International Relations and Hope

As images of the war in Ukraine and its atrocities fill the news, the importance of studying international relations feels increasingly more evident. The latest developments remind us that peace is both precious and fragile. International affairs are not far-off abstractions, but directly impact our lives. We clearly see the real implications of our studies: the price of commodities and energy, nuclear safety, border security, policies on immigration and refugees, and the like. International politics impacts every field of human activity, and at these crisis moments, the world asks international relations experts to help us understand the reality around us.

However, the academic discipline of international relations is transformative, not just explanatory. It would be very limiting if we studied international relations merely to describe how and why international affairs are as they are. Instead, we seek to transform this reality. We aim to make the world safer, fairer, more humane, more civilized, more developed. To study international relations is to commit to understanding the complexities of a globalized world, in order to make it a better place to live. Young students of international relations believe that a better world is possible. It is a hopeful sign that an increasing number of young people are showing interest in studying international relations; we need these young people to change the world for the better.

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