What exactly is Global Studies? Is it like international relations? Well, yes and no. International relations has traditionally focused on the interaction of sovereign states, on diplomacy, and on the interplay of states and economic markets. While states and markets continue to be central features of international affairs, the rapid pace of globalization—political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental—suggests that our graduates need a more expansive understanding of the world.
We have seen a steady diffusion of political power, economic influence, and cultural norms away from states and toward actors like international organizations, multinational corporations, transnational and subnational groups, and non-governmental organizations. At the same time, barriers to the exchange of goods, services, money, people, and ideas across national borders are disappearing fast. What this means is that many of the challenges we will face in the years ahead—from terrorism to climate change to women’s rights—will be inherently global problems requiring necessarily global solutions. In this context, majoring in Global Studies really means becoming a “global citizen” for the global century ahead.