“Tell the World about the World”: Wales, the First World War and International Politics

Dr Jenny Mathers

Dr Jenny Mathers

07 November 2014

Dr Jenny Mathers, Head of the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University, will deliver a lecture hosted by the National Assembly for Wales on Tuesday 11 November.

The title of Dr Mathers’ lecture is “Tell the World about the World”: Wales, the First World War and International Politics.

The lecture takes place at The Pierhead, Cardiff, starting at 6pm and is hosted by Dame Rosemary Butler AM, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

In this lecture, Dr Mathers will trace the development of a distinctly Welsh legacy of the First World War: the founding of the academic discipline of International Relations with the creation of the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth in 1919.

The Department was established through a generous donation from David Davies, then Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire and later Lord David Davies of Llandinam, who gave the money for a professorship to be named for American President Woodrow Wilson.

Davies became a passionate champion of the cause of peace as a result of his personal experience serving in the First World War and hoped that by focussing the attention of scholars on the big issues facing humanity, a more peaceful and just world order could be achieved.

The lecture will examine Davies’s vision and how it has been reflected in the research and teaching done by the International Politics Department in Aberystwyth.

The Department has played a key role in the development of the discipline of International Relations, regularly pioneering new areas, such as the study of strategy and nuclear weapons in the post-1945 period, humanitarian intervention as a new form of foreign policy after the end of the Cold War, and critical security studies as a new way of understanding what security means to different peoples around the world.

Work currently being done in the Department includes exploring the links between global health and international politics, examining issues around internet governance and cyber security, deepening our knowledge of the social and linguistic dimensions of a devolved government in Wales and furthering our understanding of politics and foreign policy in regions such as China, Latin America and the Middle East.

Dr Jenny Mathers has been a member of academic staff in the Department of International Politics since 1992. She holds degrees from Mount Holyoke College (USA) and Oxford University and her main areas of research and teaching are Russian politics and security and women and war.

Dr Mathers attended the recent Wales NATO Summit as a member of the UK Task Force and is a frequent commentator in the media on current events, most recently on the crisis in Ukraine.

Dr Mathers said; “I was delighted to be invited by the Welsh Assembly to deliver this lecture. As we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in a variety of ways, it is good to have the opportunity to consider this event from a rather different angle: as the starting point for a new discipline and as a unique legacy that means the name Aberystwyth is known and respected everywhere International Relations is studied.”