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Reforms in Nigeria: the Place of Public Relations

This discussion will be toed sequentially so that it is easily and understandably digested.

What is Reforms?
According to the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary, reforms can be defined as ‘change that is made to a social system, an organization etc in order to improve or correct it’. It is obvious here that the essence of reforms in any instance is to bring about a positive change, which will either result in improvement or correction; embedded intricately in the definition of reforms are three major words we need to further get right to ensure our comprehending of the essentials of this discussion, these words are change, social system and improve. The understanding of these elements will make us appreciate the essence of the place of public relations in reforms in the Nigerian polity.

· Change – this can be defined as the fact of a situation, a place or an experience being different from what is usual and therefore likely to be interesting, enjoyable etc.

· Social system – this can be defined as a patterned set of rules, norms and agreeable way of behavior, which is applicable to all members of the society.

· Improve – to make something better than before.

The above analysis is purposely meant to establish the fact that Nigeria is a social system and in its present state needs a change to bring about improvement in the polity: in other words, Nigeria needs reforms.

Why does Nigeria need reforms? In what areas?
To say Nigeria needs reforms is an understatement – a euphemism of hypocritical proportion. Really it is even common to hear some people express it in a stronger way that Nigeria needs ‘deliverance’. It is viewed by most people (especially when the African mentality comes to play) that some unseen evil forces are behind the problematic anomalies in the Nigeria system. Why all these? This is because Nigeria as a social system is fraught with a plethora of simple political, economic, educational, international and national related problems which when viewed by right thinking persons are considered issues which in the first place can be solved through mere common sense. This is not meant to imply that those at the head of those sectors, which are faulty are incompetent or are not right thinking, but to say that they are most times either ignorant of how to approach issues that are negatively affecting their responsibilities, placed in the wrong place of their specialty, or surrounded by unbefitting persons who advise them in such a way that budding problems in the institutions either persist, stop transiently or snowball into crises of national and international proportions. Nigerian heads hardly ever involve the services of professional advisers in the formulation, expression and implementation of reforms and national branding, and this has most times made reform attempts in Nigeria either futile or of disservice to all or some section of the polity.

All the sectors in the Nigerian polity are seriously faulty and riddled with problems, which are either self-induced or overlooked. This then infers that Nigeria itself needs total rebranding. Who then can carry out this task successfully, but the professionals whose duty is predominantly image making.

The politics of Nigeria is more of a ‘chess game’ other than a system of rules, priorities and responsibilities. The political system is far from the leadership oriented one it is supposed to be, it has become a ‘dirty game’ as most people have stigmatized it. In most cases, other than having people who are capable of handling government machinery in power, we have inexperienced and unqualified persons imposed upon the people by some unfortunately rich or wealthy persons, who at the end of elections serve as advisers to ‘our leaders’; for God sake, what kind of advice do you expect such godfathers to offer those they have put in public position – to share revenue from the public treasury among private stakeholders instead of putting it to use for the benefit of public stakeholders. Nigerian leaders so far have shown that they are infected with the virus – fear that makes man greedily pursue monetary (or better avaricious) goals other than pursuing good image. This is why we have our political leaders caught in the act of money laundering, siphoning and other corrupt practices which are ignominious not only to those shameless persons but to the Nigerian identity as a whole. Another major mistake Nigerian leaders make in the design of reform programmes is the elimination of stakeholders’ interest in the reform plans; in one of his articles in the dailies, Deon Rossouw was quoted to have stated thus:

‘ In line with the inclusive model of corporate governance that prevails in Africa, all country codes, with the exception of the Nigerian one, emphasizes that there should be regular engagements with stakeholders. Engagement with stakeholders is being effected through the regular channels of communication that exist in the annual general meeting and through regular disclosure of financial reports.’

The statement above shows the observed incompleteness in the reform process in Nigeria. This incompleteness accounts for the unsuccessful positive branding of the Nigerian entity. The governance of a country determines the rate of development of that country. The mainframe of the faulty Nigerian image is the deceptive and politicized factors, which characterize reforms programme in the country.

In the area of economy, Nigeria is not faring well and this unmistakably calls for reforms. The standard of a nation’s economy is not measured by what its leaders are able to afford in foreign accounts, or what the elites are able to afford; it is rather measured by the standard of living of its citizens. What can we say about the economic situation in Nigeria? Very appalling and pathetic. The chasm between the rich and the poor is very wide, we are not saying that everyone in the country must be equally rich, however, for a country as rich as Nigeria, poverty should not be so present that it can be measured from the physical appearance of the rich and the poor. In a polity of people of same race, there still exist discrimination in condition of living and public marginalization in economic reforms formulation and implementation. When the whites still physically colonized us, we complained and fought discrimination, but this is now the mainstay of the economical system in Nigeria.

Looking at our educational sector, the situation is nothing to write home about. Nigeria’s educational rating in the international environment has a substandard position. This is not because students are not well taught or that there are no qualified Nigerian teachers and lecturers, but because the lackadaisical and haphazard system of coordinating education in Nigeria is apparent to the international environment. A lot of reforms put up by the government seems very right, however, the way they are implemented other than bring about a face-lift result in confusion and in some cases repulsion from the populace for which the reforms are intended.

Nigeria’s International Relations is being badly dented due to various indecent acts exuded by some unscrupulous citizens and political leaders alike. Though the federal government appears to be doing a lot about repairing the indignant image of the country through a series of institutions put up to show that the government is not in liaison with the nefarious acts, which have been portraying the polity as a corrupt hideout, those reforms appear at times to have political subterfuge undertones in implementation, because of their malhandling, and for this reason, such reforms are militated against by those who are supposed to have been in concordance with the policies made, hence it is not uncommon in Nigeria to find two or more institutional bodies fighting each other or one another over the implementation of a good reform policy. These internal imbalances have further aggravated the problems of ensuring successful reforms in Nigeria, and have consequently affected Nigeria negatively in the international society. In 1999, when president Olusegun Obasanjo after resumption in office, wanted to sell Nigeria to foreign investors, he traveled across the globe to achieve this aim, however, his quest met futility as a result of the negative image Nigeria already possesses. This can be traced to communication gap and insincerity in expression of reform policies in Nigeria.

There are of course other areas in which Nigeria is faulty in terms of reforms, however the aforementioned are prominent among all. At this juncture, we need to get it right that it is not that the Nigerian government is ignorant of the immense contributory solution Public Relations proffers to the successful implementation of reforms in the polity, but a misunderstanding of the concept of Public Relations, which makes most leaderships apply advertising, propaganda, publicity, assassination, bribery and others that are not Public Relations as instruments of trying to implement reforms is the painful irony. For instance in the case of renowned professor Fabian Osuji, the former minister of education, he ignorantly misconstrued public relations for bribery, yet he admitted it overlooking the ignominy such absurdity has on his person, and I wonder how the international society would have laughed Nigerian to scorn when the scandal became public knowledge, I am sure some critics would have asked, ‘how if possible that the minister of Nigeria for education does not know what public relations is, how will his subordinates or the students know even other more complex things?’. The man could not be said to be illiterate but professionally he is, if he had applied the services of professional public relations practitioners to the issue of allocation of resources to his ministry, he would not have made a mess of himself and compoundedly retain the problem he was willing to solve. The same scandal has a connection with political interests and it saw Adolpus Wabara, bow out in shame from the political scene. Or better still one could reach the conclusion from studying the trend in Nigeria that the government prefers making use of quacks and willing puppets in place of institutions responsible for reforms for mischievous reasons, perhaps so that those institutions would be bound to bow to their whims and caprices pending when money and resources meant for reform contracts would be transferred to private accounts or used for selfish reasons. Behind these detestable acts, the actors have reforms behind their minds, but they failed to apply public relations in its professional form and this exacerbates the problem the more.

The crisis in the Niger Delta here in Nigeria is another case. The issue of kidnapping did not just start when the youths became lethally restive. It had started a long time ago, but since a planned programmed solution was not instituted to put the budding crises under check, it resulted in a crises of international proportion.

All these expositions show that Nigeria is in dare need of reforms; the point now is ‘how does Public Relations fit into actualizing the dream of rebranding and repackaging the Nigerian entity?’ This question will be answered in the subsequent paragraphs.

Public Relations in Reforms? The links!
The import of the application of every concept is derived from the definition of that concept, we would not understand the place of public relations in reforms if we do not know what Public Relations is. For this reason, we need to define public relations. The most acceptable and generalized definition of public relations was propounded at an international conference in the city of Mexico in the year 1978 when about 30 national and international bodies of public relations met – Lanre Kuye et al, Issues in Pr?

The definition runs thus:

‘Public relations is the art and the social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organization’s and the publics’ interest’

In fact, the definition of public relations already explicitly spells out its indispensable place in reforms in Nigeria; however, it will not be left for an unconsensual debate, it will be elucidatingly explained in the preceding paragraphs. Here we take a look at the key points in the definition given above and strewn them into the right place in the topic of our discourse – Reforms in Nigeria: The Place of Public Relations; these key points are:

Public Relations in Nigerian Reforms? Link 1 – Formation of Reform Policy with Foresight and Continuity

Firstly, ‘Public Relations is the art and the social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences….’, this aspect of the definition of public relations shows that the act of public relations is not extemporaneous, but a deliberate, planned and sustained one, this makes it an art and for the fact that it is concerned primarily with human relationships and the environment makes it a social science. It aims at studying the dimension of goings on in the environment, this makes public relations very essential not only in reforms implementation, but at the elementary stage of reform policies. The involvement of professional public relations practitioners in the formulation of reform policies makes it possible for the policy to possess inherent proactive factors, which will make the policy fit into future arrangements. The involvement of public relations in reforms puts into consideration the likely outcomes of a programme aimed at reforms, hence public relations puts a check on uncertainties that might arise in the future. If the Nigerian government were able to involve public relations in reforms programmes, there would not have been the events of chaotic outcomes from the initiation of reforms. The reason why most reforms do not see the light of the day or fall short along the way without seeing maturity is that they lack consistency in themselves likewise fall short of heuristic values. In addition, it is a trend in the Nigerian environment that charlatans and the wrong institution be asked to handle the right programme. The programme of giving Nigeria a new brand or image is solely the responsibility of public relations, and until this is effected, there can be no truly branding of a new Nigeria. The reason why most times Nigeria’s ‘Titianic’ hits the iceberg is due to lack of foresight, it is during the course of the implementation of most reforms that leaders fashion short cut means to cover up inconsistencies in their reform plans, and this often times results into the use of propaganda, bribery, blackmail and other deceitful means in the name of public relations with the intention of solving problems inherent in the poor initiated reforms programme, this in the long run culminates into chaos and calamitous consequences. Even the Bible states:

‘ A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly and suffers the consequences’
- Proverbs 27:12

A recurring mistake that has often plagued reforms in Nigeria is not formation or adoption of good reform policies, but the inability for sustainability and continuity of these reform programmes, this is a vacuum public relations has to fill. With planned, deliberate and sustained efforts which are features of public relations, reforms in Nigeria will do better than before with the involvement of public relations in their formation.

Public Relations in Nigerian Reforms? Link 2 – Adviser to Reform Policy makers

‘… counseling organization leaders ….’ This aspect of the concept of public relations makes it necessary in Nigerian Reforms programmes in the sense that professional public relations practitioners are needed to serve as advisers to reform policy makers. This will ensure that leaders are guided in their quest to bring a change to the Nigerian environment through reforms, and this will ensure that in times of contingency, public relations stands to effect reactive solutions to crises, while for budding crises, public relations will be in place to design proactive solutions which will nip any budding crises in the bud should the event arise. Generally speaking one of the basic problems with Nigeria in terms of reforms is always either that the right person is not in the right place or that ‘Ahitophellic’ advisers, who give the wrong or selfish advice, surround the right person. Public relations is in itself a management function, and its place in reforms on this premise is to see to it that leaders are enlightened on the consequences of actions, so that they look before leaping. Every leader is saddled with the responsibility of taking decisions, which he/she supposes will ensure improvement in situation of things for publics and the organization at large, a handsome dosage of public relations would do well to see that such visions are well designed, expressed and sustained towards positive fruition.

Public Relations in Nigerian Reforms? Link 3 – Implementation of Reform Policy

‘ … implementing planned programmes of action ….’ Public Relations aside shouldering the duty of policy formation and policy makers’ advisers also performs the vital duty of seeing to it that policies formulated are well implemented and not only that, but sustained so that it has continuity in its positive effects. In fact, the programme of reforming Nigeria, is centrally the function of public relations. The involvement of professional public relations practitioners in Nigerian reforms ensures that reforms programmes are proficiently put to execution through selective means such as facility visits, press conference, journals, news conference, press release and other well designed media through which open communication is facilitated and which are certain to elicit mutual sympathy, acceptance, interest and knowledge of publics on the implications of the reforms programme. Here the open expression of intentions to publics which Public Relations includes in the execution of plans would definitely suppress any thought of deceit from government and public skepticism with which most reform programmes in Nigeria are characterized. A situation where contractors are awarded contracts to put up social infrastructures that could bring a facelift to the society and improve the well being of the people, but end up doing virtually nothing will be eradicated if they know that, they have to openly account for their responsibilities and this would move the nation toward a successful reformation.

Public Relations in Nigerian Reforms? Link 4 – Two-way Communication/Protect the Interest of All

‘ … serve both the organization’s and the public interest ….’ The beauty of public relations lies in this very quality of fairness, which it innately possesses. The involvement of public relations in reforms in Nigeria will definitely eradicate the anomaly of a good reform programme facing stiff opposition from the public. The involvement of Public relations in Nigerian reform programmes will surely ensure that the public interest is considered in the formulation, expression and implementation of reforms. The involvement of public relations will eventually transform the Nigerian scene, especially the attitude of the publics for which reform programmes are intended from negativism to positivism. According to Frank Jefkins, public relations will bring about the following positive changes in the attitude of public in the following ways, conversion of – HPAI to SAIK in the analyses below:

H – Hostility S – Sympathy
P – Prejudices A – Acceptance
A – Apathy I – Interest
I – Ignorance K – Knowledge

Jefkins further elucidates on this grounds when he explained that prior to the employment of public relations in an organization, the case is always that of negativism, but public relations adds value to such organization upon employment by transferring the negativism to positivism; these are the hallmark of the transfer process – Lanre Kuye et al, Issues in Pr?

In same vein, the place of public relations is essential for the purpose of a conducive atmosphere for reforms in Nigeria. Most times in the Nigerian environment, when reform programmes are embarked upon, adequate communication to enlighten the publics or stakeholders on the essence of the programmes is not put in place, and many at times when communication is put in place, it is designed in a one-way or downward structure, hence feedback is not incorporated in the communication design and this makes the publics of the reform programme feel imposed upon or unable to satisfy their curiosity as concerning obfuscating aspects of the programme. This ‘unpublic relations’ attitude has earned President Obasanjo the infamous title of ‘civilian dictator’ in the press and polity in general.

The place of a two-way communication in reforms cannot be overestimated. We should get it right here that communication is essential in the actualization of peace, which bullets cannot achieve; one contemporary scholar expresses the vitality of communication when he wrote:

‘men communicate to make a desirable attitude popular, thereby increasing the uniformity of opinion’ – Ifedayo Daramola (Introduction to Mass Communication).

Two-way communication if incorporated in reforms programmes in Nigeria, will always make room for general acceptability of the formulation, expression and implementation of those reform programmes. But this cannot be possible without the application of Public Relations, which in itself has the use of a two-way communication as a veritable tool. Late Sam Black, an honorary Professor of Public Relations, and a past president of International Public Relations Association defined public relations as:

‘ … the establishment of a two-way communication to resolve conflict of interest by seeking common grounds or areas of mutual interest in the establishment of understanding based on truth, honesty and full information’
- Lanre Kuye et al, Issues in Pr?

In Nigeria, most times, reform programmes are put up without enough or full information to carry the publics along and this poses the government as dictators, whom the publics will seldom regard with having good intentions. And in where (if at all) communication is set up, it comes in the form of propaganda, and so at the end of a promised time when the result of a reform programme is to be measured by the publics, it is discovered that the government has been fabricating promises all the while. A relevant example is the issue of repairing the unserviceable refineries in Nigeria, which the present regime, during the first tenure put forward as the rationale behind the increase in prices of petroleum products, but at the end, despite the neck breaking price the people had to pay to acclimatize themselves to the travails of hike in fuel price, the refineries in the end were not repaired whereas the government necessitated another fuel price hike, this resulted into industrial actions of national scale. Another instance was the unceremonious execution of the educational reform policy, which is intended to further test the admission worthiness of potential students into higher institutions. The introduction of the policy was so unceremonious and this elicited vituperation from various stakeholders. The programme, though loaded with a lot of positive benefits appalled many people including some educational institutions to which the reform programme was not properly communicated. There was no uniformity in the execution of the programme, and most schools were seen to have exploited students through the unaltruistic implementation of the programme. These are all anomalies Public Relations stands to prevent or eradicate in reforms in Nigeria.

These examples show the absence of the involvement of genuine application of public relations in most of the reform policies in Nigeria. And for as long as Nigerian leaders fail to apply public relations in reforms programmes, there is every tendency that things would not go impartially right with the development of the polity.

Public Relations in Nigerian Reforms: Candid Summary

I submit here that individual and national success, improvement and public relations are so intertwined that they are inseparable. The place of public relations in reforms in Nigeria cannot be compromised. It is only with the involvement of genuine public relations coupled with good leadership that Nigeria can be truly reformed. Nigeria has all the natural resources to outgrow its present stunted growth, but has continued to ignore the efficacy of the real image builder – public relations to actualize true reforms.

Dele Olukoju, the General Manager Richardson and Briggie expressed this clearly, when he wrote:

‘ the reason why Nigeria has not been able to make any appreciable progress in the project of rebranding Nigeria was because government abandoned the professionals and is working with contractors’.

I wonder whether it is because of the openness which public relations has as its benchmark and which of course is vital to successful reformation, but which negates deceit, unscrupulousness and propaganda for which most reform programmes in Nigeria are characterized that has made our leaders shun its involvement in a true and pragmatic sense, after all Nigeria is characterized with terminating the existence of anything, whether human of idea that poses to bring about fairness and openness to move the polity forward. It is really pathetic that we have the solution to our problems right in our hands, but prefer to go on in the dark paths. I look forward to a day when our nation will eventually have a leader whose priority is good image not avarice, a leader who will be able to appreciate and put to use the instrumentality of public relations in gearing the country to the summit of improvement and correction which are the brass tacks of reforms.

The process of branding Nigeria is supposed to entail the initial identification of stakeholders and then policy formulation putting into consideration how the government will engage the masses’ interest in the reform programme. Only public relations stand as the institution that holds the solution to the successful branding of Nigeria; its place in reforms in Nigeria is immeasurable, invaluable and indispensable. Public relations is the answer.

Using Public Relations to its full potential

When people think about public relations (PR), images of schmoozing with clients and excessive amounts of champagne may come to mind.  But professional, properly-executed PR activities involve much more than a free lunch, and have the power to gain enormous exposure for your business, build your brand, attract new clients and customers, as well as improve internal relations between staff and management.

A basic definition of public relations is the establishment and maintenance of a good image for the company, its products and services.  If you search the internet, you will find many definitions of PR, but the key is to understand that public relations extends to all aspects of how a company deals with and communicates with its potential and existing audiences, including responsiveness, professionalism and presentation.

Public relations activities generally encompass the avenues you use to communicate with both your external and internal audiences.  Your external audiences may include your customers and clients (existing and potential), suppliers, share-holders, external stakeholders, the community, governments or authorities, the media, or the general public.  Internal audiences are usually your employees or contractors.  It is very common for businesses to concentrate on their external relations and ignore those people closest to them, but attention to your internal programs can mean the difference between highly-informed and motivated staff compared to employees who feel “they never know what is going on”.

Externally-focused public relations activities to help build your business:

Websites and online activities Press releases to media outlets such as online publishers, newspapers, magazines, radio and television Professionally-written brochures and product flyers Newsletters, e-newsletters, company magazines Product launches Seminars, workshops, conferences and networking events Forums, blogs, and social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter Evaluation forms and customer surveys Thank you cards or corporate gifts

Internally focused PR activities to strengthen employee relations:

Employee newsletters, memos, notice boards, emails Regular meetings, team training sessions Social club activities Employee feedback and suggestion boxes Staff-only website areas and intranets Company-funded dinners, celebrations, award ceremonies and achievements Employee of the month

Just like planning your business and your marketing, public relations activities, both internal and external, should be strategic and focused on achieving corporate goals.  Be consistent with your messages and activities, know what you are trying to achieve and why.  If you aren’t already doing so, take another look at your public relations activities, make an effort to give them the attention they deserve and you will see beneficial results as you improve your business both inside and out.

International Relations

“We all live very global lives. Whether it be the films we like, the clothes we wear or the food we eat, every day we sample a little bit of another nation and it never stops being exciting. Global relations might be something most of us think is reserved for diplomats, but many opportunities for interaction with other nations, for promoting cooperation and understanding between countries exist right upon our backdoor, a particularly poignant offering considering the current political climate. Indeed, if we look to our children for the world’s future, implementing a global education (as opposed to the national education usually in place in school systems) is becoming rapidly regarded as the logical step. Equally, with qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), instilling a sense of the cosmopolitan in our youth is no longer a task reserved for the individual, as schemes and structures exist to make your youngsters as metropolitan as Holly Golightly herself. So why aren’t parents jumping at the chance?

It could well be because of the strange amount of myths surrounding this kind of education. The largest culprit is the idea that your child should be sent off to some remote and isolated part of the country. Whilst formerly this was the case, international schools can now be found in cities all over the world. Say for example you are looking for an IB school in London, a quick Google search now will certainly unearth a high profile, independent school London based, or even Paris based, New York based and beyond. Compared to perhaps a decade ago, this is quite a triumph. Finally parents can be assured their child is somewhere reachable, and will be surrounded not only with those of their own age, but the diverse people of these cities- more than enough to help these budding internationalists grow

Other myths are centred around price and entrance requirements. As to be expected prices differ from institute to institute, but a good IB school will not differ dramatically in fees to a similar independent school teaching the national curriculum. Moreover, not every school will insist on board, and whilst entrance requirements will be far tougher than for a comprehensive school, exams are more straightforward than some of the cryptic aptitude tests in place for grammar schools. Where the debate really becomes heated is with regards to university requirements. Universities will always give preference to home students, however this issue is complicated by international qualifications. Some critics have argued that to some extent IB qualified home students suffer greater than home students qualified via the national curriculum. Whilst there may be some truth in this, this is a tide that is turning rapidly and children entered into an international course of education will most likely benefit significantly nationally as well as having greater options for international study. Moreover, education cannot be underestimated for its value not only in terms of career but personal development, an IB educated child will benefit from a range of compulsory subjects including a language, a rare asset in today’s market.

International relations term paper: what it takes to write?

Writing International relations essay is a distinctive subject that needs more than just writing. It is serious kind of assignment, which needs thorough research as for a master’s essay. One can say that it is an advanced form of essay writing.
Like for all essays, the first and foremost task is to search a topic. but, in IR there is a need of approaching the topic significantly. One can write a best essay of IR by fulfilling the needs and demands of the readers. Usually the manner of topic approaching and making it according to the reader’s demands can give brilliant results.
• International relations topics are usually too broad to be tackled by an unprofessional student. Students must track some features of interest which they think of interest. An IR essay topic can be of any past event, or on any important present happening.  
• The introduction should be written in an interesting manner. The more you write a powerful intro, the more readers you can attract. For an IR essay, a political statement can be a good start.
•  The body paragraphs should comprise of the content which you have searched body paragraph is written from different sources being used in data collection. An IR essay needs thorough reading and a political event must be included to create interest.
• The conclusion part should conclude the discussion by giving your own opinion, or suggestion.
• An interesting part is the organization, which is of foremost importance. One can add new ideas and can implement these in an IR essay. Developing an essay outline can arrange the overall essay accordingly.
• Proofreading the content and multiple revisions can end up in an error free work. Simple language and terms should be used in order to build better understanding the important points must be revealed and put under consideration of the reader.

Improving International Relations With the Konov Principle

International relations; that is, the relations between both nations and their people, cannot be improved enough. The human race is separated by language, race, mentality, and very strict borders. Are there really methods to improve these relations and bring people, cultures and nations together? According to Serge Konov, the modern Russian philosopher and film producer, there are. Using his principle of Genetic Memory Recall, he refers to a time when all people were similar with the only differences among them, being in variation, not in conflicts.

In his latest film, entitled Finding t.A.T.u. (staring Misha Barton) he applies his principle in the area of film production. He has taken a rather mundane story, and created a space for conflict resolution and has done so in a practical way. While viewing the story of a lonely American teenage girl in Moscow finding part of her mature self in a coming-of-age drama, he also weaves both the story line and creative process with the cooperation and improvement of international relations he espouses.

At one level the story finds the American teenager bonding with a Russian one, first on the internet, and later personally. The principles of both electronic communication and personal communication meet face to face. The Konov Principle has as one of its tenets, such communication, and its evolution, to finally communicating with one’s own genetic codes! The two girls find their bond is a role model and a archetype, (in this case, the singing duo t.A.T.u.)

In another aspect of the film, Konov uses his principle to demonstrate one’s never ending activity of having to choose between exercising their volition, or accepting a pre-destined fate. Later he expands this by presenting the same girls (representing on a deeper level the youth of today’s Russia and America) making another choice. This time it is between loyalty and logic. These choices are presented by a character powerfully played by Igor Desyatnikov, himself a prominent Russian thinker, actor, singer and businessman. The choices are between the elements of good and evil.

One will have to wait and see how the famous and very artistic director Roland Joffe (Mission, The Killing Fields, Captivity) interprets these issues, but one can be sure, it will be done well. The team making the film is again, a representation of improved international relations. The production company (RAMCO) is an American-Russian joint venture. Mr. Konov is never tired to explain, “one must be consistent in their thoughts and actions. RAMCO is a working practical example of the improved international relations being discussed, even now at the highest world levels”.

Other films are planned, and the unifying element in each will certainly be a the Konov Principle in action. In the first film Captivity, man’s basic inhumanity to man is examined in its extreme case. In Finding t.A.T.u. we are taken to back to the problems of maturing, and re-faced in the adult world of decision making. The subsequent films will no doubt be some logical continuation to that thought process

Online PhD in International Relations

One of the most popular fields of study today is international relations. The popularity of international relations is rooted from its nature. The topic of international studies is an interdisciplinary course that covers so many disciplines of social sciences. It takes up points in politics, history, economics and so much more. This is definitely a useful course to take up.

The great thing about international studies is that you can take it up online. If you are qualified, even, you can take up you doctorate in international studies online. There are many schools today that offer distance learning or online PhD programs on international studies. Though there are different standards, depending on the institution you are applying for, there are certain requirements that common amongst all distance PhD programs.

Of course, you would have to be a holder or a Bachelors Degree on a related field. Most institutions require you to have one with honorable mention. If not, you may be required to have a Masters Degree, also on a related field of study. Second, you are expected to meet the required GPA. Different programs have different requirements; the more prestigious the school, the higher the grade requirement.

In order to complete the online PhD program, you would have to submit all necessary requirements and meet their passing standards. Distance PhD programs are a bit harder to complete since you have to do your own research independently. After doing, so you will be awarded with a PhD in International Relations.

If you consider yourself a future PhD candidate and looking for further information about online PhD degree programs, please check free resources and advice at online PhD Degree Programs. Also check free advice and further related information for online PhD in international relations.

International Relations


International relations as a discipline is a branch of politics or political science to be specific. It specializes with the study of relations between states or what is commonly referred to as foreign affairs. It is also concerned with global issues that are not necessarily dealt with state actors, like climatic changes, globalization and environmental degradation among others.

In addition it is necessary to note that the field of international relations does cover other specialized entities like non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, intra-governmental organizations as well as supra-governmental agencies.

Apart from being a branch of political science international relations is a discipline that draws a lot from other disciplines. For example international relations draws a lot from economics, law, geography, history, sociology and law.


The international system in a layman’s definition could be defined as a global system in politics that incorporates not only a person individually but also, the nation state as a sovereign entity, the intergovernmental network, trans-national co-operation as well as the global village. Thus the international system is that system that conjoins all people individually, democratically, socially, organization and trade-wise.

Although international systems are well studied through international relations it is important to note that only the contemporary international system has been has been studied deeply in international relations since it has only been existent from the start of the cold war era.


An international society can be defined as a unique group within the international system that is relatively specialized and its membership is limited. Although it brings people from all over the world together, an international society deals with people with a common cause.


International relations as a discipline did not exist as a field of study until after the Second World War. It was not until the formation of the League of Nations and subsequently the United Nations that the discipline has taken root. Despite this fact, it is however necessary to note that the international system has ever been existent since the discovery of the Americas.

The study of international relations can be viewed from many perspectives depending on the theory of analysis. Due to this fact it however not surprising to find that the definition and analysis of international systems and societies will also be varied.

Among the key theories that purport to explain the nature of international systems and societies include; liberalist theory, neo-liberalist theory, realism, Marxism as well as the dependency theory. Each of these theories views the international system or an international society from its own point of view.

From a liberalist perspective the international system can be viewed as a global system that has assisted in the development of globalization, increased trade and the transfer of technology worldwide. On the other side an international society can be viewed as any specialized global agency that concerns itself with the development of a single field of science or study e.g. the international society for optical engineering.

If we were to look at the two concepts from a dependency theory perspective we could define an international system as the global system through which the western world, or the developed nations and most colonial powers used in order to gain power to imperialize and subsequently exploit resources from most of the developing world. From the same perspective we could define an international society as any advances global agency that has or is acting as a catalyst in the advancement of global exploitation of resources especially from the third world countries.

An International society can also be viewed as an international institution. These international institutions usually play a very important role in contemporary politics or international relations to be more particular. Nowadays much interaction at the global or international system level is carried out through these institutions.

The role of sovereign nation states as the basic political communities is increasingly being challenged. This is as a result of increasing global institutions that command more resources than specific countries and thus are better equipped to deal with emerging pandemics, climatic changes, and the threat of terrorism among many others.

In addition some of  these international societies have been able to address issues of refugees, political and legal status of people who have become stateless as well as being able to address new challenges as the “Dogville” effect more precisely than nation-states.

The role of international societies or institutions has also been advanced by the constrained pluralism concept being advanced by such futurists as Paul Raskin. According to this concept there are three characteristics or principles that advance for the formation of these international societies or institutions.

The first characteristic is that of irreducibility. According to this principle there are some issues that can only be decided at the global level. Some of these include the control of carbon dioxide emissions, terrorism among others.

The second principle is that of subsidiary. This principle advances that in an increasingly interacting global village there needs to be a limit on the scope of global issues delegated to global authority while at the same time allowing for smaller issues being addressed by lower state levels.

The third dimension is that of heterogeneity, this characteristic allows for the existence of diverse types of regional and local institutions given the fact that they meet global challenges and obligations.


Although the field of international relations is quite young as compared to other disciplines like its parent political science, the discipline has tried to offer the best analysis of its subject matter. As more global challenges faces the global community it is up to the intellectual community within the discipline to devise new theories and mechanisms to help solve these global challenges.

Through the international system the process of globalization has been accelerated. In addition the process of international trade and the spread of more modern and efficient technologies has been improved also.

The role of the international system and international societies or institutions has become more important in a developing world and it is up to the designers of international relations to devise new ways of advancing the role of foreign affairs and global institutions in order to build a better community not only for the current generation but also for generations to come.


Jeffrey Haynes (2002), Politics in the Developing World: A Concise Introduction, Blackwell Publishing.

John Baylis, Steve Smith (1997), The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Joseph S. Nye (2006), Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, Pearson Longman.

Martha A. Finnemore (1996), National Interests in International Society, Cornell University Press, Cornell.

Raskin Paul (2006), the Great Transition Today: A Report from the Future



International Relations Theory as a Foundation of Foundations


Theoretic approaches towards studying international relations and systems of international cooperation may be regarded as the required attempt for systematizing chaotic decisions and solutions. Nevertheless, the deeper study of various schools give the clear representation of the systems and reasons of various processes.

In fact, this discipline may be interesting for everyone who is fond of the history of international and diplomatic relations. The division of the theory into two main schools explains numerous international processes and tendencies, as most of them may be explained either from realistic or liberalistic points of view. Surely, there are also Marxist (and neo-Marxist) approaches; however, they involve realistic and liberalistic views. Additionally, this theory presupposes knowing of lots of other aspects, and the academic discipline is not able to involve some important elements, such as:

International information flows


Conspiracy theory

International civil associations and movements


Cornerstones and Difficulties

In order to study the international relations theory, students need to realize the systematic nature of knowledge in this sphere. In fact, there are no stated patterns and rules, as global leaders act in accordance with the current circumstances. However, all the tendencies and processes are systematized and assessed in accordance with the regarded approaches.

The key difficulties of the discipline is the impossibility to realize all the aspects and tendencies staying within the frames of the academic program, as some elements of theory are often taught within the frames of separate courses, while some of them are required for deeper understanding of numerous theoretical approaches.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the international relations theory may be regarded as the fundamental discipline for historians and political scientists; however, in order to study this basis, students need to be inquisitive, objective and open for whales of information.

Theoretic approaches towards studying international relations and systems of international cooperation may be regarded as the required attempt for systematizing chaotic decisions and solutions. Nevertheless, the deeper study of various schools give the clear representation of the systems and reasons of various processes.

In fact, this discipline may be interesting for everyone who is fond of the history of international and diplomatic relations. The division of the theory into two main schools explains numerous international processes and tendencies, as most of them may be explained either from realistic or liberalistic points of view. Surely, there are also Marxist (and neo-Marxist) approaches; however, they involve realistic and liberalistic views. Additionally, this theory presupposes knowing of lots of other aspects, and the academic discipline is not able to involve some important elements, such as:

International information flows


Conspiracy theory

International civil associations and movements


Cornerstones and Difficulties

In order to study the international relations theory, students need to realize the systematic nature of knowledge in this sphere. In fact, there are no stated patterns and rules, as global leaders act in accordance with the current circumstances. However, all the tendencies and processes are systematized and assessed in accordance with the regarded approaches.

The key difficulties of the discipline is the impossibility to realize all the aspects and tendencies staying within the frames of the academic program, as some elements of theory are often taught within the frames of separate courses, while some of them are required for deeper understanding of numerous theoretical approaches.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the international relations theory may be regarded as the fundamental discipline for historians and political scientists; however, in order to study this basis, students need to be inquisitive, objective and open for whales of information.

The Role of Classical Liberalism and Realist Approach in International Relations as an Academic Discipline

The classical liberal approach focused mainly on the feature of cooperation among two or more entities, where there is promotion of peaceful ideas abd harmonious coordination between two individuals or two different states. This approach propagated the cause for progress and development of each group without unhealthy means where another party could suffer any set back. It believed man to be good in nature and hence a social animal which furthers the cause of good-will and is against every harm.


Wheras, in the classical realist approach we see a complete contrary picture where man is considered to be inherently aggressive and selfish in nature and for his own self-interest, he can go to any extreme through any means to acquire his desires disturbing the peace and harmony of the other. This approach promotes chaos and anarchy in a society and with this approach the society can only deteriorate with conflicts and wars all around.


Now, both of these appraoches are quite contrary to each other and hence, one is a thesis and the other could be taken as its antithesis. Both of these approaches have their own methodology and school of thought with many thinkers presenting strong arguments in favour of their approach to interpret the situations and circumstances occuring in the world. They both have their own significance in their own respect. One approach can be applied to a particular incident and the other to another incident. But, these two approaches can also overlap each other when it comes to understanding the different dimensions of a given situation. As every incident has many complicated issues and matters attached to it, which makes it difficult to ascertain its true essence with complete accuracy. Therefore, according to this, both approaches are helpful in understanding the international relations between states and their behaviour with each other, which either depends on power itself or in the coordination to acquire that power-status.


International Relations Degree From an Australian University

If you are considering a career with the State Department and are planning to pursue an international relations degree, you might think about attending college in Australia. The Australian National University offers one of the most comprehensive courses of study in this field in addition to its other fine degree programs.

One of the advantages to attending an Australian college is the fact that they speak your language. The culture of Australia also shares many similarities with that in the U.S., while the differences are intriguing; both nations were founded prior to the 19th Century as colonies of the British Empire, and patterns of settlement were similar. In both countries, there were conflicts with indigenous peoples that had a major impact on how those societies developed. In Australia, college does not differ greatly from that which you are already familiar.

Among Australian colleges, ANU’s Department of International Relations is considered to have one of the leading such graduate degree programs in the world.  The program combines theory and practical applications with an emphasis on Asia and the Pacific Rim. This program is the only one of its kind in Australia, and scholars from all over the world come to ANU in order to study geo-political issues that are slowly transforming the planet. This graduate degree draws on a number of disciplines in the social sciences, including:

•    political science
•    sociology
•    history
•    anthropology
•    law
•    economics
•    philosophy

In order to qualify for this program, you will need to have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields and maintained a minimum academic standard.

Another key is preparation. If you are planning to complete an international relations degree at the Australian College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU, you will have to get started at least a year in advance. Applications can take time to process; in addition, you’ll need to make certain your passport is up-to-date, make travel arrangements as well as living arrangements while you are in attendance.

Degree programs through a college in Australia can be tremendously rewarding and allow you to earn the credentials you need while giving you a broader perspective in the field of international relations and diplomacy.