Nurturing environmental and sustainable conscious leaders of tomorrow
International relations students learn how multilateral governance facilitates the creation of rules.
ENVIRONMENTAL issues such as climate change and even the recent global pandemic threw light on the need for cooperation resolution on a global scale.
As such, international relations has emerged as a highly relevant discipline.
Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) International Relations lecturer Dr Daniel Ruiz De Garibay Ponce pointed out that the solutions needed to transcend national borders and multilateral governance can enable multiple countries to resolve environmental problems.
“Environmental problems do not stop at borders. Think for example about overfishing or transboundary pollution.
“International relations students learn how multilateral governance facilitates the creation of rules and the challenges of sustaining them,” he said.
Multilateral governance brings together states and other stakeholders to create multilevel policies.
These policies can be administrative as well as include economic strategies which can disincentivise economic activities that are harmful to the environment.
With world citizens witnessing climate change, compounded with the outbreak of a global pandemic damaging national economies and affecting lives, urgent action is highly required to address both climate change and pandemic, to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, safe, and more resilient, in line with the United Nation’s call of Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13).
APU is one of the few universities in Malaysia responding to such a call.
The Environmental Politics & Sustainability is a key topic embedded within the formal curriculum of its BA (Hons) in International Relations programme.
International relations students at APU are exposed to a wide range of global environmental problems such as deforestation, pollution, depletion of resources among others, according to Ponce.
He added that students would learn from real-life case studies like the development of sustainable solutions in palm oil plantations or the development of nature-based solutions to combat climate change.
“This global mindset, together with the technical skills to understand, analyse and design different policy options, equip our students for whatever career path they may choose, be it in government, international organisations, businesses or civil society organisations,” he said.
A global mindset, together with the technical skills to understand, analyse and design different policy options, enables APU’s international relations students to be equipped for whatever career path they may choose.
Third-year Bachelor of International Relations student Annie Sabrina Alexandra Low said: “International Relations is a broad and diversified field of study. Through different types of assignments, presentations, tutorials and researching about regional and global challenges, I have broadened my way of thinking.
“This has encouraged me to dig deeper to gain a better and broader perspective of reality, the causes, and the impact of different global issues.”
On the practical skills that she has gained at APU, Low said: “Through one of the modules, conflict journalism, I have learned a lot in terms of identifying the dissemination of fake news and the necessity of using different news sources instead of relying on one particular news platform to avoid biases.
“And through crisis management, I’ve learned a lot on how to respond to different sources of conflict and the importance of having good PR to mitigate and prevent chaos and avoiding a huge crisis from escalating.”
Apart from the Environmental Politics and Sustainability module, other modules that are embedded into the three-year programme include Globalisation 4.0, Revolution, Popular Uprising and Social Movement in World Politics, Global Comparative Politics, International Political Economy, International Security, Global Diplomacy, Transnational Organised Crime, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Refugees, and Immigrants.
APU School of Business head Associate Prof Dr Jason Turner stressed: “To suitably prepare the graduates of the future, we have to not only engender a multi-faceted set of employability skills but imprint students on the importance of international awareness.
“What we attempt to infuse in our students' global mindset are the ‘softer’ employability skills so graduates are emotionally aware, can construct sustainable relationships and provide imaginative solutions to tackle the complex challenges impacting Malaysia and across the globe.”
Career options would include being a diplomat, intelligence analyst, military officer, political analyst, lobbyist, international organisation officer, policy officer or journalist.
Besides that, students under BA (Hons) in International Relations could also opt-in for the APU-DMU dual degree scheme - two degree certificates and transcripts upon graduation - from APU, Malaysia and the other from De Montfort University (DMU), UK.
Students would also have the option to participate in the CMI L5 award in management and leadership, which will be moderated by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), UK.
According to the latest Annual Graduate Tracer Study by the Higher Education Ministry, 100% of APU graduates were employed upon graduation.