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Open Programme

University Masterclass: Europe, China & Geopolitical Strategy (EN)

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How will Europe survive and thrive in the Eurasian age? In this University Masterclass, we delve into the reality behind political and academic debates on the post-Atlantic era, the dawn of Eurasia, the emergence of the New Silk Roads, and Sino-European relations.

world globe china

How do tech-politics and climate change shape geopolitical strategy? Where does the realpolitik of Eurasia leave Europe? Do we have the right strategies in mind when dealing with China?

You will learn how diplomacy and strategy work, both in theory and in practice. By formulating geopolitical strategies, you go head-to-head with top-level foreign policy experts on topics like cyber warfare, climate change and economic security, and reflect on your personal leadership.

The course is taught by Mr. Ties Dams (author, consulting strategist and fellow at the Clingendael Institute) and open to master students from all academic backgrounds.


Mr. Ties Dams

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Analyse Sino-European relations
  • Write a strategic position paper
  • Connect various policy-themes on a strategic level
  • Reflect on their personal strategic thinking

Teaching Format

  • Preparation by reading core texts;
  • Staying up-to-date with the news relevant to Sino-European relations;
  • Four two-hour long online sessions, three of which will feature guest-speakers, to whom students will be required to ask questions;
  • One final three-hour long online session, during which students will present their strategic position papers;
  • Writing a strategic position paper;
  • Writing a short personal reflection essay.

Session I | Setting the scene
Introduction to the course. Two main questions: where does China’s rise leave Europe, geopolitically? And what does this have to do with strategic thought?

Session II | Deep dive military
How do Europe and China compare in a military sense? How does the changing role of the US influence Sino-European relations? And why do we need a new strategic toolset? 

Session III | Deep dive cyber
What kind of cybersecurity threats does China pose? How does high-tech cooperation between Europe and China take place? How does technological connectivity shape Sino-European relations?

Session IV | Deep dive climate change
Is China a leader or a lagger in the fight against climate change? How can and should Europe engage China in this field? How will climate change shape Sino-European relations in the decades to come?

Session V | Deep dive finance
How will China’s reform of financial markets influence international financial relations? Is geopolitical risk going to dominate financial markets? How should European policymakers and financial institutions respond?

Session VI | Deep dive narrative
What does Josep Borrell mean by ‘the global battle of narratives’? What is China’s role in this? Can a more forceful European geopolitical narrative strategy be formulated in response?

Session VII | Final presentations
Reflection on the course and presenting strategic advice papers made in groups.


  • Preparing questions (pass/fail)
  • Strategic position paper (50%)
  • Essay (50%)
  • Presentation (pass/fail)

Entry requirements

This course is meant for Master’s level students.
If you are a Bachelor’s level student at the UvA and interested in taking the course, please send us a short motivation letter at


You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Number of participants



UvA Master’s level students can register from 7 June 2021 (look for code 5512UMEC3Y in SIS) until one week prior to the start of the course. If you have any trouble while registering, please contact us at

Master’s level students from other institutions can register from 7 June 2021 until one week prior to the start of the course, by completing the registration form.


Check the website.

SDGs in education

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in our elective courses, honours modules and degree programmes, and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDGs website.

Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term
Credits 3 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in November