In a recent conference at the University of South California, Professor Arman Grigoryan discussed why some former Soviet Republics were successful in their transition to democracy, while others were not. Specifically, why had the country of Armenia been unsuccessful in becoming a prosperous democratic state? “In the first half of the nineties, Armenia was often referred to in the Western media as an ‘island of democracy,’” said Grigoryan. “It had a government that had been elected in free and fair elections and had embarked on a fertile period of legislative reforms.” He believes that it is a result of conflicts that took place soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. “Such environments empower the state and weaken society,” Grigoryan said during his talk. “This is natural because a state that is in a bad security environment—or is fighting a war—has to have an increased and uncontrolled executive authority. It has to have the ability to extract resources from its society. It has to have the ability to deter resistance against that extraction. It has to have the ability to make all sorts of difficult and unpopular decisions. It has to have the ability to make quick decisions without worrying about checks and balances. And, it has to have the ability to control information.” Click to see more.
Welcome to the IR Department
Lehigh is among the very few major universities in the United States with a separate Department of International Relations (IR). Lehigh's distinctive organization is matched by the excellence of its teaching and research programs. It is not an exaggeration to say that we offer an undergraduate education in International Relations that is among the very best in the country. The IR Department has a full-time faculty of seven committed teachers and dedicated scholars, who collectively teach roughly 300 students each semester and advise over 130 majors. They have also earned national and international visibility through the quality of their scholarship.
A major in international relations prepares students for careers in government, journalism, law, non-governmental organizations, international business, and teaching and research.
Faculty News Spotlight
Dinissa Duvanova, Assistant Professor in the International Relations department, recently received the Ed A. Hewett Book Prize from the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. Read about her perspective in the following article: Financial Crisis Raises Large Russian Question Mark
Open Letter on the Hostility of Middle Eastern Governments and Media to Foreign Researchers and Journalists Re: Henry J.Barkey
"The undersigned individuals have all worked or lived in the Middle East, as scholars, academics, journalists, or members of non-governmental organizations. We are American citizens. Our work is a testimony to our deep appreciation for the rich history, culture, and politics of the modern Middle East. We believe in the need to study the governments and peoples of this pivotal region and their complex relations with the United States objectively and unapologetically. Many of us have spent most of our careers trying to foster better understanding between the two worlds in which we live and work...This is why we find the recent case of Henri J. Barkey, an American scholar of modern Turkey, particularly alarming... " Read More...
Conflict and Dialogue
Henri Barkey examines the ever-changing landscape of international politics.
Understanding overseas political affairs, particularly in the Middle East, can often seem like reading tea leaves. Countries are divided internally, factions contend for command, and competition for power between military and civilian governments continue to feed conflict... Read More.
Lehigh International Relations Alum Victoria Herrmann ('12) recently reported that data from her research into the rapidly melting Arctic ice shelves was deleted by the Trump administration. The problems first began after January 21st when links regarding the U.S. Strategy for the Arctic were deleted, along with other Arctic-related policy links. As the Trump administration continued, more and more climate-change related sources were deleted, and eventually, the resources that Hermann used for her research began to disappear as well. In an article published by The Guardian, Hermann pleads to President Trump to stop deleting the already small amounts of Arctic research.
Professor Henri Barkey, of Lehigh University's International Relations Department, was among those accused of plotting a coup in Turkey in July 2016. Barkey, who was in Turkey for a conference at the time of the coup, was suspected of abetting FETO, the Turkish terrorist group allegedly responsible for attempting to overthrow the government.
As of July 15, 2017, the Chief Public Prosecutors Office in Istanbul launched a new probe into seventeen American citizens including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Former CIA Director John Brennan, and Henri Barkey. Turkey is reopening the investigation to see if a link can be drawn from the suspects to FETO. This investigation comes in conjunction with a referendum that provided the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with more expansive control of the government.