CFR Presents World101, a Free Online Course That Explains the Forces Shaping Our World

December 5, 2019

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The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released World101, a free online course that explains the fundamentals of international relations and foreign policy. Using multimedia storytelling, World101 invites those who are new to international relations to investigate what lies at the core of the most important global topics. The program is intended for people of any age, both inside and outside of formal academic settings.
A recent Gallup survey commissioned by CFR and the National Geographic Society found that adult Americans exhibit considerable gaps in their knowledge about geography and world affairs. At the same time, they believe international issues are relevant to their lives and express a strong desire to promote education in these areas.
“Understanding today’s interconnected world matters now more than ever. Little stays local; borders are not moats. That’s why CFR has launched World101, a dynamic new program for students, educators, and citizens of any age that explains the forces shaping our world,” said CFR President Richard N. Haass.
The first two units are available now, with modules dedicated to individual topics. The World101 library will expand to include six units:

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  • Global Era Issues demonstrates the relevance of today’s critical international issues, including globalization, terrorism, climate change, and more.
  • Regions of the World introduces the realities and trends that define the world’s six major regions by examining them through the lenses of history, economics, politics, geopolitics, people, society, and U.S. foreign policy.
  • How the World Works (and Doesn’t Work) explains fundamental concepts in international relations, including sovereignty, alliances, and conflict, with a range of case studies.
  • Historical Context explores crucial periods of history spanning several centuries and the implications that events of the past have for present-day developments.
  • Approaches and Tools of Foreign Policy highlights the choices that confront the United States and walks users through the toolbox—including diplomacy and sanctions and the use of military force—available to policymakers.  
  • The Making of U.S. Foreign Policy focuses on the powers of the president and executive branch, the role of Congress, and the larger political context including interest groups, the media, and public opinion.

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“The program is flexible: the videos, maps, charts, timelines, and essays that make up a module can be accessed individually or reviewed as a whole,” said CFR Vice President of Education Caroline Netchvolodoff. “And each module comes with a library of teaching resources for instructors who plan to use World101 in their classrooms.”
World101 is complemented by Model Diplomacy, CFR’s free simulation program that gives students, educators, and others the opportunity to step into the roles of decision-makers on the U.S. National Security Council and UN Security Council.
Visit World101 at

To learn more, please contact the Global Communications and Media Relations team at 212.434.9888 or



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