Archive for the ‘Master in International Relations (MIR)’ Category


All lives have the same value, but the political and legal consequences of the use of chemical weapons have to be different

By José Ignacio Torreblanca, Associate Professor at IE School of International Relations


Chemical weapons are responsible for only about one percent of the deaths in the Syrian civil war. To propose military intervention on account of 1,429 deaths, among more than 100,000 victims of conventional weapons, is sheer hypocrisy – or worse, proof that the US has hidden intentions in the region. If all deaths are equal, what does it matter how you cause them?

This is an oft-repeated argument of late. But it’s a wrongheaded one. All lives have the same value, but the political and legal consequences of the use of chemical weapons have to be different. The international community has placed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in a special class, as weapons of mass destruction, under a special statute, regulating their possession and proliferation and prohibiting their use. This expresses a conviction that, although war appears to be intrinsic to the human condition, there should be limits to it.

It is true that this approach, of trying to humanize what is essentially inhuman, is fraught with contradiction and paradox. Remember, for example, that most of the 800,000 victims of the genocide in Rwanda were hacked to death with machetes imported from China, while the international community looked on and did nothing. Likewise, apart from “strategic” nuclear bombs capable of destroying whole cities and killing millions, there are states that possess stocks of “tactical” nuclear weapons, whose destructive power is only of a slightly higher order than that of conventional weapons.

Be that as it may, the international community has classified conflict not merely in terms of the number of deaths, but has rightly drawn a red line against the use of weapons of mass destruction. To trivialize the use of chemical weapons not only degrades us morally; precisely because we know there are regimes prepared to use them, it also opens up intolerable prospects for the future. In the case of Syria, as we await the final report from the UN inspectors, the mass of evidence brought forward by the US, France and Germany is more than sufficient to conclude that they have, in fact, been used. To render this use more costly is not only justified, but necessary.

Military intervention is justified not only retrospectively, to punish their use, but prospectively, to ensure that Bashar al-Assad does not use them again, and thus, as a future warning to those who may think that the prohibition is only relative. Read more…

As published in on September 10, 2013.



Rowan Palmer
Student of the 2012-2013 IE Master in International Relations (MIR)

IE School of International Relations



In your opinion, what is unique about the Master in International Relations program at IE School of International Relations?

IE is uniquely positioned to provide a truly interdisciplinary education through its association with IE Business School. International economics and finance tie the broad discipline of International Relations together. Having access to the resources of one of the world’s top-ranked MBA programs gives the MIR students of IE an advantage in understanding crucial elements of the international system, which translates into deeper understanding of current global issues. By combining a focus on international business with more traditional elements of an International Relations curriculum, the MIR is an education that transcends traditional distinctions between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. In addition, IE’s location in Madrid provides students with an international environment and an excellent opportunity to learn a new language—a skill that is crucial to a successful international career.

What skills has the program provided you with?

Through its use of diverse and creative teaching methods, the MIR degree provides students with both the “hard” and the “soft” skills necessary to excel in today’s global sphere. These include the capacity to produce and present policybased research and analysis, strategic planning, quantitative and financial analysis, applied projects such as the creation of business plans, and, perhaps most important, the capacity to effectively manage collaborative work in diverse settings and within a peer group composed of individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for someone who wants to work in the field of international relations, and how does the program help you face these challenges?

One of the biggest challenges currently facing any new graduate, but especially one in a field in which public sector employment has traditionally played a large role, is job availability. In this respect, mobility is a key asset, and in creating a multicultural environment in an international location, the program prepares students to go where the work is. The student body and faculty also serve as a diverse and extensive network of friends and colleagues. In addition, the business aspect of the program imparts skills that make graduates highly employable in the private and nonprofit sectors, as well as the public sector and academia.

What career paths are open to students in the program?

Do you feel this degree guarantees relevant professional development? The diversity of MIR graduate placements is one of the things that attracted me to the program. The faculty is composed of not only academics, but also instructors from policy think tanks, NGO boards, and the private sector, and as such, students are exposed to a variety of potential career paths. IE’s career center offers excellent support services—interview skills and CV building, for example—to help students take advantage of the opportunities available to them. In addition, the MIR curriculum includes professional development material adopted from the MBA program. This means that we have classes and workshops in leadership training, innovation, cross-cultural understanding, dispute resolution, and negotiation—skills that are valuable no matter what role you fill or what sector you work in. Read more…


IE Master in International Relations
Email the school

As published in on August 26, 2013.


Here are some helpful insider tips from a Masters in International Relations (MIR) alum!


By Kirit Patel (MIR Alum, Class of 2012)

I first became aware of the United Nations Young Professionals Programme following an email from the MIR program management. My application felt almost speculative at the time, but almost a year on and I am on the employment roster awaiting a placement.

I wanted to share my experience, as well some hints and tips that I picked up along the way. Let’s begin with choosing the job family; it may sound obvious, but the screening process in the initial stages focuses heavily on ‘relevance’. Keep this in mind throughout your application, and always try to relate your experiences to the competencies sought for your job family. Since being placed on the roster, I have been provided with some advisory documents from the UN which detail how to apply for each position, the questions mirror some of those on the YPP screening application so I have reproduced the relevant advice below.

Description of duties

“This section (maximum 2000 characters) is where you highlight your current and previous job responsibilities. Whenever possible, use the language of the UN competencies and describe your duties with careful attention to the vacancy for which you are applying. Be specific! Use action verbs; your current job should be described in present tense; all others in past tense.”

Summary of achievements

“This section (maximum 3700 characters) asks you to provide specific examples where you made an impact in your current and previous positions. Be sure to provide context, specific actions and the results you achieved. Using the C-A-R statement model context-action-result), be specific in describing the impact you have made”

With luck, you may be convoked to the written part of the examination, which usually takes place in December. This is split between a General section, which tests drafting skills and knowledge of the UN, and a specific paper which tests substantive knowledge in your chosen job family. Whilst the specific paper forms the vast majority of the marks, I cannot stress enough to practice and revise for the general paper, as the marking is eliminatory (i.e failure to pass the general paper means the specialised paper is not marked). Whilst I spent much time going over the UN-relevant reading list of the International World Order Elective, it is important not to forget to revise trivial answers such as the name as the Deputy Secretary General and the most recent nation to join the organisation, after all, much of the general paper is multiple-choice!

For the specialised paper, I can only advise you look at the past papers and revise to the best of your ability. The questions were a mix of bachelor and master level questions and there is a lot of time pressure.  I was informed not to bring anything but a pen, but it became apparent on the day we needed calculators for the economics paper. This certainly made a few questions tricky and I wish I had known beforehand!

I have recently been contacted regarding the quarterly YPP recruitment rounds in which I have to rank a number of posts in order of preference. These includes posts in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Niger, Rwanda and Zambia. I hope to post again with an update of how life on roster is going and news of any placement. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me or about the process, please get in contact in the comments below.


By Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, IE Master in International Relations Alumnus

Arg GDP_InflationFrom 1975 to 1988, average inflation in Argentina had a yearly average of more than 200 per cent. The situation worsened in the following years: by 1990, inflation even surpassed the 20.000% mark. This led to the set-up of a currency board which began a monetary experiment based on a one-to-one exchange rate between the peso and the dollar.

Known as the “convertibility plan”, the mechanism lasted one decade. Over the next ten years, such regime did succeed in defeating inflation. Prices were no longer rising like they did before, and achieved near-zero levels by 1996.

The following graph shows annual rates of GDP growth and inflation for the 1970-2000 period.Arg Ingreso per Capita

By abandoning the years of recurrent inflation problems, Argentina enjoyed a much greater level of economic stability, leaving behind the times when every “boom” period was followed by times of diminished growth and monetary instability.

The following graph shows the steady growth of income per capita between 1990 and 1998, an increase of almost 40%:

This progress was by no means guaranteed, though. According to economists Pedro Schwartz, Juan Castañeda and Francisco Cabrillo, if the “convertibility plan” was to survive, three conditions had to be met: the local currency should be fully convertible, government spending should not be monetized and central bank reserves should be able to cover the monetary base as measured by M0.

Although the first and third points were more or less followed throughout the 90s, the central bank did end up printing money to bail out national and provincial government debts. Argentinian politicians should have been tied by a budget stability law when the “convertibility plan” first began. Failure to do so obviously ended up in a catastrophic scenario:  the public sector’s unfunded liabilities went from 2% in 1995 to more than 6% in 1998.

The second part of this article will be published next week.

Diego Sánchez de la Cruz is an analyst at Libertad Digital. His work on international economics has been published in different media outlets.


Mr. Joaquin Almunia, Vice President of the Eurpean Comission and European Comissioner for Competition, is interviewed by Dr. Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of International Relations, on EU’s financial policy, as well as on EU and US negotiations on trade and investment agreement.

YouTube Preview Image
1 6 7 8 9 10 33