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From Conflict to Cooperation: A Career in International Relations Specialist

International Relations Manager

Are you an avid reader of the history of world affairs in the last century and now? Or you may not be an avid reader but have an interest in history such as you find it interesting to know which situations and events led to World War II or you find it quite intriguing to understand why the USA continues to support India’s neighbor in spite of the many recorded evidence of its involvement in supporting terrorist activities in its soil? Do you find yourself drawn into current international affairs such as the European countries’ handling of Syrian refugees?

International Relations Specialists are experts in research and analysis of international affairs and the relationships among various countries in the world. They are experts in understanding the causes of various international situations such as Israel’s decisive but controversial actions on Palestine, the reasons behind US’s and UN’s sanctions against Iran, bilateral trade situations between India and China, and so on. Their work help Governments and various Government agencies formulate policies related to political affairs, trade affairs, immigration, defense affairs, etc. They even help transnational companies formulate business strategies.

Why become an International Relations Specialist?

As an International Relations Specialist, your primary job responsibility will be to study the relationships among sovereign nations of the world, analyze how foreign policies of other nations affect your country’s national/foreign policies, and offer actionable advice to your employer/organization that is in sync with the international laws, labor activities, economic policies, and programs.

Your area of expertise will revolve around one or more areas of international relations, such as international trade, international finances, foreign policy, domestic security, sustainable development, human rights, military policies, and other world affairs including politics, economics, language and culture, history, and geography.  

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  1. International Affair Specialist (Diplomacy): As an  International Affair Specialist in Diplomacy, you’ll be responsible for representing your nation before foreign countries and protecting your nation’s interests (economy, politics, trade affairs, etc.) on foreign soil. You will also discuss, negotiate, and mediate with the local government on issues about peace and security, trade and commerce, finance and economics, and also various social and cultural aspects.
  2. International Affairs Specialist  (Governance and Regulations): These professionals specialize in international governance theories, international laws and regulations, diplomacy, and various other issues concerning international relations (for instance, world history, the role of international law in global governance, etc.).
  3. International Affairs Specialist  (International Policies): The core area of focus for these professionals is International Policies. They carry out all kinds of strategic, policy-related activities concerning international laws, regulations, programs, and policies. They also assist justice institutions in drafting policies related to matters of internal conflict and other sensitive issues like gender discrimination, etc.
  4. International Affairs Specialist (Security, Peace, and Conflict): These professionals are expert intelligence analysts whose prime responsibility is to monitor and keep track of global events, global politics, decisions of foreign leaders, the military status of various nations, and so on. They usually operate on three levels: strategic intelligence, tactical intelligence, and counterintelligence.
  5. Regional Specialists: As the name suggests, Regional Specialists are expert intelligence officers who specialize in a particular nation/region. They spend a significant portion of their lives studying a particular nation/region. It is their duty to decode any and every move of that nation/region and provide valuable intel to their employer/organization.

What does an International Relations Specialist do? 

  • Analyzing and interpreting foreign laws and policies.
  • Offering professional advice to employers regarding foreign policies.
  • Identifying and analyzing key trends, policies, and strategies in relation to the global scenario.
  • Collaborating with international institutions/organizations and foreign counterparts.
  • Collaborating with government officials, international organizations, and the public media.
  • Developing and evaluating issues/initiatives/programs by carefully studying international policy and standards, overseas developments, and reports.
  • Formulating policies or other necessary recommendations on assigned projects.
  • Conducting in-depth analyses of assigned issues at the national, regional, and global levels and preparing relevant reports.
  • Developing strategies to improve program effectiveness in line with the proposed regulations, legislation, or resources.
  • Creating and delivering presentations for assigned research projects.
  • Researching, identifying, and creating policy recommendations for reports.
  • Providing befitting statements before the media on foreign policies and activities.

How to become an International Relations Specialist – Eligibility Criteria 

Undergraduate studies after school:

To build a successful career in International Relations, you must complete your graduation either in Political Science / History / Geography / Economics / Sociology or in International Relations/International Affairs. 

Post Graduate studies:

If you wish to bag senior-level job positions in this field, it is essential that you complete your postgraduation level studies in disciplines like Political Science / History / Geography/ Economics / Sociology or you could opt for International Relations/International Affairs. 

Doctoral Studies:

If you wish to study further in this field, you could choose to do a Ph.D. in International Relations / International Affairs.

Educational Fees

The cost of studying International Relations Specialist in India can vary depending on various factors such as the university, location, duration of the course, and whether the student is an Indian citizen or an international student.

Public universities in India generally offer lower tuition fees compared to private institutions. On average, a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from a public university can cost anywhere from INR 30,000 to INR 2,00,000 per year for Indian citizens. For international students, the cost can range from INR 1,50,000 to INR 5,00,000 per year.

Private universities and colleges can be more expensive, and tuition fees can range from INR 1,00,000 to INR 4,00,000 per year for Indian citizens. For international students, the cost can range from INR 2,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 per year.

Job Opportunities

As an International Relations Specialist in India, you’ll find that most of the employment opportunities in this sector lie in Academia (Universities), Research Foundations involved in studying Social Sciences, and NGOs. However, you can also find some job opportunities in various government and security agencies and also in foreign embassies/foreign services. 

Salary of an International Relations Specialist

The salaries of International Relations Specialists essentially depend on their job profile. For instance, the average monthly salary of an Indian Diplomat is around Rs. 90,000 – 2,20,000 if she/he is working in the country itself. However, the salary can scale up to Rs. 2,40,000, if she/he is posted in foreign countries like the UK, USA, etc. There are various other perks too in foreign postings along with free accommodation, car, etc. 

The average monthly salary of an International Security or Defence Analyst ranges anywhere between Rs. 45,000 – 1,00,000 or more per month. The average monthly salary of an Intelligence Analyst working for government/security agencies can range anywhere between Rs. 90,000 – 120,000 per month or even more.

Career Progression in International Relations Specialist Profession 

There’s pretty much a straight-line growth in the field of International Relations. For instance, after obtaining a Master’s degree in any of the above-mentioned specializations, you can begin your career in this field as a Research Associate. While studying Ph.D. in International Relations., you start off as a Junior Research Fellow and then upgrade to Senior Research Fellow. After obtaining your postdoctoral degree, you can become an Assistant Professor and then after 8-10 years, you can become a Professor. 

If you have a postdoctoral degree, you can join government and security agencies as a Specialist, (for instance, Regional Specialist). Again, in Research Foundations, you begin your career as a Junior Research Associate and after about 8-10 years, you can get promoted to Senior Research Associate. Also, with your doctoral/postdoctoral degrees, you can begin your career as a Junior Scientist/Analyst/Associate, then upgrade to the level of Senior Scientist/Analyst/Associate, and then finally, get promoted to Chief/Principal Scientist.

Nowadays, nations across the globe are coming forth to both create and strengthen bonds with foreign nations. This is becoming increasingly important for international trade and economics. And as a result, career prospects in the field of International Relations are also fast-emerging.

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