Studying the collective human experience to effect positive change
Growing up in the Balkans, Evan Liaras was always interested in history and international affairs. He saw the conflicts plaguing his region, and wanted to fully understand them—and later teach others to do the same. In the US, he had the chance to meet people from all around the world and learn about other societies, further sparking his desire to dedicate his career to international studies.
“When you meet people who come from such diverse backgrounds from you, you’ll be surprised by what you discover about yourself in the process.”
And he did just that. Upon graduating, Evan’s career took him to Turkey, Spain, the US, the UK, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Guyana, and also back to Greece to volunteer during the financial crisis. Along the way, he was lucky enough to befriend people from vastly different backgrounds, and what he was most surprised by was what he discovered about himself in the process—a perk of stepping outside your comfort zone.
Now, at IE School of Global & Public Affairs, Evan is a full-time professor, which he describes as equal parts rewarding and frustrating. All in all, though, he says he’s learned more as a professor than he ever did as a student—especially in 2020, which taught us to focus on what’s important in the world.
So why IE University? For Evan, it’s one of the best possible places to teach international relations and politics, since it’s renowned for the diversity of its students and staff. He also values the dynamic of open and free speech in the classroom—a luxury he hasn’t had in some of the places he’s lived. Lastly, the quality of life in Spain simply can’t be beaten.
Evan’s taught everything from History to Peace and Conflict, Ethnicity and Nationalism, and Research Methods, all within the realm of international relations. Some of these classes teach about the world today, some about where we come from, some about how to think scientifically, and some about where we may be heading. For Evan, these are all crucial parts of the whole: since international relations is an interdisciplinary field, IR students need a bit of everything in order to put together the world’s pieces like a puzzle.
Mr. Liaras views the study of international politics and conflict as a desperate search for patterns and ways not to repeat the mistakes and tragedies of the past. IR students and professionals draw from the collective human experience in order to try to create a better future.
But not everyone is equipped to do this. If you want to bring about positive change, you need to care deeply. “That’s one thing that can’t be taught,” Evan claims. “You must have it in you.”
“International relations is an interdisciplinary field, and IR students need a bit of everything to put together pieces of the world like a puzzle.”
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Global Affairs & Law | Talent