The study of Brazilian foreign policy and international relations comprise one of University of Brasilia’s greatest traditions. Being close to the national decision making centers (Executive Power, National Congress and Supreme Courts), as well as to the diplomatic corps accredited with the Brazilian government, allows a privileged position for specialized thinking within the University. The UnB´s Institute of International Relations is the oldest and most important specialized center in Brazil and one of the most traditional in Latin America.
Since its creation, the International Relations area of the UnB has qualified over 2000 professionals, between Bachelors, Specialists and Masters in International Relations, who have moved on to Governmental Agencies, the Foreign Ministry, international organizations, public and private corporations and non-governmental organizations, national and foreign. Graduates from the Institute not only occupy top positions in the Government, abroad and in the private and public sectors, but are also well established in the specialized academic circle.
The iREL provides Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in International Relations, to which the Doctorate Program has been added in 2002. In this way, the Institute presently offers graduation programs for specialized human resources in all levels – including latu-sensu post-graduation, with courses in Specialization in International Relations and International Commercial Negotiations.
From 1976 to 1984, the University promoted, with a certain regularity, important national and international events (conferences, symposiums and seminars), gathering some of the most renowned social scientists and specialists in International Relations, such as Karl Deutsch, Raymond Aron, Henry Kissinger, Ernest Gelner, F. A. Hayek, Lezsek Kolakowski, Maurice Duverger, Robert Dahl, Giovanni Sartori, Hélio Jaguaribe, Celso Lafer, Norberto Bobbio, Afonso Arinos and Gilberto Freyre. Most of these speakers´ contributions were compiled into books published by the University. In addition the Political Thought series was created, having its first volume dedicated Karl Deutsch´s 1982 “Analysis of International Relations”. Another initiative of the UnB was the creation of the International Relations magazine, which published original articles and essays written by Brazilian authors, as well as translations of important pieces by foreign authors.
Moreover, UnB´s History Department was the first one in the country to create a post-graduation program in a sub-area with the objective of addressing the evolution of Brazil’s international insertion. The Master’s Degree in History of Brazilian Foreign Policy, born in 1976, was later transformed to absorb new tendencies around the Master’s and Doctor’s Degrees in History of International Relations, created in 1993.
Founded in 1974, the field of International Relations at University of Brasilia has been organized in two distinct units – one located in the Department of International Relations, th other in the Department of History. In 2000, the Department of International Relations´ teaching staff, together with the History of International Relations area of the Department of History, proposed the creation of an Institute of International Relations, a process that was concluded in 2003. In this way, iREL became the center of the re-organization process of the International Relations area of the University, part of which was the creation, in 2002, of the most modern specialized post-graduation program in the country, bringing together political scientists and historians of International Relations. The new program breaks the departmental isolation so characteristic of social sciences in Brazil, and mirrors the organization of research programs being developed. Moreover, this makes the Institute of International Relations a meeting point for different theoretical and methodological perspectives, with a view to reaching the same objectives, namely, high level specialized thinking.