Knowledge Update

The World in the 21st Century

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Globalization and the advancements in ICT after the Second World War (WW II)  has  knitted and interconnected countries and rendered territorial boundaries void, thereby expanding the constitutive role of the United Nations (UN). Today, terrorism, climate change, cybercrime, drug trafficking, illegal migration, and trafficking in persons, among others, are global issues that a single state cannot solve, but must be resolved through the collective efforts of states. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic first broke out in Wuhan, China, but as of April 13, 2022, 14:13 GMT, Worldometer reported that 501,406,088 people were affected, with 6,210,759 deaths across the globe. Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye described the interconnection of the states as a complex dependency. In a world of complex interdependence, the policies, actions, and inactions of one state might have a profound effect on another or other states in the world.

With the increased interdependence of states, many concepts and events in the world are experiencing a shift in meaning. For instance, there is a shift in understanding from absolute to relative sovereignty. Sovereignty refers to the right and authority of a state to exercise total control over its own affairs without any form of external interference. What states held tenaciously was absolute sovereignty, barring any form of external intervention of any sort. But the concept is shifting in meaning from absolutism to relativism. Simonovic (2002) argues that the traditional absolute sovereignty principle of noninterference in the "internal affairs of a state" is being challenged by the international community's belief in its "responsibility to protect" the world's citizens from persecution, large-scale human rights abuses, and other suffering. Today, no state can say that it has complete control over its own affairs without being influenced by outside forces in some way.

There is also a shift in the conception of nationalism to internationalism. Nationalism is understood to be one’s love for his nation. But the notion has given way to internationalism. People now see themselves not only as citizens of a particular country, but as global citizens. Humanity is seen as general regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, and country of residence. In a complex, interdependent world, an injury to one country or society is regarded as an injury to all peoples of the world. The global outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows how humanity is cared for, regardless of territorial boundary.

Foreign policies used to be rather basic, largely limited to imports and exports. Agriculture, fiscal aid, terrorism, the environment, health, and education are all areas where today's foreign policies have grown dramatically. Most institutions around the world aspire to engage in practices that are globally accepted and commonly referred to as "global best practices." Interdependence has made educational institutions and their services reflect not only domestic need but also global exigency. Skyline University Nigeria was established in 2018 and is leaving to the reality of the 21st century where states are complexly interdependent, thereby preparing students to not just be productive citizens of their respective countries, but responsible global citizens. This stems from the fact that any meaningful education that a college, university, or any educational institution provides must be to prepare students to favorably compete with their peers across the globe and also prepare them for not just their national challenges, but global challenges.

As the African proverb says, "When the rhythm of the music changes, the dance steps must change also." Globalization and ICT have reduced the world to a global village, states are complexly interdepended, everyone must brace up to the new reality.  

References

Simonovic, I (2002). Relative sovereignty of the twenty first century. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 25(5). https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1569&context=hastings_int   ernational_comparative_law_review

Keohane, R. O. & Nye, J. S. (1977). Power and Interdependence: World politics in transition. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Keohane, R. O. & Nye, J. S. (1987). Power and Interdependence Revisited. International   Organization, 41, 725-753.

 

Nyam Elisha YAKUBU is a lecturer II in the Department of International Relations of the School of Arts, Management and Social Science in Skyline University Nigeria. He holds an M.Sc. in International Relations and Strategic Studies, from the University of Jos.

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