Tag: international relations

New International Relations major puts added focus on global diplomacy

Jason Brozek and Ameya Balsekar led a traveling classroom trip to Hong Kong in 2018. 

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University has launched an International Relations major that will allow students to focus their studies on global diplomacy, economics, health, and security.

It’s a field of study that speaks to growing student interest, said Jason Brozek, the Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and associate professor of government and one of the architects of the new major.

“We know it’s something students are looking for,” he said. “And they’re looking for it because so many of the 21st century’s biggest challenges are rooted in international politics. The International Relations major is grounded in concepts like power, security, conflict, and international law, which are all crucial for understanding and addressing things like the climate crisis and the displacement of refugees around the world.”

See details of the International Relations major here.

The new major, which began this fall, is part of Lawrence’s Government department. Government students can now major in either government or international relations.

Brozek and colleagues Ameya Balsekar, associate professor of government, and Claudena Skran, the Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science and professor of government, have been working toward the creation of this new major for several years and will be the primary faculty teaching within the major. They’ll work in concert with the Career Center as students prepare for careers tied to international affairs.

“I’m jazzed about the way we’ve folded in professional development and career preparation as central, integral parts of the new major,” Brozek said. “Students who declare an IR major are required to take a new course called The Practice of IR, which directly connects the academic discipline with career paths in diplomacy, foreign policy, global nonprofits, multinational businesses, and international affairs. The major is also closely tied to all sorts of different study abroad programs and faculty-led field experience programs.”

Collaborations with the Career Center will connect students with internships, alumni networking, and other opportunities through the Government, Law & International Affairs career community.

Lawrence has a deep history of alumni excelling in the field of international diplomacy. Four alumni have been appointed U.S. ambassadors by presidents: Walter North ’72 was U.S. ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Republic of Vanuatu from 2012 to 2016; Christopher Murray ’75 was the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Congo from 2010 to 2013; David Mulford ’59 served as U.S. ambassador to India from 2004 to 2009; and Shaun Donnelly ’68 was U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2000. 

Donnelly, who served with the U.S. Foreign Service for 36 years, returned to Lawrence during Fall Term as the Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor. He is the latest in a line of distinguished public servants, professional leaders, and scholars who have shared insights and collaborated with students and faculty since the Scarff Professorship was established at Lawrence in 1989.

“My message is that I think a good liberal arts education is about the best preparation you can have for working internationally,” Donnelly said during his two-week visit to campus. “The world is constantly changing and you’ve got to be able to adjust.”

International relations courses explore topics ranging from security and treaties to politics and trade. The major pairs well with study in economics, history, languages, and global and public health, among others.

Part of the International Relations program could involve a traveling classroom or field experience, which takes students abroad for focused study. Past traveling classrooms have gone to Sierra Leone, Hong Kong, and Jamaica. Students also are highly encouraged to study abroad when and where they can.

The International Relations major differs from the Global Studies major in that it more squarely focuses on political science, government, conflict, cooperation, and institutions on a global scale. Global Studies, meanwhile, is a draw for students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to global issues and networks that broadly combines social sciences, arts, humanities, and language.

“The Government major and the new IR major are both political science degrees, but with a slightly different focus within the field,” Brozek said. “The Government major offers more breadth across the discipline, while the IR major is a deep dive into a specialty. That specialization in a particular field is also what makes the IR major distinct from Global Studies, which is broad and interdisciplinary.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Former U.S. Ambassador Christopher Murray ’75 discusses President Trump’s foreign policy challenges

A former U.S. Ambassador will offer a nonpartisan assessment of the of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs under President Trump in a Lawrence University address.

A Head shot of former U.S. Ambassador Christopher Murray.
Ambassador Christopher Murray ’75

Christopher Murray, a foreign service officer with more than 40 years of experience, including serving three years as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo, presents “What to Expect in the Trump Foreign Policy” Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

A 1975 Lawrence graduate, Murray will examine the top 10 foreign policy challenges that President Trump will likely face, discuss the importance of collaboration and contributions from our allies, and underscore the need to develop a strong foreign policy team at the White House and in the State Department as the country seeks support for our goals, such as achieving peace in the Middle East and defusing tensions with North Korea.

Murray will spend part of spring term as Lawrence’s Visiting Scarff Professor of International Affairs for 2017. In addition to his public lecture, Murray will lead discussions in eight different courses in four departments and meet with students to talk about foreign service careers.

He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo from 2010-2013 and spent the final three years of his career as the Political Advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO forces in Europe before retiring in 2016. He currently makes his home in Brussels, Belgium.

Other assignments abroad during his career have include deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut; chief of the political section at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria; political officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Communities in Brussels; economic officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.

Murray was presented Lawrence’s Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award in 2015 in recognition of his outstanding career in public service.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.