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The rocky road of peacekeeping in the 1990s


Admission requirements



In the 1990s the world witnessed a spectacular rise of the number of peace operations. Now that the stalemate of the Cold War was over, the ‘international community’, embodied by United Nations Organization, seemed to be more willing and able to actively promote peace and security around the globe. This optimism was quickly tempered, however, by a number of dramatic setbacks suffered by UN peacekeeping forces. Rwanda and Srebrenica – to name only the two most important failures of the UN – led to a lot of soul searching and to an international debate on how peacekeeping forces could and should be used more effectively. In this seminar we will research and analyze this debate that was conducted both on a national level in many countries and within a number of international organizations, such as the UN and NATO. Our main question, looked at from many angles, will be to find out if the ‘international community’ did indeed in the 1990s go through a learning process, resulting in a more realistic approach towards the theory and practice of peace operations. Or, was there, at end of the decade, still a large gap between good intentions and the often harsh reality on the ground?

Course objectives

  • To gain knowledge of and insight in the study of peace operations, modern military history and international relations.

  • To gain an understanding of the research challenges related to contemporary history.

  • To gain experience in doing research in a wide array of sources, from newspapers to parliamentary records.

  • To learn to report on research findings both orally and in writing.

  • To practice oral history by conducting an interview.


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research Seminar.

Course Load

A total of 280 hours :

  • 28 hours for class attendance.

  • 72 hours for reading assignments.

  • 180 hours for writing a paper.

Assessment method

  • Class participation (10%).

  • Oral presentation (20%).

  • Paper (70%).



Reading list

To be announced.


via uSis.

Contact information

With the instructor: Prof. Dr. B. Schoenmaker.