A World-Wide View of Politics: MU International Relations Concentration

The University Political Science Department offers a number of pro­grams to create unique opportunities such as the International Relations concentration which focuses on inter­national problems, in hopes to com­pete in a globally connected world.

The concentration, which is an additional area of study within the standard political science curricu­lum, aims to provide students with an understanding of more than just the Western-centric perspective on international concerns. Political sci­ence majors who add the nine-credit concentration to their academic rep­ertoire are required to take one class on comparative politics as well as two courses devoted to the study of both international relations theory as well as studies of ethics of international relations or American foreign policy.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of po­litical science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, be­lieves that it is of utmost importance that students of political science have strong foundations in international relations given the increasingly glo­balized and interdependent nature of the modern world.

Sarsar states, “Students of interna­tional relations become more aware and better immersed in the historical background and basic information of a variety of issues and by whom any how they can be addressed.”

Dr. Charles Cotton, professor of political science, seconds the notion that students with backgrounds in international relations will enjoy a leg up on the competition when be­ginning their career search within today’s competitive job market, par­ticularly when students couple their knowledge of international affairs with the study of foreign languages and cultures.

Cotton argues, “By learning an­other language, one not only learns to speak and comprehend the vernacu­lar, one also learn to understand and embrace the intricacies of a given cul­ture or society.

Cotton also spoke about the im­plications that learning another lan­guage has with respect to breaking down barriers of cultural misunder­standing and personal egoism, stat­ing, “It is amazing to see how humble people become and how much more willing they are to accept others once they learn a new language; this is par­amount in the 21st Century.”

Laura Migliore, a junior political science minor, said, “I feel that many students today lose sight of just how large and diverse this world really is. To be good citizens, we must learn as much as we possibly can about the happenings in our world and how we function within our global society.”

Migliore also added that her stud­ies of the Spanish language have also served to broaden her outlook on other aspects of international affairs such as cultural differences, “I’ve re­ally learned that there are no black and white aspects of our world; every place on Earth has a story and heri­tage all its own and that truly needs to be respected.”

Students can learn about other countries, governments and econo­mies and relate it back to the connect­ed world we now live in. The combi­nation of international relations and a language can help students see more than what meets the eye.

Another option of classes is com­parative politics. These courses take countries from a region and compare them to each other. This course com­pares areas such as the Middle East and South America.

In a highly-complex and deeply interconnected world where vast oceans, formerly barriers, are now highways, and cultures, once iso­lated, are now proactively interfacing with one another on a daily basis. The international relations concentration promises to give students the tools necessary to spread their wings and to set out beyond the horizon to be­come able and informed leaders.

According to the University Po­litical Science Department webpage, students who study international rela­tions can find themselves a variety of career options. Some of the options include working at the United States State Department; deal with interna­tional business deals among others options.

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