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International Relations Personal Statement

The study of International Relations greatly fascinates me as although it may not be taught directly in schools, it is a subject matter that affects everybody in some way. My interest in studying International Relations was piqued after reading 'Paul Wilkinson's 'International Relations, A Very Short Introduction'. Wilkinson describes the importance of human rights organisations and their contribution to countries in the form of relief, even in the most daunting humanitarian crises. I realised that international relations are not always determined by 'men in suits', but by ordinary people who seek to build bridges and not walls. It is clear to me that an international perspective is needed by us all to better understand the issues surrounding us and the nature of the changing relations between states and with non-state actors. I strongly believe a degree in International Relations would best enable me to understand these issues.

Studying A - Level economics has also allowed me to develop my ideas and thoughts on International Relations even further. A core module we have looked at is the concept of globalisation. As a result of globalisation, we cannot act independently, as if all countries are self-contained entities, because more than ever it has become clear that we are not. In June 2016 I was able to see this for myself when the UK voted to leave the European Union, as it was a decision that would not only impact our island, but also the world. The interdependency of countries is nothing new however and in studying History A-Level I discovered this. The popular phrase "when America sneezes the whole world catches a cold" was emphasised in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 when a crashing of US stock markets led to the value of British exports halving, and the rate of unemployment more than doubling. This highlighted for me the importance of cohesion between countries, and the need to work with and not against each other.

This year I collaborated with my local council who worked in tandem with UNICEF UK to deliver the Child Rights Partners Programme using the UN Convention on the 'Rights of the Child' as our guide. This program focused on putting initiatives forward to allow children to achieve their supplementary needs, such as realising their potential, gaining self-fulfilment and personal growth. However, it troubled me when I thought about all of the children and adults, around the world whose basic needs such as food, drink and shelter were neither met nor considered. The contrast of policies in different nations means that countries like Finland
are able to score 90.09 in the Social Progress Index, while underdeveloped countries like Central African Republic score only 30.03. As there are many external factors that can contribute to a country's economic and social stability such as famine, war and, for many nations, colonisation, I strongly believe it is the role of other countries that are in a stronger socio-economic position to step in and assist ; which is a key part of International Relations.

As a member of my council's Youth Assembly I've been given the opportunity to raise and debate issues that are important to me. This has allowed me, on a small scale, to better understand the difficulties of policy making and to see first hand the constant conflict of interests that exists, which is inherent in International Relations. My role as Head Student has allowed me to exercise responsibility and communicate with a plethora of people of differing ages and backgrounds, which will allow me to be a better International Relations student. I believe studying International Relations will enhance my skills, and result in me having a greater understanding of the world around me, which is why I wish to pursue my study of the subject further.

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