Concentration Director's Message

Michael F. Oppenheimer

Dear Prospective Student,

The pace of change in international relations (IR) is accelerating rapidly, and strategic surprise is now the norm. Nearly every day we wake up to something new and unanticipated. The MS in Global Affairs International Relations/Global Futures concentration is designed to give students an advanced understanding of the factors shaping IR and the ability to place these factors in a futures context. Courses within this concentration help students to improve their ability to anticipate change and equip them with analytical tools essential for professional success—in government, business, and civil society organizations—within a transforming environment.

This concentration reflects the already strong futures emphasis in course work and in research at the NYUSPS Center for Global Affairs (CGA), as well as the growing demand in government and business for enhanced foresight, improved risk management, agile decision-making, and conflict prevention. I have been developing and applying futures techniques for many years, in my consulting practice and in 10 years of teaching at CGA. Several years ago CGA was awarded a multiyear grant from the Carnegie Corporation to construct alternate scenarios for pivotal countries through 2020, a project that employed over 30 students and has led to my book, to be published by Oxford University Press, on the strategic value and method of alternate futures.

The IR/Global Futures concentration incorporates courses and alternate scenario exercises. It also includes two new courses taught by Regina Joseph, a CGA graduate and more recently a senior member and "superforecaster" at Philip Tetlock's Good Judgment project, funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. Regina also is setting up a Futures Lab at NYUSPS to run futures activities and teach the process and method of forecasting.

Michael F. Oppenheimer
Clinical Professor
NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs