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Geopolitical Scenario Planning: National Security, Territorial/Maritime Conflicts and Foreign Policy Strategy

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €598 per programme


The melting Arctic ice cap, the disputed South China Sea boundaries and the tense situation in Kashmir underline the importance of territorial and maritime conflicts in international relations. This Summer School helps you to better understand and manage the related geopolitical uncertainty. The central question is how scenario planning can help you imagine plausible futures of territorial and maritime conflicts. Interactive lectures and workshops teach you to identify the geopolitical drivers of inter-state conflicts, and use these drivers to write geopolitical scenarios. This Summer School also enables you to assess the impact of your scenarios on the foreign policy strategy of the involved states. To do this, you learn to analyze common notions of national security and national interests in these states. To apply your newly developed skills, you do a few assignments about an inter-state conflict of your choice. Step-by-step, you become more familiar with a basic, yet effective approach towards scenario planning, which has proven to be an excellent starting point to study more advanced approaches after the course.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a one week course running from the 27th of July until the 31st of July, 2020

The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 2 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

1. Designing an analytical framework to study the role of geopolitical factors in foreign policy;
2. Writing scenarios for areas that are contested by multiple states and exploring plausible foreign policy responses by these states;
3. Understanding how national security as a key national interest can be defined by states;
4. Developing your critical thinking skills by productively combining knowledge, assumptions and questions;
5. Boosting your employability by acquiring valuable skills required for positions in business, government and academia.

Instruction language

1. Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course.
2. Basic knowledge of geopolitical trends and concepts is recommended.
3. Aimed at Bachelor/Master/PhD students in International Relations, Political Sciences, Political Geography, Economics, Business and Finance. Moreover, various professionals and students with other backgrounds also successfully completed earlier editions of this course. If in doubt, please contact Maastricht Summer School.

Dr L.A.S. van Efferink

Dr Leonhardt van Efferink has been an enthusiastic Course Leader at Maastricht Summer School since 2013. His courses always bring together students with many national backgrounds. Leonhardt does not only enjoy teaching, but also moderating high-level discussions between his students. During his Summer Schools, he effectively raises skills levels by combining engaging classes with motivating e-mail tutoring. Leonhardt has over 20 years of research experience in country risk and geopolitics. He worked in the financial sector as country risk analyst and now works as self-employed expert for companies, government agencies and international organisations. Leonhardt is specialised in the analysis of economic/political risk drivers, geopolitical trends/scenarios and textual-visual frames/discourses.

“Leonhardt’s class was really thought provoking as he pushed us to think and share our ideas and thoughts on the topics under discussion. Attending his class will surely allow you to develop your ideas and self confidence thanks to his continuous encouragement” Ady from Indonesia

“Leonhardt is capable to build an interactive environment by including everyone in the discussion and making the right questions as raising the appropriate problems in order to support you, through a critical thinking and analysis, to get by yourself to your own conclusions.” Ramona from Romania

“Leonhardt is a very committed teacher who encourages critical thinking, embraces interpersonal and cross-cultural diversity and stimulates deep discussions.” Jakub from Poland

Suggested literature
Dr Leonhardt van Efferink has based this course on publications in various languages (see overview below for some examples). You are not required to do pre-course reading. However, if you would like to do so, you are advised to select one of the publications below. You can also contact Leonhardt for tailor-made reading advice.

1. Baldwin, D. (1997) The Concept of Security. Review of International Studies. Vol. 23, pp. 5-26.
2. Beasley, R.K., Kaarbo, J., Lantis, J.S. and Snarr, M.T. (2013) Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective. Domestic and international Influences on State Behaviour.
3. Cattaruzza, A. and Sintès, P. (2016) Géopolitique des Conflits.
4. Gourdin, P. (2010) Géopolitiques. Manuel Pratique.
5. Jarvis, K. and Holland, J. (2015) Security. A Critical Introduction.
6. Kelly, E. (2006) Powerful Times. Rising to the Challenge of Our Uncertain World.
7. Lindgren, M. and Bandhold, H. (2009, 2nd ed.) Scenario Planning. The Link between Future and Strategy.
8. Morin. F. and J. Paquin (2018) Foreign Policy Analysis: A Toolbox.
9. Nye, J. S. Jr. and Welch, D.A. (2016, 10th ed.) Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation. An Introduction to Theory and History.
10. Schwartz, P. (1996) The Art of the Long View – Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World.

Teaching methods
▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations ▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment methods
▪ Attendance ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation

Apply now! Block 5.1 2019/20
Application deadline
Jun 8, 2020 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 27, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Block 5.1 2019/20
Application deadline
Jun 8, 2020 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 27, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States