Why is the study of International Relations relevant now more than ever?

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 05:20
Current Students, Clubs, Organizations, Prospective Students

Each era has its own set of characteristics and is known for its own distinct challenges. Our era is no different insofar challenges and crises are concerned; the 2008 Economic Crisis originating in the United States and spreading worldwide, the Ukraine Crisis, the older and newer Middle Eastern crises, and the Greek Crisis, are but a handful among (way too) many, and yet they influence us to varying degrees depending on where we fit in, in this world we call home. And speaking of our environment, we live in a profoundly different world from that of our mothers and fathers as a result of globalization. What’s more, the world around us continues to rapidly change and become more complex by the day. So what seems to be missing? There is a significant lack of able leaders capable of successfully navigating us over the hurdles and through the turmoil to safety and prosperity, ensuring, in the process, our survival; a notion that Thomas Hobbes very accurately identified and acknowledged as our most primal concern. Subsequently, there is a demand, no, a need for individuals that have the intelligence to assess the actual state of conditions, the insight to determine the goals and measure the character of others, and the talent to move skillfully and quickly in a manner worthy of excellence.  Enter the Homeric-era notion of Aristocracy in its original and literal meaning, namely rule by the Aristoi i.e. society’s very best.

The field of International Relations covers not only the traditional realm of interstate relations, but also the interaction between state actors and non-state actors whether they be organizations, institutions, or transnational and/or multinational corporations.  In addition, International Relations is vast enough to include much of what makes this world tick, such as politics, law, and commerce, and then a closer look would reveal that there are also significant social, cultural, scientific, environmental, and technological aspects that need to be acknowledged and addressed. Hence, a student, scholar, and/or researcher of International Relations has a broad range of options to select from depending on their personal preferences and interests, and with one certainty, and that is to make a difference in the world.  At the end of the day, with countless lives and the fate of whole nations at stake, the need for skilled individuals with a firm grasp of reality and with the knowledge, enthusiasm, and zeal to meet these challenges head on will very well make the difference between make or break.

 

Leonidas Gontzes
Associate Dean of International Relations
New York College Group Athens
+30 210 3225961 Ext 135