Understanding the world today

Course Description
This course in the University Foundation Programme is a general course that is intended to
sharpen students' critical thinking skills by exposing them to ideas and issues crucial in
understanding the world today. The course will stimulate debate on numerous issues including
development, current affairs, poverty, globalization, international relations, the world's
changing political economy, culture, consumerism, and gender and environmental issues. The
course will use materials from newspapers, the internet, and television.

Course Objectives
This course will:
Allow students to engage in critical debate while learning the difference between fact and value
judgements
Inform them about developments in the world today
Give them an in-depth knowledge of current affairs and how to interpret “news”
Engage students in accepting different views and opinions and defending beliefs
Course Outline
Current perspectives on world development
Development in Africa
Introduction to Globalization
The benefits and threats
Africa and GlobalizationAfrica's Place in the World
Introduction to International Relations
Who is Who on the Global Stage
The Politics of International Relations
Wars and Conflicts
Global Political Economy
The Shifting Face of the Superpowers
Introduction the Gender Concepts
Equality or Difference?
Why Worry about Gender Issues
What is Culture?
The Role of Culture
Culture and Modernity
Cultural Difference and Conformity
Consumerism and Poverty
The Importance of the Environment
The Environment and Poverty

Teaching Methodologies
This course will rely heavily on class discussion and participation in order to achieve the course
aims and objectives. Lectures will introduce topics and give information; students will learn
how to analyse information, formulate opinions, structure arguments, and defend beliefs while
accepting that others may have different beliefs and opinions.

Course Assessment
This course will be assessed through class participation (10%), written assignments (30%),
and a final examination (60%).