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The Department of International Relations is a crucial part of UAL’s institutional project. Three key points are emphasized here: advanced training, research and internationalization.
The creation of the Bachelor Degree in International Relations goes back to 1989 and is part of a wider strategy to develop this area of inquiry through research and graduate and postgraduate training, and through the reaching of wider audiences via both academic and cultural activities.
The Observatory of Foreign Relations study centre was created in 1996, responsible for conducting several studies, the publication of specialized papers and for the edition of the yearbook JANUS since 1997, which has become a prominent publication in Portugal. In 2010 the Observatory became a research unit with the shortened international name OBSERVARE and launched a new peer-reviewed bilingual (Portuguese and English) open access scientific journal named JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations, available online. It is currently indexed in various international networks of scientific journals (SCOPUS, EBSCO, LATINDEX, DIALNET, DOAJ). Also, OBSERVARE started to organize its projects and activities around three main research directions: a) Security, War and Peace Studies; b) Economic Spaces and Resources Management; c) Peoples and States - constructions and interactions.
Further, there have been several events aiming to deepen participants’ understanding of current international affairs, such as roundtable discussions with experts and conferences with international speakers. This course of action had key moments in November 2011 and July 2014 with the organization of OBSERVARE’s two international conferences. We have also offered short courses extended to the public at large, and our lecturers and researchers attend scientific events abroad frequently. Basic information on the most recent activities mentioned here is available at http://observare.ual.pt.
In terms of teaching and training, several postgraduate courses on international topics have been offered since the start of the B.A in International Relations in 1989, such as International Journalism, International Business, Africa’s Geopolitics, War and Peace Studies or Contemporary Asia. The course for preparing for the diplomatic career has been offered several times. Moreover, in 2002, UAL has started to offer the MASTER DEGREE IN WAR AND PEACE STUDIES, and since 2013 the MASTER IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.
Starting in 2015, the new PhD IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: GEOPOLITICS AND GEOECONOMICS is intended to complete UAL’s educational and professionally formative offer in International Relations. This PhD is linked to a transnational network of universities (Middle East Technical University, Ankara-Turkey; CEMAS - La Sapienza Università di Roma; Universidad Complutense in Madrid; and PUC-São Paulo, Brazil) that have agreed with UAL and OBSERVARE to a joint research programme and to a collaboration including doctoral seminars, supervision of theses, and the receiving PhD students.
Another dimension of UAL’s project is the expansion of its internationalization strategy. Accordingly, the Department of International Relations and OBSERVARE have carried out several forms of scientific and educational exchanges with lecturers, researchers and foreign institutions, such as the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF), the FRIDE, Carolina and Real Instituto Elcano Foundations, the Instituto Superior de Estudos de Defesa –ISEDEF- (Higher Institute of Defence Studies) in Mozambique; the Instituto de Ciências Sociais e Relações Internacionais (Institute of Social Sciences and International Relations) in Angola; the Instituto da Defesa Nacional (Institute of National Defence) in East Timor; the Instituto de Relações Internacionais -IREL- (Institute of International Relations) of the University of Brasília, the Department of International Relations of the Univ. Pontifícia of São Paulo and the Univ. Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil; the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas (IIJ) of Univ. Nacional Autónoma in Mexico; the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Germany; the ORT University and the Instituto Artigas of MRE, Uruguay; Megatrend University, Serbia. This has led to a wide range of joint activities, including setting up several TRANSNATIONAL RESEARCH PROGRAMMES and the PhD in INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: GEOPOLITICS AND GEOECONOMICS.