Interview with Dr. Jana Urbanovská, Department of International Relations and European Politics
By Inga Kakulia
Jana Urbanovská is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Studies, at the Department of International Relations and European Politics. Dr. Urbanovská has stayed loyal to her interest in international politics ever since high school, wanting to learn how international politics work and how actors cooperate and confront each other.
“As I have always enjoyed absorbing and sharing new ideas, staying at the university was a natural choice for me.”
Dr. Urbanovská believes that the interconnected and often unpredictable world that we live in today, brings along a lot of opportunities along with challenges. Studying International Relations and connected fields helps students analyze, assess and understand the conditions that they live in.
“Studying International politics helps students find a firm ground for the way they want to follow, whether they see themselves in the diplomatic services, international politics, public administration, academia or private businesses.”
At Masaryk University, The IREP programme prides itself on having students with diverse backgrounds, making the program extremely rich and exciting.
“Students enrolled in The IREP programme come literally from all around the world, from North America, to Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia – around 40 countries of origin are represented in the program”
And this diverse group of students seems to have a particularly strong interest in learning about the topics related to diplomacy. According to Jana Urbanovská, classrooms are the most crowded when we host a diplomat who shares his/her journey with our students, including the “behind the scenes” perspective.
The field of International Relations itself has been changing as well. For Dr. Urbanovská, over the last couple of years among the most noticeable changes to the field has been the increase in diversification of IR, with multiple disciplines and links to other fields popping up. But changes extend to the methodological part of IR as well. The emergence of Big Data is one of the topics that Urbanovská believes needs further reflection.
When it comes to issues that she thinks should be getting more attention, Urbanovská brings up topics that are relevant for today’s world and that contribute to the challenges most states and inhabitants are facing - topics such as climate change, human (in)security, inequality, or poverty, to name just a few.
Urbanovská’s favorite courses to teach are the ones related to Germany.
“This semester, the composition of my students in the German Foreign Policy course has been particularly diverse – local students have met with international students coming from all around Europe and beyond. I enjoyed our fruitful discussions based on students’ national perspectives on Germany and its foreign policy and their sharing of different views. Among the topics I deal with, I’m most passionate about Czech-German relations. Recently, I have been particularly curious about how the past translates into the present.
Coming from Western Bohemia with ancestors from the Czech-German borderlands, my interest in Germany has been part of my life ever since. I have been organizing work camps in the border regions with my friends from the Czech-German Young Professionals Program. Recently, I have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the grave of Guido Glück, a forgotten German educator, novelist and playwright living in interwar Brno and serving as a bridge between the local Czech and German community (feel free to check my website: https://sites.google.com/view/guidoglueck :) ). Can’t wait for the spring semester to explore Czech-German relations with my students through their hands-on projects!”
When asked to describe the IREP programme in three words Jana Urbanovská says:
“International experience, diversity, excellence”
You can find all of Jana Urbanovská’s latest publications down below.
URBANOVSKÁ, Jana, Martin CHOVANČÍK a Monika BRUSENBAUCH MEISLOVÁ. German-UK defence cooperation amid Brexit : prospects for new bilateralism? European Security. Abingdon: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis, 2022, roč. 31, č. 1, s. 39-57. ISSN 0966-2839. doi:10.1080/09662839.2021.1948402.
KŘÍŽ, Zdeněk, Jana URBANOVSKÁ a Stanislava BRAJERČÍKOVÁ. Refugees, Energiewende and NATO deterrence : limits of German leadership in Central Europe. European Security. Abingdon: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis, 2021, roč. 30, č. 1, s. 137-158. ISSN 0966-2839. doi:10.1080/09662839.2020.1795836.
URBANOVSKÁ, Jana a Zdeněk KŘÍŽ. Germany and the Czech Republic : An Asymmetric Relationship in Search of a Strategy. In András Hettyey. Germany and Central Europe : Drifting Apart? Budapest: Dialóg Campus, 2020. s. 97-114. ISBN 978-963-531-122-4.
URBANOVSKÁ, Jana. The Federal Republic of Germany in the Czech Foreign Policy. In Alica Kizeková et al. Czech Foreign Policy in 2017 : Analysis. Prague: Institute of International Relations Prague, 2018. s. 83-102. ISBN 978-80-87558-32-4.