World politics is often described as a state of war. And yet, the historical record suggests that war is the exception, not the rule. In this course, we seek to understand why relations between most states, most of the time, are defined by peace and cooperation. We will explore the causes of international conflict and how international institutions -- from formal international organizations to international law and norms -- promote cooperation and help states resolve their conflicts peacefully. Students will engage classic texts and cutting-edge research and leverage evidence-based theory to develop policy solutions to important contemporary global challenges in policy-design labs.