On Thursday, Feb. 15, Fairfield University’s International Studies Program and Politics Department hosted a lecture by Assistant Professor of Politics Dr. Lembe Tiky. The event, titled “Addressing Global Issues: Connecting Scholars & Practitioners,” was held in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room. 

The event, which marks the first in the series of this semester, centered around the relationship between academia in international politics and the practitioners who craft policy influenced by research and expertise.

When arriving at the lower level of the library, Fairfield students and faculty were greeted by tables of food and refreshments. After some time spent mingling and enjoying the snacks, attendees headed into the multimedia room where Dr. Tiky was introduced to the audience.

Dozens of people were in attendance, filling most of the multimedia room’s seats. With many of his own students in the audience, Tiky began his talk by discussing what exactly international relations is.

 “International relations really is the subfield that seeks to explain international interactions between actors involved in global politics,” he explained.

Tiky has been teaching at Fairfield University since 2021. Previously, he worked at the International Studies Association (ISA) where he was the Director of Academic Development. In this role, he designed programs for scholars and practitioners– the international relations actors that were the focus of his lecture on Thursday.

The professor went on to give examples of the types of global issues scholars and practitioners deal with. Together, with input from the audience, Tiky listed several issues such as climate change, terrorism, war and the pandemic that scholars and policymakers address. These issues, Tiky explained, have something in common: no actor can address these issues by themselves. Rather, cooperation is needed.

“Global issues are issues that the state or any actor cannot address alone,” Tiky said. “These are transnational issues that require the participation of different actors.”

Practitioners – those who make policy – depend on the research and work of scholars studying these issues. Tiky emphasized that this is a two-way street; scholars also learn from policymakers. Academics analyze the work of policymakers and apply their findings to new research. When scholars generate theories on international relations, practitioners learn from them and create informed policy.

How does this cooperation happen? One place it’s facilitated is at the ISA, where Tiky worked for seven years before coming to Fairfield. The ISA is headquartered only in Storrs, Connecticut on the campus of the University of Connecticut.

The ISA hosts annual global conventions where scholars and practitioners come together to share ideas. More than 100 countries are represented at ISA conventions, which are hosted in a different American or Canadian city each year.

“This year’s [convention] is in San Francisco,” Tiky noted. “There will be over 5,000 people– 5,000 scholars and practitioners. There will be over 1,000 panels and roundtables.”

After discussion of the ISA, the latter part of the lecture touched on the international relations theories of Realism and Liberalism, how these theories each view global issues and the role of international cooperation in both schools of thought.

Tiky took questions from the audience after the conclusion of his lecture. Students and faculty present at the event asked questions on topics ranging from the impact of tenure on scholars to democratic peace theory.

Once the question and answer portion of the evening had finished, Tiky was met with a round of applause from students and faculty. To conclude the event, Politics Department Chair Gwendoline Alphonso encouraged students to apply what they learn in class to the real world and to continue coming to events like this one. She also emphasized that, while cooperation is key, individuals can also make a difference.

“Individuals also have a remarkable ability to impact the world, Alphonso said. “So, try to do that in some sort of significant way, even if it’s small.”

Students interested in international relations and politics can find future lecture series events on Life@Fairfield.

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Junior | Assistant News Editor | Digital Journalism Major | Editing and Publishing Minor

Junior | Assistant News Editor | Digital Journalism Major | Editing and Publishing Minor

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