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Course Objectives


The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly reshaped our vision of the world around us. The outbreak of the pandemic and the resulting global lockdown have had a complex and wide-ranging impact on countries worldwide. Besides fundamental challenges to health care systems, the pandemic has profoundly disrupted the functioning of the global economy, political systems, social structures and institutions, the environment, and the demographic situation. The psychological condition of millions of people has been negatively impacted. Every country has had to deal with the pandemic's consequences and find an appropriate response to it. Its impacts are still evolving, and so far, we only know that they have been and will continue to be far-reaching. Leaders in many countries have reacted with highly populist political rhetoric and self-centred nationalism. The concepts of liberal democracy and liberal economy are being tested, perhaps even shaken to their foundations. At the same time, we see global solidarity, manifested for example in the global sharing of medical know-how for dealing with the Covid-19 virus, and in an attempt by EU member states to deepen their cooperation and address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic together. The social sciences in general and international relations and area studies can help us understand the current challenges better.


The key objective of the Online Spring University 2021 is to analyse from various perspectives Europe's prospects in a time of global socio-political change and the context of a future post-coronavirus restart. What effects has the pandemic had on the EU? Can Europe still be seen as an essential pillar of (liberal) democracy and multilateralism? How has Brexit affected the EU's future integration? How have COVID-19 and recent political events influenced the transatlantic relationship? What are the practical implications of the pandemic for EU climate change and cybersecurity policies? What is to be expected from a post-coronavirus restart and future rebuilding of Europe? What is the significance and relevance of the Next Generation EU recovery plan?


The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected many students’ academic studies and their lives, in that they are unable to travel and study abroad as they used to. Our Institute of International Studies, Charles University in Prague, and their courses for international students are no exception. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the traditional Spring University Prague, organised by Charles University since 2009, is temporarily going online. We are confident that the course's online form will offer international students the same quality experience as our traditional course organised in Prague at our faculty.


The Online Spring University 2021 is an interdisciplinary course that combines multiple learning methods. Its learning space is divided into asynchronous and synchronous components. Synchronous learning, via Zoom, involves lectures and in-class discussions. Asynchronous learning, via Moodle, is designed to facilitate both individual preparation and group projects. The course includes an online reader. Our teaching methods encourage the students to apply the knowledge they gain from reading various texts in academic journals in a practical way. Lectures, group projects, discussions, and reading help students develop critical thinking about potential solutions for the problems faced by international politics today. In group projects and discussions, students will have an opportunity to express their personal opinions and demonstrate their knowledge during the course. Students will practice their soft skills and develop their ability to discuss contentious topics in a diverse environment composed of students from various countries who hold different views, and potentially come to agreement. Students will learn to express themselves well and cooperate with others in an online environment.


After attending the course, students should: