World Politics and Wise Leadership

Politically, we live in divided times. This is the case nationally and globally. Nationally, whether it’s the pandemic, race relations and Black Lives matter, or building walls at the border, it’s difficult to find common ground. If anything, there seems to be a chasm between the political left and political right, almost as if we’re two peoples divided in our core beliefs. Globally, the international community faces a number of complex threats. In the years ahead, climate change will push millions of refugees from the Global South upwards. Coupled with a rise in nationalism, this might lead to a perfect storm in which more authoritarian leaders from the Global North consolidate their power by scapegoating the other--especially the vulnerable migrant. And with advances in technology, along with a surging gap in global economic equality, we stand to see a world in which the “haves” and “have nots” are being driven further apart.

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  • Coursework Overview

    The coursework for this Endeavor community involves taking a one-unit course in the fall semester and a half-unit course in the spring semester, both taught by Dr. Datta.

    Fall 2022 Semester Spring 2023 Semester
    PLSC 250: International Relations (1 unit) IDST 190: World Politics and Wise Leadership Seminar (.5 unit)

    PLSC 250 satisfies a general education requirement; satisfying the field of study for social analysis (FSSA)

    IDST 190 is a half-unit project based course part of the Endeavor program.

  • Specific Course Information

    PLSC 250: Introduction to International Relations

    This course takes a cue from Cornell West, who said, “let the phones be smart. We have to be wise and aspire to integrity.” In this course, we will look at the politics of international relations from the perspective of wise and mindful leadership. Students will be in enrolled in Dr. Datta’s course, PLSC 250: Introduction to International Relations (IR). Students will learn core concepts of IR theory as well as follow and contextualize world events from an IR lens. Another focus of the class will be to critique decisions in global leadership and explore how much, and in what ways, our local and national leaders are wise and mindful. More broadly, this course seeks to ask: (1) What does it mean to be a wise and mindful leader? (2) How can students learn from the mistakes of world leaders, past and present, as they consider positions of leadership after graduating from The University of Richmond? (3) How can students wisely apply insights from IR theory as they consider the plethora of global challenges we face, from issues of national security (e.g., fighting the war on terrorism), to issues of global security (e.g., contending with the effects of climate change, understanding the impact of mass migration from the Global South to the Global North). In learning how to distinguish mindful from unmindful leadership, students will learn how to meditate and develop a daily meditation practice.

    This course will meet all the course requirements of PLSC 250: Introduction to International Relations, that counts for the political science and global studies majors, and satisfies elective requirements for other programs at the University of Richmond.

    IDST 190: World Politics and Wise Leadership Seminar

    For the spring semester, students will write a research paper in which they pick one major event in international relations and critique that event from the lens of wise and mindful leadership. Students will first identify the event they wish to examine, and then discuss what motivated them to look at that event. Students will then identify one major leader connected to that event and evaluate how wisely or unwisely, as well as how mindfully, or unmindfully, that leader responded to the international crisis at hand. Students will then insert themselves into the situation and describe what policies they would have enacted, as well as the rhetoric they would have used, in contrast to how the leader in question acted. Students will then reflect on the consequences of their words and actions. Students will then conclude the research paper with a reflection of what this exercise was like and how it influenced their own perceptions on what wise and mindful leadership is about.

  • Faculty Information

    Dr. M. Datta
    Dr. Monti Datta is Associate Director of Political Science.

  • Roadmap Short Course Information

    As part of the Endeavor program, you will participate in the popular Roadmap to Success pre-orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Dr. Datta.

    Short Course Description: The Wise and Mindful Leader: Mindful of Race

    For the Roadmap Short Course, students will learn how to meditate, learning from Dr. Datta as well as guest speakers who have collaborated with Dr. Datta in the past, including Mr. Hartanto Gunawan (a former Buddhist monk) and Dr. Ram Bhagat (who teaches mindfulness with Richmond Public Schools). Students will learn how to develop and keep a daily meditation practice. Students will also read and discuss Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race, and talk about the intersection of mindfulness and race relations in their lives and in the world, on and off campus.