Today we live in a very demanding world with devastating challenges thrown our way. We have gone through two major world wars and the idea of battling each other out has not completely vanished. War seems to be engraved into our societies as there are many nations still fighting. International Relations (IR) aims to improve and maintain relationships between two or more entities. This does not only apply to nations but also non-governmental, non-profitable, political, and social organisations as well. The tools for maintaining these relations can be used by anyone.
International relations today can be defined from various perspectives; however, IR as a subfield of political science can be defined as the study of interactions among various actors that participate in international politics. IR helps us scrutinize the behaviours of these actors as they participate individually and together in international political processes.
International relations is also an interdisciplinary field of inquiry, using concepts and materials from history, economics, anthropology, and political science.
It is used by historians, sociologists, social scientists and even economists worldwide to understand the patterns of one’s behaviour and reach suitable conclusions. IR provides individuals with holistic perspectives which will help them in the future. Here are 3 reasons why you need IR in today’s world.
1. To make a difference in this world
IR is not entirely about politics; it is also about doing the right thing. The field of IR helps you gain an insight into how relations work and with this knowledge you can use IR to promote cross-culturalism across the globe. You can teach people how to live ethically and promote sustainable living.
“Those who study international relations tend to be individuals who are passionate about wanting to combat injustices, as well as learn from history regarding what works, and what doesn’t work when it comes to living in a single global society.”
2. To be more aware of what happens across borders
IR helps you understand the major events that took place in the past. As the famous saying goes, “you need to learn from the past, so that you do not repeat the same mistakes”. History is a major element of IR as it gives meaning to individuals and helps them base their decisions on the mistakes that were previously made. It helps individuals to be vigilant of the causes that matter across the globe.
An example of this is climate change, IR ensures that you understand what it is, why it is happening and how we can stop it?
IR aids in awareness and your journey into becoming a global citizen. Understanding history leads you to becoming attentive to what is happening around you now. This is also one of the major goals of IR today, to spread awareness of the events that happen today and ideate on how to manage these events.
3. IR helps you gain a unique skill set
IR helps assist in broadening the horizons of individuals. Awareness although important is not enough, IR helps you go beyond that by aiding in thinking rationally and holistically. With IR, an individual develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills which are a catalyst in finding solutions to complex scenarios. You also enhance your negotiation and analytical skills as you become aware of how society and the environment around you functions.
This skill set alongside leadership prepares you to join the professional world as it is often sought out by employers.
IR contributes drastically in preparing individuals for the rigour of the professional world which helps them overcome obstacles and makes them efficient and effective in challenging situations.
The diverse perspective IR provides is very crucial in today’s world especially when considering how rapid technological change and globalisation occur. With IR, individuals can better understand situations and come up with effective solutions and policies that cater to running a tolerant and collaborative world.
Written by: Mariam Hamid