Solving global problems with a degree in International Relations

The world events of the past few years have shown us that there is a strong need for a broader international perspective on global development, in order to help us better understand humanity’s prospects for the future. Obtaining a degree in International Relations could be your key to personally making our rapidly changing globalized world a better place. Essentially, the study of International Relations will introduce you to a broad range of political and socio-historical influences on global development. By learning about different political systems and policies around the world, we come to an understanding of how they connect with a vast range of international issues. 

UNYP's School of International Relations trains its students to succeed in a multicultural environment and adapt to the contemporary social and economic contexts of globalization. 

Globalization is a complicated issue, and its impacts are different from country to country. It is interesting to analyze globalization in the Czech Republic, precisely because of the country’s extraordinary transformation from a centrally planned economy into a globally integrated and competitive European economy. While globalization has produced many opportunities and benefits, it has also increased competition for markets and investments. We asked UNYP's professor Jakub Lepš (Professor at the School of International Relations; M.A. in Political Science from Central European University in Budapest; M.A. in American studies from Charles University) how a country such as the Czech Republic can make the most of globalization?


J.L.: "The Czech Republic is located in the heart of Europe, and has a small open economy which benefits in many ways from economic globalization. The same is true when it comes to the opportunities open to Czechs to travel, to work in other countries and to get experience with different cultures. More than anything else, the younger generation of Czechs should make sure that they get a good education, ideally combining studies at local schools and foreign institutions."


What are the positive and negative effects of the significant presence of multinational firms in the Czech Republic? 


J.L.: "These firms bring know-how, create jobs and thus contribute to our economy, but the outcome varies from company to company. Firms that provide well-paid jobs that employ skilled local workers (and that allow their Czech employees to gain more skills) are preferable to those which view the Czech Republic as a country with relatively cheap labor, and therefore an excellent destination for their assembly-line factories to produce low added-value goods."


International migration is one of the most dynamic elements of globalization. According to 2018 World Population Review, the Czech Republic has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Taking that into consideration, what are the Czech Republic's migration policies and trends?


J.L.: "More Czechs should understand that we are part of an open Europe and a globalized world, that welcoming some of the migrants entering Europe can enrich us regarding culture and experience, and that due to demographic trends and other developments, a lot of Czech-based companies cannot rely exclusively on Czech employees anymore. Without some shift in public attitudes, a change in government policies cannot be realistically expected. For now, many Czechs remain too narrow-minded, believing that the Czech Republic can choose only some aspects of globalization while avoiding others."


In your opinion, how can an IR degree from UNYP prepare our graduates for the realities of the fast-changing world? Why is an education in International Relations vital for this country and the global society? 


J.L.: "I started teaching at UNYP in 2008 and have kept in touch with many of my former students via LinkedIn, following their professional paths after finishing their UNYP studies. These UNYP International Relations alumni are successful in all kinds of jobs, working in NGOs, in government, in academia, and in the media – as well as in various Czech and international companies, naturally. This shows that there are many institutions and firms in need of graduates who have the skills taught at UNYP's IR department, and it also proves that UNYP is very good at preparing its students for their professional careers."

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