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  Home > Graduate Programs and Degrees Offered > Veterinary Medicine Graduate Program > Courses > VMED 7994

VMED 7994

Engaging Intergovernmental Organizations

Instructor: Dr. Will Hueston
Office location: 136G Andrew Boss Laboratory
Email address:

Credits: 1

The course is held in Europe (Geneva-Paris-Rome) during the winter (February/March). The course covers 7 days, beginning with an early evening session Saturday afternoon and continuing Sunday-Friday. Saturday-Tuesday morning will be held in Geneva, Switzerland; Tues through Thursday morning in Paris France, and Thurs-Friday in Rome, Italy.

Prior to the week-long in-person session, students will participate in several web-assisted directed discussions and lectures to provide background information and general instruction regarding the relevant policy program. Each enrolled student will be expected to prepare for the program prior to traveling to the off-campus site by becoming familiar with the relevant policy issue and the roles of the intergovernmental organizations which includes reading the background materials provided online for that year’s program, as well as familiarizing oneself with the various perspectives on that policy issue. Each student is also expected to participate in directed discussions and debate around a current issue, interact with key officials, perform group task assignments, and develop and deliver a presentation to relevant leaders at the conclusion of the program.

Students should have a combination of education and experience sufficient to allow full participation in the program. All enrollees require instructor’s approval. No other prerequisites.

Course Description
This course focuses on developing the requisite knowledge and skills to effectively engage intergovernmental organizations. The course simulates an ad hoc advisory group in which the participants gather information and provide expert opinion to intergovernmental organization officials on topics such as international trade standards, design of global educational and capacity-building programs, and international development programs. This course will provide an understanding and experience regarding the intergovernmental organization-related global policy-making process as it pertains to animal health, public health, food safety and security, and trade.

The global movement of people, products, animals and plants as well as energy, finances and intellectual property has become an integral part of our society. This movement provides benefits and creates new vulnerabilities. Food safety, public health and animal health issues don’t respect country borders. Intergovernmental organizations play a critical role in the prioritization of issues, compilation and sharing of information, development of tools, resources, and educational initiatives to support national governments, and the harmonization of testing, diagnostic tools and disease control methods. Scientific evidence is an important consideration in development of policy by intergovernmental organizations – but just one component of the decision-making process. Students will develop an understanding of the role of scientific evidence and international politics in intergovernmental organization’s policy development.

This course will help expand the students’ understanding of and network among key global organizations and leaders and provide new skills for effectively engaging intergovernmental organizations.

Course Goals
As a result of completing this course the student will gain an understanding of the intergovernmental organizations and how to effectively engage them relative to global policy development covering trade, capacity-building and international development. Students will develop a network of key contacts within the organizations and be able to access additional reference materials, understand who best to contact with regard to specific issues and be more successful in building public-private partnerships. The student will be aware of intergovernmental organizations (World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) potential to impact veterinary public health domestically and globally.

Learning objectives
At the completion of this program, participants will be able to:
• Recognize that research evidence is only one input into the decision-making processes of policy makers and other stakeholders
• Recognize that diversity of opinion and the input of many stakeholders can add significant value to these policy making decisions.
• Be able to describe international standards and the policy-making process related to food safety, trade, animal health and public health
• Understand the influence and authority of international intergovernmental agencies, nongovernmental agencies, and professional and trade organizations
• Compare and contrast the scope of responsibilities, resources and policy formulation processes for the different organizations or on different issues
• Recognize the benefits and constraints of relationships between the public and private sectors related to global food safety, animal health and public health systems
• Distinguish various strategies of influence related to the development of international standards, treaties, trade agreements, political priorities, dispute resolution, strategic planning and operational goal setting
• Appreciate alternative perspectives on global policy needs and approaches from different disciplines, cultures and contexts

Students in this course will study the role and impacts of intergovernmental organizations. Participants will have the opportunity to view themselves as citizens of a global community. Additionally, they will have learn and practice skills to identify information needs for informed decisions, locate sources of information, establish professional networks and form alliances.

As part of the learning experience, participants will work on a capstone project in which they serve as panels of experts, incorporating their knowledge and experience into a recommendation on recommendation regarding global animal health, public health, and food safety issues. The recommendations are presented to FAO officials on the final day of the program

The student’s participation in the group projects and the development of their capstone project will support assessment that this learning objective has been achieved. Each participant will be required to complete summarize their findings and recommendation in an executive briefing paper and will prepare a learning contract as to how they will use the information and skills gained through the week.

Additional Information
Materials will be linked to syllabus provided prior to start of the course

Attendance requirements: Attendance at all off-campus sessions is required.

Capstone Project
As part of the learning experience, participants will work on a capstone project in which they serve as panels of experts, incorporating their knowledge and experience into a recommendation on the animal health, public, and food safety issue identified in the terms of reference for the simulated ad hoc advisory committee. The recommendations are presented to FAO officials on the final day of the program

Examinations: None

Participation and interaction with organizations visited (20%)
Group project and presentation (40%)
Written report due one week after the conclusion of the course (20%)
Learning contract (20%).

Student Evaluation Criteria:
Participation is evaluated on the degree of engagement of the student in the class discussions, interactions with guest speakers and other participants. Written assignments are evaluated on the quality of organization, content and grammar. Group project grades are assigned on the basis of the engagement of the group and the quality of the product produced as well as the impact of the presentation.

Grading Policy
A = 90% and above
B = 80%-89%
C= 70%-79%
D = 60%-69%
F = 59% or below

The following policies apply to all courses at the University of Minnesota:
Grading and Transcripts: Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester.
Teaching and Learning: Instructor and Unit Responsibilities: Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester).
Teaching and Learning: Student Responsibilities (Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester)
Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences: Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester
Use of Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester
Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials: Twin Cities, Morris, Rochester
Student Conduct Code
Sexual Harassment
Diversity, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Affirmative Action
Availability of Mental Health Services

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