||This growing multilateral paradigm puts a whole new slant on the conduct of international relations, for which today’s students—tomorrow’s actors and leaders—must be prepared. To accomplish this, political science, international relations, and related curricula should be revised or supplemented to focus more strongly on the growing importance of multilateralism in relations among nations; the roles of multilateral organizations, from the global UN and World Bank to regional organizations and development banks; how the United States relates to them; and the peculiar skills and knowledge required to succeed in this distinctive environment.The approach should be programmatic and interdisciplinary, involving courses in international relations, international economics and business, inter-cultural relations, political science, language training, etc., encompassing the gamut of interactions on the international stage, with emphasis on multilateral, as contrasted to traditional bilateral, modalities.
Development of such a comprehensive program would take time. But it isn’t necessary to introduce it all at once; it can be developed incrementally. I see starting with a focus on the United Nations because it is the broadest and most comprehensive international organization in the world, the global center of international consultations and negotiations that uniquely deals on a global scale with peace maintenance, economic development, human rights protection, etc. Initially, survey courses should be developed on the UN and its affiliates, including the Bretton Woods Institutions.
To complement this training and provide context, courses on the concept of multilateralism, the global political and economic systems, the developing world, and multi-cultural relations should also be developed. To provide hands-on learning and experience, internships should be sought at these organizations. In due course, other activities leading to a degreespecialization at the bachelor’s and master’s levels should be organized.
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