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Briefing Paper Series
Bernt Pölling-Vocke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Master of International Relations
Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
|How do you think these world affairs (the IR of this day and age) are manifest in yourself?|
question to what degree current international relations are part of me
or my construction of “self” seems to be easy to answer at first
sight, but proves more complex upon closer analysis.
international relations, as a phenomena of an increasingly globalized
world in which I life, play a significant role in my life and are the
determining factor for why I am writing this briefing paper at this
moment. Without the international relations and networks an university
student as me can use over the course of his tertiary studies at this
stage of world’s history, I would not be where I am today and chances
are that I would also not be what I am today.
to my arrival in New Zealand I had the chance to spend three weeks in
Tanzania as part of an cultural exchange organized by my German
university, a local school and their counterparts in Mzumbe, Tanzania,
which probably impacted my global understanding more than this stay in
New Zealand ever will or my year at an US High School in 1995-1996 ever
has, even though the duration of my stay in Tanzania was relatively
short by comparison. But the common fact about all my stays in different
countries, whether for the purpose of studies or leisure time, is that
they all affected my “self” and my understanding of global issues.
This conclusion also shows that my “self” is in constant transition
and that I, as a person, am by no means able to communicate how world
affairs are manifested in myself on much more than a day-to-day basis.
is therefore only possible to describe how world affairs, or
international relations, manifest themselves in my “self” at the
current time, or, relating to the question asked, on this day.
Consequently, it is absolutely impossible to predict how the
manifestation of international relations in relation to my “self”
will play out over the course of our current age, as unpredictable
events such as 9/11 can have an immediate and long-lasting impact on my
perceived construct of the world, at least when I “pull up and away
from the mass that is society in which (I) am embedded”, as I am
constantly trying to do, being the result of the kind of modernist
socialisation in a western country that I am.
general answer to the question of how world affairs are manifest in my
“self” could be that the mixture of my by no means static cultural
background, open-minded upbringing and the opportunities a more and more
globalized world has to offer to (at least seen from a global point of
view) privileged people as me, have turned me into a very sensitive and
interested person concerning global matters, even though my
open-mindedness for international affairs and relations might not be a
one-way-street, as I believed when I was younger. I think that the past
few years have shown very clearly that exaggerated expectations in
regard to a globalized and peaceful world might not only be premature,
but impossible to fulfil in any case. The verdict on whether my
manifestation of international relations or world affairs will be
increasingly positive, negative or unchanged, whether in the short or in
the long term, is still out and seems unpredictable.