It is quite clear that education is a powerful weapon for the socio – economic, political and psycho- cultural development of a given society/state. Higher academic institutions primarily aim at producing educated professionals in different fields of study who are expected to own necessary skills, competence with higher moral integrity that are vital to transform multifaceted development activities of their societies and state.
In cognizant of this, most countries at the global level including Ethiopia offer due considerations in establishing and expanding higher academic institutions with the ultimate goal of producing skilled human resource, engage in problem solving research to the benefit of its people and the country at large. Aksum University is one of the newly established higher academic institutions in Ethiopia which officially founded and started its operation in 2006 by opening different programs, faculties and departments.
The department of Political Science and International Relations is one of among the fields that exist under the College of Social Sciences and Languages, in which; it was opened in 2009/2010GC academic year.2.1 Background
Department of Political Science and international Relations is one of the oldest academic units in Ethiopia. Its emergence goes back to the establishment of the University College of Addis Ababa in 1952. Ever since the field has gone through different organizational, structural, curricula and nomenclatural changes until it has got its present nature and status in 1980.
Being confined at the university (AAU), over the years, the program has not contributed too much to the country’s demand of skilled human resource in the field of study. In the last decade, with the country’s overall strategy of expanding higher academic institutions to meet its critical need for more and more skilled human resources in quantity, quality and diversity to expedite national development endeavors. Thus, new universities have been opened in different regions of the country, of which, Aksum University is one of them which was established in 2006/7GC where the department formally launched in 2009/10G.C, Ac Year).
Description of the Discipline
The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle once declared that, ‘man is a political animal’ and political science is “Master of Science”. By this he meant that in order for human being to guide `Good and Civilized life` where they need active engagement in political life and make common decisions in a manner that accommodate diversity, reconcile conflicts and forge a life of cooperation through the exercise of power for “common good”.
In the contemporary times too, the term politics from local to global level implies the activities through which people make common decision, accommodate their diversity, reconcile conflicts, and advance their cooperation for their common goods where by the exercise of power is necessarily involved. Politics is also further described as the ‘art of government and governance’, ‘the concern of state and other human organizations’, the conduct and management of public affairs’, ‘the resolution of conflict through debate and compromise’, and ‘the production, distribution and allocation of resources’ in course of societal life.’
Thus, Political Science & International Relations as academic field of study primarily focuses on the enquiry and scientific explanation of the political values, norms, principles and etc. of a society within the frame work of intellectual and methodological paradigm. International relations, as the branch of political science deals with theories, concepts, and principles appropriate for the proper understanding and analysis of issues in international human conducts.
Political science and international relations then, is a science that examines common decision of society and exercise of power, the development and function of government and the behavior of rulers, as well as conflict and cooperation among states. This discipline investigates the history and development of government rule, compares and contrasts the type of political systems, organizations that have ruled the most prominent world cultures. By understanding, the predominance and impact of the current form of democratization and globalization, political science and international relations can integrate the best practices to the international, regional, national and local socio–economic and political developments.
The study of political science and international relations has come to assume greater significance and relevance in the present age of democratization and globalization. This is because, the program was launched with an intention to address shortage of skilled professionals; to advance the democratic progress of the country and to have well qualified human power that could enable the country to effectively utilize the multidimensional opportunities of globalization and to effectively run state bureaucracy and institution, engender socio-economic, political and technological transformation and devise the way to mitigate the adverse effects of globalization that is likely to impede the country’s journey of development. Being well aware of the institutional mandate and missions of the University, the discipline of Political Science and International Relations has been playing its paramount role to realize the triple missions of the university by providing quality education, conducting problem solving research and catering community services.
Specifically, the launching of the department at AkU makes it quite unique and demanding for the reasons that:
Axum town, is one of the epicenters of world’s most oldest civilization and the starting point/root of state formation in Ethiopia’s political development that have far-reaching significance for further researches and studies on the country’s socio–cultural, economic and political developments and then to excavate the real contribution of the country in the socio–political development of the whole world.
Moreover, Ethiopia being a political and diplomatic seat of continental, sub-regional and international organizations offers the country an additional opportunity and responsibility to cater the required professional expertise, analysts, consultants, civil servants, diplomats, researchers, educators and activists who competently discharge/work in those institutions.
Therefore, as of its establishment in 2009/10, the department has been striving in its full capacity to accomplish the above stated lofty goals and its progress so far has been impressive and significant.
Objectives of the Department
The key objective of the department is to produce competent, innovative and knowledgeable graduates based on the needs of the nation at large and on the missions and visions of AkU.
- Providing training in the field of Political Science & International Relations in an interdisciplinary manner;
- Producing well-informed and qualified manpower in the field for Ethiopia’s public service;
- Promoting research in the field focusing on Ethiopia and the sub-region; and beyond
- Promote research on the political dynamics of the sub-region of the Horn of Africa in general & Ethiopia in particular;
- Provide training on the functions, structures of states, governments and political systems in a multidisciplinary manner in order to prepare graduates for professional career in areas related to the fields of Political Science and International Relations.
- Professional Profile
Up on the successful completion of the study in PSIR, graduates will be employed in various governmental and non-governmental institutions at various levels and will serve as:
- Diplomat, Ambassador, attaché
- National and international civil servants; consultants, experts,
- Administrators of governmental & non-governmental organizations,
- Public policy makers, Policy analysts and advisors, and
- Researcher in the areas of Political Science and International Relations as well as in other related areas.
- Public relations officers & journalists
- Political analysts,
- Teachers/instructors, consultants
- Electoral experts,
- Experts in peace building &Conflict resolution
- Gender experts
- Environmental experts
- Peace and Security advisers & experts,
- Advise political leaders & policy makers on strategic political and policy issues
The under-graduate program of Political Science & International Relations aims at imparting knowledge, skill, attitude and abilities to enable students in the following core areas.
Thus, students are expected to;
- Analyze national, regional, international and global level political systems and structures;
- undertake public relations and publicity functions;
- Equip with the patterns and trends of the international system;
- Acquaint the necessary knowledge in the fields of international relations,
- Acquire the arts of diplomacy; negotiations, mediations, leadership
- Perform national, international and global level diplomatic activities;
- Acquaint with the skills of administration and management of various institutions;
- Practice public policy formulations in the social, economic and political domains of the country;
- Provide training on the knowledge and arts of research and research conducting;
- The capability of approaching media outlets;
- Learn the ability to adopt a diverse and changing systems and societies;
- Will have a know-how on electioneering, electoral strategists and campaigners
- Will equip with knowledge of peace making, peace building and sustaining , and conflict analysis
- Endow with the issues of gender mainstreaming, empowerment, and mobilization
- Have a knowledge on environmental issues, its actors, international summits and their outcomes
- Acquire fundamental concepts in relation to terrorism, drug and human trafficking, and others; learn how to combat them.