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International Studies Research Guide: Websites

Government Publications: International Sources

Specialized Resources

Country Studies

  • Background Notes
    Issued by the US Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, these electronically accessible publications include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states and other territories. The Background Notes are updated and/or revised as they are received from the Department's regional bureaus and are added to the database of this Department of State website.
  • BBC News: Country Profiles
    Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries. They also include audio and video clips from the BBC archives.
  • Countries of the World
    Each country profile provides a short description of: geography, maps, flag, history, current ruler, area, populations, capital, largest cities, languages, ethnicity/race, religion, literacy rate, economy, and government.
  • Countries of the World - 28 years of CIA World Fact Books
    Information from the CIA World Fact Book.
  • Country Analysis Briefs
    Briefs on energy issues for selected countries and with environmental information for selected countries. These reports from the United States Energy Information Administration examine the energy situation in OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) on-OPEC countries in the politically volatile Persian Gulf region, major non-OPEC oil exporters, and other countries or regions . The publications concentrate on energy outlook and supply but also include overview of each country, recent
  • Country Indicators for Foreign Policy
    The CIFP database includes measures of domestic armed conflict, governance and political instability, militarization, religious and ethnic diversity, demographic stress, economic performance, human development, environmental stress, and international linkages, in the form of over one hundred performance indicators for 196 countries, spanning fifteen years (1985 to 2000) for most indicators. These indicators are drawn from a variety of open sources.
  • EuroStat Country Profiles
    An easy way to look at all major statistical indicators for the European Union (13, 15, 25, or 27 countries) or each individual country, and to do comparisons. The data generally goes back 10 years, and can be displayed as a table, graph, or on a map.
  • Europa World
    Provides basic economic, political, geographic and background data for every country in the world, along with a mechanism for comparing statistics across countries. Includes directories of government agencies and officials, political parties, media organizations, business associations and other similar groups for each country.
  • Foreign Governments
    A comprehensive resource maintained by Northwestern University Library. It provides links to the official government web sites, down to department or ministry level.
  • Human Rights
    The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are submitted annually by the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Congress. The reports cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Independent States in the World
    In 2008, there is a list of 194 States (by short name, long name, country code, and (name of) capital city.
  • Library of Congress Country Studies
    The Library of Congress Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world. The series examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors.
  • World Bank Data Catalog  
    The World Bank's Open Data initiative is intended to provide all users with access to World Bank data. These resources include databases, pre-formatted tables and reports.
  • World Factbook
    This annual publication of the Central Intelligence Agency provides profiles of countries throughout the world. Each country profile begins with a brief historical background and includes information about geography, population, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. -- CIA.
  • World Integrated Trade Solution
    WITS is a trade software tool giving access to bilateral trade between countries based on various product classifications, product details, years, and trade flows. It also contains tariff and non-tariff measures as well as analysis tool to calculate effects of tariff reductions. In addition, users have access to two visualization tools.
  • World leaders -- CIA
    CIA listing of global world leaders.

NGO Directories

An Inter-governmental Organization (IGO) is defined as "an organization composed primarily of sovereign states, or of other intergovernmental organizations. IGOs are established by treaty or other agreement that acts as a charter creating the group." (Union of International Organizations website.)
Here is a list of some key IGOs:

IGO Sources and Publications

The term intergovernmental organization (IGO) refers to an entity created by treaty, involving two or more nations, to work in good faith, on issues of common interest. In the absence of a treaty an IGO does not exist in the legal sense. For example, the G8 is a group of eight nations that have annual economic and political summits. IGOs that are formed by treaties are more advantageous than a mere grouping of nations because they are subject to international law and have the ability to enter into enforceable agreements among themselves or with states.

The main purposes of IGOs were to create a mechanism for the world's inhabitants to work more successfully together in the areas of peace and security, and also to deal with economic and social questions. In this current era of increasing globalization and interdependence of nations, IGOs have come to play a very significant role in international political systems and global governance.

These are some key organizatons:

Model UN Resources

Students in International Studies have the opportunity to develop simulation techniques in a class called “Model UN” to develop an appreciation of the function of the United Nations and major political, economic and social issues on the global agenda.

Use the links below as well as the other resources contained in this guide to help you to prepare for your role as a delegate to the Model UN.

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