International Relations

“It was said a few years ago that if the human race is wiped out in the next 50 years, it will not be because of disease or an asteroid, but because of foreign policy and international relations.” –Sheehan + Brocklehurst

Chicago is a global city with an ever-growing number of diplomatic missions, international trade and finance investments, and 28 sister cities spanning Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. As the interconnectedness of our world grows through trade, migration, and policy, consider: What obligation or responsibility do world powers have to other nations? At this global hub, explore global policy decisions from an international perspective, giving equal consideration to all countries from the smallest island nations to the largest world powers. Take on the role of global leaders, corporate CEOs, government agents, and NGO workers as you work with (and against) classmates on international efforts ranging from combating terror cells to containing a global trade war. Plan a response to a national disaster that gets aid to where it’s needed, without becoming embroiled in bureaucratic red tape. Craft policies that address the international refugee crisis and take into account the struggles refugees face on the ground. Delve deep into the dance of international diplomacy, and examine how the interplay between power, order, communication, and self-interest impacts foreign policy and international law. Examine opportunities for working in the field of international relations, and discover what will help jump-start your career in global affairs, including qualifying exams, graduate work, and internships in the public sector and beyond.

All students will be required to bring a laptop.

Who Should Take This Course?

Are you a team player who enjoys untangling seemingly intractable problems? Are you able to think strategically and anticipate the second and third order consequences of international policy? Then, International Relations may be a great course for you. Dive into the weeds of existing international policies and agreements, participate in high-stakes simulations, and debate the most pressing issues facing the international community now.

Advisors + Past Speakers

  • Samantha Power, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • The Honorable Alice Hill, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs + Council on Foreign Relations Member
  • Tom Sass, Former Navy SEAL
  • Inna Pletukhina, Outreach and Communication Officer at International Atomic Energy Agency Division of Nuclear Security
  • Joseph Wippl, Former CIA Officer + Professor of the Practice of International Relations, Boston University
  • Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst
  • Timothy Bakke Jr., Vice Consul, Financial, Professional & Business Services, Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • Rachel "Duffy" Lorenz-Bakke, Corporate & Securities Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Stone Conroy, Senior Analyst of the Geopolitical Analysis and Intelligence team
  • Roderick Chambers, Former CIA Officer
  • Laura Hochla, Deputy Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Madrid
  • Lauren Wolfe, Journalist + Photographer

Plan your summer


Course Highlights

  • Site visits: Consulate and trade organizations

    Chicago is home to more than 80 consulates and consulate generals from all over the globe. It’s ranked the #1 city in the world for foreign investment and international relations impacts the daily life and growth of this global city. Engage with the professional staff of the diplomatic missions and trade organizations.

  • Arctic Security Simulation

    The Arctic ice is melting and opening new opportunities for territorial claims, shipping routes, and shows of military force. Norway, Greenland, Canada, the United States, and Russia must work collaboratively (or competitively) to protect national interests and natural resources.

  • Consult with Global Affairs Experts

    Meet with practicing professionals and experts in the field of diplomatic relations and foreign affairs for an insider look at real-world policy recommendations, studies, and decisions. Past speakers have included Samantha Power, Gideon Rose, and Juliette Kayyem.

This experience will change the way I look at the events that happen around the world because I will look at them with the perspectives of the countries involved, instead of just my country.

Advisors + Past Speakers

Samantha Power

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Samantha Power is a former U.S. United Nations Ambassador and a joint appointee at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government. From 2013-2017, Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Prior to those posts, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights.

The Honorable Alice Hill

Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Alice Hill is currently a Research Fellow for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where she addresses risks, consequences, and responses associated with catastrophic global events, including the cascading failure of infrastructure and social systems. Alice has an uncommon blend of experience—as a federal prosecutor, judge, special assistant to the president, and senior director for the National Security Council. She served as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security in 2009 and for three years beginning in 2013, Hill served in several positions for the National Security Council in the White House. With top-secret security clearance, she managed a team of eight National Security Council Directors and developed Federal policies regarding national preparedness for all hazards of global consequence, including climate. She was honored with the Meta-Leader of the Year award from Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

Gideon Rose

Editor, Foreign Affairs + Council on Foreign Relations Member

Gideon Rose is an analyst and project manager with NASA APPEL, an organization that develops the NASA technical workforce. Rose is also a senior consultant at Cornerstone Group, LLC, a company that provides organizational consulting, training and workshops, leadership coaching, team building, and government consulting. Rose was Editor and Peter G. Peterson Chair of Foreign Affairs magazine, and he also served as the magazine’s Managing Editor. From 1995 to 2000, Rose was the Olin Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and served as Chairman of the Council’s Roundtable on Terrorism.

Tom Sass

Former Navy SEAL

Thomas Sass served in the United States Navy for nearly a quarter century. A former Navy SEAL, Sass served his country with honor and distinction in operational and staff postings around the world. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard University School of Government as well as a Master of Law and Diplomacy and a PhD in International Relations from the Tufts University School of Law and Diplomacy. Sass is also a member of the United States War College Foundation and serves as one of its Non-Resident Scholars.

Inna Pletukhina

Outreach and Communication Officer at International Atomic Energy Agency Division of Nuclear Security

Inna Pletukhina is an Outreach and Communications Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Division of Nuclear Security. Inna served at the U.S. Department of State advancing policy priorities and managing multimillion-dollar foreign assistance programs in democracy, human rights, and international security. Inna holds a B.A. in Religion from the University of Rochester, M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, and is a Juris Doctor 2019 candidate at American University Washington College of Law. She has been both an EXPLO student and staff member.

Joseph Wippl

Former CIA Officer + Professor of the Practice of International Relations, Boston University

Joseph Wippl is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and a Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. Wippl spent his 30-year career as an operations officer in the National Clandestine Service (NCS) and he later occupied the Richard Helms Chair for Intelligence Collection in NCS Training Program. He has served all over the world in various CIA headquarters.

Juliette Kayyem

CNN National Security Analyst

Juliette Kayyem is a national leader in homeland and national security. She is a national security analyst for CNN, and the Faculty Director of the Homeland Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she is also a lecturer. Kayyem served as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Global Cyber Alliance. In addition, Kayyem was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in The Boston Globe about ending the Pentagon’s combat exclusion rule against women.

Timothy Bakke Jr.

Vice Consul, Financial, Professional & Business Services, Department for International Trade (DIT)

Tim attended Dartmouth College and recently graduated from Chicago Booth Business School where he received his MBA. Tim works at the Department of International Trade for the UK Consulate located in Chicago. As Vice Consul, Tim works with companies in the financial, professional, and business services sectors, helping UK companies access the Midwest US market and US companies in the Midwest region establish/or expand operations in the UK.

Rachel "Duffy" Lorenz-Bakke

Corporate & Securities Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP

Duffy is a partner at Baker McKenzie in Chicago, IL.who focuses on International and Domestic mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and pre and post-transaction corporate reorganizations. Duffy also works closely with Baker & McKenzie’s cross-border tax team on acquisition financing, restructuring and global cash utilization and repatriation projects.

Stone Conroy

Senior Analyst of the Geopolitical Analysis and Intelligence team

Stone Conroy is the Senior Analyst for the Geopolitical Analysis & Intelligence team at United Airlines, where he conducts timely, accurate, relevant, and creative assessments of international security issues and provides analytical support to security leaders during crisis situations such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or major civil unrest. Stone was a Boren Fellow in Nigeria where he served as a Conflict Management and Economic Development Fellow at Mercy Corps, and worked on peacebuilding and economic empowerment programs in the Middle Belt region.

Roderick Chambers

Former CIA Officer

Roderick Chambers is in the strategic and competitive intelligence field, currently working as a business threat intelligence consultant. With a career at the U.S. Department of State that spanned nearly a decade, Chambers served as an Advisor for the Conference on Disarmament and as a Political/Consular Officer. Taking posts in Geneva, Brazil, and Washington, D.C., Chambers worked on visa fraud, toxic weapons research, security protocols for the World Cup, and the Arms Control Trade Treaty.

Laura Hochla

Deputy Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Madrid

A former EXPLO teacher and administrator, Laura has been a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service since 2006. She has served in Madrid, Spain; Tbilisi, Georgia; Washington, DC; Bogota, Colombia; and Pristina, Kosovo. She speaks Spanish, Russian, and Albanian.

Lauren Wolfe

Journalist + Photographer

Lauren Wolfe is an award-winning journalist who currently writes for Foreign Affairs magazine. She is also the Director of Women Under Siege, a journalism project about sexualized violence in conflict that was started by Gloria Steinem at the Women’s Media Center in New York. Wolfe has been recognized numerous times by the Society of Professional Journalists, Fair Media Council, and the Thomas Reuters Foundation. She is frequently called upon for expert analysis on BBC and CNN.