clients.  After many rounds of teaching jaded business executives or militant union leaders the art of negotiation, what a pleasure to be with this energetic, motivated and highly international group of students. Our sessions together are not only highly enjoyable, but also rich in learning, also for me. What a great programme!

Mark Young, Negotiation Expert, Founder of Rational Game



CIFE's Master programme is remarkable on several counts:
1. It is multidisciplinary, which ensures tolerance and reflection, thus avoiding the one-dimensional approach too often associated with false certainties.
2. It is open to the world, even if the European Union is more "present" than other spaces. In a context that is sometimes one of wariness of the outside world, this is a major plus.
3. Coming from varied backgrounds, students are given the opportunity to compare ideas and analyses for their mutual benefit, and they eagerly seize it!

Jean-Claude Vérez, Lecturer at the University of Artois, Director of the MAEIS Mediterranean Studies

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