Categories
Education Conflict Defense

Wargaming in the Classroom: An Odyssey

Courtesy of Giacomo Salizzoni/flickr

This article was originally published by War On The Rocks on 19 April 2016.

Several years ago, as a new professor at the Marine Corps War College, I spent a huge amount of time putting together the best presentation on Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War ever presented at any war college at any time. After accounting for the 125-page a night reading limit, I had selected the perfect set of readings. These were reinforced by an unbelievably entrancing and informative lecture, and a slideshow employing stunning period visuals. My plan even set aside copious amounts of time for critical thinking, and what I knew would be an intense Socratic dialogue. Finally, in preparation for the expected bombardment of thoughtful student questions, I prepared myself by re-reading Thucydides’ master work, as well as over a dozen other historical works on the period.

Then, the big day arrived … and I failed miserably.

Categories
Security Culture Education Development

Peak Youth – Seizing the Moment

School kids smiling for the camera in Nakempte, Ethiopia. Image: Tim & Annette Gulick/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by IRIN on 25 November 2014.

We have accepted the concept “peak oil” – the point where oil production goes into an irreversible decline. Now we are being asked to contemplate that we are also rapidly approaching “peak youth”, when there will be more young people than ever before in the history of the planet, and when young people as a proportion of the population will reach a maximum, before starting to drop.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reckons there are already 1.8 billion people aged 10-24 in the world. In its annual report it presents them as a great force for accelerated development and a better quality of life, but only if the demographic changes going on can be harnessed for good.

Categories
International Relations Education

Review – Leo Strauss: Man of Peace

The German-American philosopher Leo Strauss. Image: Academia Christiana/Flickr

This book review was originally published by E-International Relations on 7 December, 2014.

Leo Strauss: Man of Peace
by Robert Howse,
NYU School of Law: New York

To begin, I must emphasize the extent to which Robert Howse’s Leo Strauss: Man of Peace is a book about Leo Strauss that is not exclusively for those steeped in the ever expanding Strauss literature, unlike so much that has a steep learning curve (cf. Velkley 2011; Lampert 2013). Nor is it solely for IR scholars, or even trained political theorists, as Howse’s book is easily accessible to a generally learned audience, staying true to Strauss’s thought without losing newcomers in his unique rhetoric. This said, Howse’s clarity in no way mars his lucidity. Readers already familiar with Strauss, or with some knowledge of Machiavelli, Thucydides, Grotius, or Kant will benefit from Howse’s presentation of Strauss as a worthy thinker for international relations. People new to these conversations in IR and Political Theory have an unmatched gateway.

Categories
Social Media Education Global Voices

Out of the Classroom and Onto the Web

Image by trucolorsfly/Flickr.
Image by trucolorsfly/Flickr.

The Internet and Web 2.0 have enabled students to gain greater and quicker access to ‘International Relations’ (IR) education. Books, courses and information on universities and scholarships are easily available online.

Professor Sanjoy Banerjee, who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University and is currently Chair of International Relations at the San Francisco State University, said this when contacted over email:

“The main benefit of technological advances (in ICT), particularly the Internet, is that it makes research much quicker. With search engines like Google Scholar, one can find articles and books on topics far quicker and more efficiently than before. Of course, reading and understanding have not become any easier. Still, my students read much more widely, across more disciplines, than I did as a student.”

Categories
Education Development Economy

Emerging Markets’ Higher-Education Challenge

A word wall in the Western Academy of Beijing. Image by torres21 / Flickr.

LONDON – As many high-income economies continue to flounder, many regard Brazil, China, India, Russia, and smaller emerging-market countries as the best hope for short-term global recovery. Cautious optimism seems justified if emerging markets can weather the impact of shrinking demand for their exports, and sustain their recent records of prudent macro-economic management. But, unless constraints to longer-term growth are addressed soon, the emerging markets’ rise to prosperity and global influence will be short-lived.

The main constraints include environmental degradation, economic deprivation, social inequality, ineffective public-sector management, and weak corporate governance. None of these challenges can be overcome without a massive increase in the number of competent and motivated leaders and professionals. But that requires reforming and expanding access to post-secondary education.