Knowing what’s happening now around the world is just as important as keeping up with the most critical topics affecting your country. Global policies can influence each country involved in some way, which also affects its citizens.

As a citizen, you also have a say in appointing the politicians who run the government and implement policies. You have an indirect say in your global leaders and the policies they put in place. Here’s how you can become an informed citizen who understands the importance of foreign affairs and how they can affect you.

Why Are Foreign Affairs Important?

Foreign affairs affect what’s happening now in the world. From how countries trade with each other, promote peaceful interactions and allow global leaders to communicate with each other in productive ways, foreign affairs and policies are at the heart of the world’s communications.

The importance of foreign policies is something that elementary, secondary, and high schools cover only briefly. Most schools rarely talk enough about foreign affairs in-depth for youth to understand how these policies take hold and why they’re important to governments and citizens alike. You’ll typically have to do your research and stay abreast of political news to make much sense of current events.

However, doing so will help you understand that foreign affairs not only help you see what’s happening now in the world but also what can happen in the future.  

Who Oversees Foreign Affairs?

In your trek to learn more about foreign affairs and global policies, you’ll probably encounter a few terms and names that you’re unfamiliar with relating to people and government bodies that oversee foreign policies and affairs.

The United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs was a title historically given to the person in charge of United States foreign policy. Today, that person is known as the U.S. Secretary of State. The president appoints this leader, who is in charge of foreign affairs with other global leaders.

The House Committee of Foreign Affairs also has a vital role in discussing current policies and proposing new ones. During House Foreign Affairs Committee hearings, the Speaker of the House and Chairman of House work to create an open forum where members can discuss and debate policies.

The National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, is one of the most important places in training for elected officials who are part of the foreign affairs team. Here, they’ll learn how to conduct policies fairly, communicate with other global leaders, and even important problem-solving and linguistic skills that can help them carry out policies that are in the best interest of the nation and the world.

Why Do Current Events in Other Countries Affect Me?

Keeping up with current events in your city, state, and country is important because what happens closest to you affects you the most. However, many people don’t realize that what happens around the world, from failing economies to terrorist attacks, can also influence what happens to you.

Global policies are in place to create a more peaceful world. They help put laws in place that govern how countries treat travelers, trade with each other, and even support each other in emergencies. Policies can shift, though, according to what’s happening around the world.

For example, if one country begins experiencing major, and frequent, terrorist attacks, other countries will come together to give aid or find potential solutions. It’s possible that, because of another country’s emergency, your country gets involved in a way that could eventually put it at risk for conflict or war.

It Helps Create a Connection Between History and the Future

By keeping up with present news around the globe, you can also gain valuable insight into what the future might hold. All present events happen because of events that happened in the past, and they can also help predict what could happen if the path remains the same.

Although you may not have the power to influence what happens around the world directly, your knowledge can help inform your decisions that go into choosing future leaders. After all, the politicians you elect represent you and other citizens and your best interests.

You’ll also have a better understanding of what your nation’s current leaders are doing and whether their past performance in global affairs is helping the current state of international policies.

It Explains Your Role in the World

Political and cultural differences in people around the world become apparent when you start keeping up with important international news topics. You’ll see that what’s important to you may not be as important to people on the other side of the world.

This knowledge is crucial in understanding how you fit into the world and how you can influence it. It’s easy to stay caught in the bubble of your direct environment rather than venturing into the unexplored territory of other countries and their current events. However, when you do begin to learn about different countries and their important issues, you’ll gain important perspectives that can help drive and shift your political beliefs.

When people around the world begin taking a vested interest in the lives and well-being of those in other countries, they can have a more influential impact on the global leaders that put international policies in place.

How to Keep Up with Important Global News

Staying up-to-date with global news is the first step in educating yourself about important events in the world. You’ll learn how world leaders are interacting with each other and what policies they’re putting in place to protect their countries and communications with each other.

Understanding how to source news the correct way, though, can be confusing when you’re faced with tons of headlines on social media, websites, blogs, and TV. Here’s what you can do to get the latest global important news and weed out what you don’t need:

Learn When the Latest Meetings Happen

Going straight to the sources of foreign affairs is one of the best ways for you to find out what they’re up to. Follow news from the United Nations to learn when its meetings take place or when it’s scheduled to hold press conferences. The United Nations website gives you plenty of information about upcoming and past sessions so that you can inform yourself.

You can also check with your country’s overseeing foreign affairs department website. They’ll often have information about the most recent foreign affairs meetings and the most important topics your country’s leaders discuss with other world leaders.  

Curating News from Trusted Sources

News sources for global news, like SpinningGlobe, can be excellent resources for people who want to know what’s happening in other countries. Unfortunately, they’re not all equal regarding trustworthiness and reliability. It’s crucial that you can distinguish between trusted news sources and biased news sources so that you can get fair news that doesn’t influence your opinions.

Foreign Affairs is a digital magazine that you also may want to bookmark and frequently check for important global news. The Council on Foreign Relations publishes the magazine, making it one of the most trusted news sources for staying abreast of what’s happening in the world right now.

It’s a good idea to compare articles on the same topic from different sources too. This technique can give you a fresh perspective and additional information to help inform your own opinions.

Once you find global news sources you trust, you can set email alerts or notifications on your mobile device to alert you when the sources publish new articles on your chosen topics.

Using Your Curated News to Inform Your Options

Now that you know how to find out what’s going on in your country, other countries, and their relations with each other, you can find ways to use your knowledge in productive ways.

Possibly the most significant power you have as a citizen is voting. You can use what you know about current events to inform your future voting decisions when electing government officials, from your local school board to your country’s leader.

You can also use your knowledge to make a difference in the world, at whatever level you choose. You’ll see that, all over the world, people find joy and suffering in different ways. You may find a subject that affects other people in the world more than you, yet you become incredibly passionate about it and work toward its change.

Conclusion: The Importance of Staying on Top of Foreign Affairs

What’s happening in the world right now is as crucial as what’s happening in your neighborhood. Staying knowledgeable about global politics is an essential step in becoming more aware of what’s happening to other people all around the world and what you might be able to do to change it.

Start to curate your own trusted news sources and check out what world leaders discuss at foreign affairs meetings. In doing so, you’ll arm yourself with necessary information that you need to help shape your own beliefs and choose the right leaders in the future.

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