The Global Challenges course sheds light on the problems ailing our planet and the consequences they have on people in different regions and on the human race as a whole. It made me think about a range of issues such as liberty, human rights, women’s rights, nuclear energy, cyber technology, and taxation. Seldom are these issues discussed beyond their applicability or relevance in the context of development. However, such issues require in-depth study to ensure that they are employed to indeed create a just world. The talks by the subject experts in Global Challenges were the spark that kindled my thoughts and broadened my perspective. The course has been that important first step — the introduction to contentious issues – that has laid the foundation for the development of my own thoughts and opinions on several important issues, which is what will define me in the years to come.
A particular talk that stands out in memory was by Mr. Mitch Orenstein, the S. Richard Hirsch Associate Professor of European Studies at Johns Hopkins University, on Ukraine – Russia relations. It was just a few days after this talk that Russia waged war on Ukraine. Naturally, we followed the war closely throughout the duration of the course. Over the semester we argued over the ideals of Putin and the responses of the West prior to and after the start of the war. Towards the end of the semester, we had a heated debate over India’s position in the war and were exposed to passionate arguments relating to the hypocrisy of the West, to the irrationality of Putin and his actions, and to the future trajectory of territorial disputes. I can say with confidence that I have a far deeper understanding now of the war than I would have had, had I only followed it in the news.