Which High School Courses should be Required of everyone

The Importance of International Relations

On a day-to-day basis an individual will interact with people of many different nationalities; a North Korean man behind the counter at a restaurant, a Sudanese woman sitting next to you at the salon, or a French family at the bus stop. International Relations is the study of foreign affairs among states within the global community, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. It is extraordinarily important in this day and age to understand events in the world and how it may affect you.

By taking an International Relations class, a person may learn how different countries form treaties and executive agreements, why certain ethnic clashes began, and who impacts the way trade and communication flows around the world. It also teaches a person how to read the newspaper and predict world happenings based on circumstance and seemingly insignificant details. It is unfortunate that many men and women in America do not even know that there is a holocaust happening in Sudan, that Mexico has recently had their second successfully democratic election, or that Nigeria has one of the largest oil reserves in the world.

How can a person be successful if they do not even know about the world they live in? It is impossible to consider yourself a worldly person if you are only required to study American history and politics. If you want a job working as an ambassador, a journalist, a politician, or even an environmental engineer it is important to know about other countries. If you enjoy traveling you should also know about the places you are traveling to and how their foreign affairs may affect your visit. The imports and exports, oil prices, and wars in foreign nations affect each and every person in the United States. Before September 11, 2001, most Americans had never heard of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Now they know the terms, but how many actually know the reasons leading to their terrorist movements? In an International Relations course, they would learn this and could get a better understanding of how the world operates.

By students being required to take International Relations, maybe we can work toward a more peaceful future with future generations being more knowledgeable about foreign affairs. Many potential world leaders are bred in the American school systems, and it is crucial that they know how the world interacts and how the past has affected our future. Most American decisions are based on world politics, but those not in International Relations courses would never know that. How much we pay at the gas pump, how many of our fellow classmates will end up in Iraq next year, and the influx of students studying International Business, are all affected by International Relations.