MIR 2017 Opening Ceremony
The tenth intake of the Master in International Relations (MIR) gathered the first week of October for the inauguration of the 2017-2018 class at the Aula Magna of IE’s University Madrid campus. Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of International Relations, greeted all 35 students from around the world by signaling that we are surrounded by major challenges and living in times of deep instability. “Given such a global context, including Brexit, North Korea, China’s transformation and the continuous rise of populisms, among others, we need to ask how we solve these issues,” he said as he welcomed arriving students. “The world is growing faster than ever by many metrics, be it population, GDP growth or calorie intake by head and we need professionals to address the impact of change.” Clearly the timing and place could not be better to kick start the MIR and walk into the academia world aware of the fact that we have a role to play in these and many other issues that are at the forefront of international relations today.
The Dean set the tone for what will be a year in which we will deep dive into many areas, topics, regions within the International Relations discipline. A discipline, as he remarked, that is moving quickly and in which the governance implications on a national and international level will be very big. The class was seated in the Aula Magna and had a special visit by IE University’s President, and President of the IE Foundation, Diego del Alcázar. The room was charged with excitement and curiosity from all incoming MIR students ranging from 19 different nationalities, many of whom are bi-nationals and have developed an entrepreneurial experience. Waya Quiviger, Executive Director of the MIR, spoke about what are some differentiators of the MIR, such as that it’s a program that lies at the intersection of the public, private and non-profit sectors, that it is a complete program with a strong focus on theory and practice and that we will benefit without a doubt from the close ties between the different schools at IE, including the world renown business school. Of those graduating from graduate international relations programs offered by members of the Association of Professional Schools of International Relations (APSIA), including IE’s MIR, around 35% go on to work in the public sector, 30% in the private sector, 30% in NGOs and 5% elsewhere.
The ceremony also had a special guest with an opening keynote speech by Mark Florman, CEO, Time Partners Limited, who has had a broad experience both in the private, public and non for profit sectors and is a leading authority on the world’s most entrenched socio-economic challenges. During his presentation he spoke about some issues that are of the utmost interest for all incoming students of the MIR 2017/2018 and on the need to address our long term fundamental challenges underlined by ageing societies and falling birth rates. Among the notions he introduced and that has already sparked several conversations is the External Rate of Return (ERR), an inclusive, transparent platform for measuring the overall impact of business activities upon the economy and society in general (you can read a summary here). As he explained, the platform is a way to positively maximize, and not just manage, the ripples every organization leaves in its wake: considering job creation, IP, skills development and a range of other key external factors. Mr. Florman, who has worked along governments around the world to build sustainable business, venture capital and investment frameworks for the purpose of job creation, encouraged us congregated, and beyond, to develop a cross system dialog and to not analyze separately society, business and government.
On her behalf, Soizic Belliard, Associate Director of Admissions at IE School of Global and Public Affairs spoke about the quality of the class even at its kick start since there were students from a fairly diverse range of academic backgrounds, including students that held bachelor degree from architecture to law. The inauguration day continued after these presentations with faculty and students coming together for a welcome cocktail in which we had the chance to introduce ourselves and begin to get to know the group of people who will work closely together this year. After a morning of thought provoking ideas in a stimulating environment one could say that we are in for the IR ride of a lifetime.