Based on the developments taking place on the world stage and in the international system, the students participating in the MSc. Security Studies programme at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) have been exposed to both the theory and practical components of these developments, making them more rounded in their field of study. Happening almost simultaneously, they would have witnessed a global pandemic (COVID-19) and the international responses by nations.
The US elections and the events of January 6, 2021, – race relations in the US and how it has manifested into hate crimes, the death of George Floyd and the vociferous call for policing reforms are issues and possibilities which were assessed during the programme. The students would have seen a shift in US foreign policy from Donald Trump’s realist pulpit “America First and America Alone” to Biden’s Liberalist approach of “America is back, Multi Literalism is back”. They are presently witnessing the G7 Summit to be followed by the NATO Summit. They would have also noticed the shift in terrorism threat from the international level to the domestic level and finally, the threat of cybercrime and how cyber-criminals are using ransomware to extort large enterprises, especially those located in the United States of America. The list is not exhaustive, but these issues readily come to mind.
Mr Owen Ellington and I, along with the other lecturers, would have taught all these areas and possibilities in our lectures, which would have incorporated the theoretical aspect of the teaching and learning experience. On the other hand, the antagonism in the international system and human behaviour would have addressed the practical side in reality.
I don’t believe that another group will be so fortunate to receive the theoretical knowledge and have that information unfold so quickly with developments globally, thus creating a realistic and practical experience for them.
We encourage our students to continue to engage in environmental scanning as they seek to apply their knowledge in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
Let us not forget that knowledge gained is of no value if it is not shared.
Author: Assan Thompson, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, JCF
Head of Department, Centre for Security, Counter terrorism and Non-Proliferation (CSCTN)
Caribbean Maritime University