International peace efforts are often made in the context of the state system, where ruling governments and the confines of borders define the limits of such efforts. Some of the largest and most powerful inter-governmental organizations exist in the name of international security. Students for International Security (SIS) serves to advocate international security which could lead to peace. I received and analyzed the following information from an interview with an SIS member at George Mason University.
SIS is is a student group, operating on university campuses nationwide. The group’s function is to serve as a forum for intelligent discussion of major theories and issues related to international security. Participants passionately discuss issues via presentations and briefings. Members in the group are tested for their public speaking skills, ability to hold a dialogue with other members, and the academic rigor of their research. SIS is primarily intended for those interested in international relations, which may make it seem like a niche group across the university. Members generally have their eyes set on careers in international organizations, government work and non-governmental organizations related to international security.
The context of Students of International Security has students discussing issues that are life or death for populations worldwide. By focusing on the issue of international security, students are looking for stability in foreign policy and international affairs. The members of the group attempt to raise awareness of certain issues through their presentations and by posting debates on the club’s Facebook page. The club members in general analyze international issues through the lens of the international security field, which is decidedly realist.
Although international security and peace education are not mutual fields of work, there can be much to gain from integrating the literature and theories of both fields. International security theory holds that security dilemmas arise from conflicts of national interests. Further, it has been shown that either through diplomacy or alignment with similar-valued countries, nations can come to agreements that lead to stability and set the groundwork for a greater peace. The main thing to note is that in the theory of international security, peace is not the same as security. Security is safety from potential conflict and peace is the absence of conflict. With international security being the basic framework for modern state relations, it is important for international endeavors in peace education to recognize and adapt to this reality.