International terrorism, the threat of nuclear war and large-scale conflict threaten peace and security. Political structures and processes shape international trade, international production and investment. Key environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and deforestation are transnational in their causes and impacts. Thus it is not an exaggeration to claim that world politics is a matter of life and death. The discipline of International Relations seeks to understand world politics in an era of globalization. It tries to make sense of change in world politics and to understand emerging trends in politics, economics and culture.

The academic study of International Relations includes the study of:

  • Foreign policy and diplomacy
  • War, violence and conflict
  • Conflict management and peace building
  • Non-traditional security issues
  • International political economy
  • International organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
  • Globalization
  • Theories that seek to explain global politics

The study of international relations equips future policy-makers (as well as concerned citizens) with the tools to understand the complexities of the world. The study of international relations is concerned with understanding the theories, main actors, institutions, and contemporary issues in world politics. In a globalized world it is imperative to try to understand the factors underlying decisions made by governments, international organizations, transnational corporations, and international non-government organizations. Students of International Relations are introduced to issues related to international security, the global economy, international law, human rights and international institutions.