Studying all the exchanges, transactions, contacts, flows of information and meaning, and the attending and resulting behavioural responses between and among separated organized societies, including their components. Such study usually deals with actors (states, governments, leaders, diplomats, peoples) striving to attain certain ends, using means (such as war, diplomacy, coercion, persuasion) which are related to their power or capability. International relations is also a branch of political science concerned with relations between political units of national rank and dealing primarily with foreign policies, the organization and function of governmental agencies concerned with foreign policy, and the economic, geographic and other factors underlying such policies.
The field of international relations has expanded and become ever more variegated in recent years. It covers anything from political culture to theory of international organizations, and employs methods from psychology, sociology, political science and systems analysis.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.