Dear Attendees,

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the 2017 Penn International Relations Conference (PIRC). Sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's International Affairs Association, PIRC will take place on Penn’s campus on February 24, 2017.

PIRC was created to encourage a love of international relations and to foster awareness of global affairs among high school students in the Philadelphia area. At PIRC 2017, students will participate in an educational forum including interactive discussions and presentations from world-renown professors and experienced, passionate undergraduates.

The secretariat and I have chosen “Southeast Asia: Culture, Politics, and Growth” as the theme of PIRC 2017. This year, we hope to introduce a greater understanding of Southeast Asia and its growing importance in current, international affairs. Our speakers and breakout discussion sessions will focus on various facets of life in Southeast Asia. We will also highlight the importance of international relationships both regionally and with countries like China and the United States.

Having been involved in the previous session of PIRC as the content director, I have had the chance to see the substantive aspect of the conference, and have seen first hand how it grew from two years ago. We hope to build upon the successes of our previous conferences and provide an enriching experience for all those involved. The secretariat and I are extremely excited to bring to you guys a great, fulfilling experience at the conference.

This year, we will emphasize a lot on discussion-based activities and simulations, as we did last year. We envision PIRC 2016 to be a forum for the creation of new ideas to address the modern necessities of the region and the world. Throughout this conference, we will foster an interaction between high school students and Penn undergraduates and faculty in order to gain a greater understanding of the region. We hope the complexity, usefulness and fascinating nature of the conference will motivate students to continue pursuing academics.

If you have any questions regarding conference content, business sponsorships, student participation, or general inquiries about PIRC and the Penn IAA, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you attended last year’s conference, please share your experiences. We love feedback, and if you have any ideas that may be helpful for planning this year’s conference, share it with us! We hope to see you there!


Zahra Husain

Executive Director, PIRC 2017

At the Penn International Relations Conference, we implement a combination of comprehensive presentation modules, collaborative activities, and facilitator expertise to empower our student participants in their understanding of global affairs and politics, all on the beautiful campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Over the past five years, the Penn International Relations Conference (PIRC) has developed from a single-day affair into a comprehensive semester-long program built around pertinent themes and issues in international relations. Started in 2009 as the Conference on International Affairs (CIA) and renamed as PIRC in 2010, previous sessions of the conference have touched on a variety of topics from global development to disaster relief, and focused on various regions of the world including Asia and the Pacific Rim, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, a process of restructuring led to PIRC coming under the University of Pennsylvania’s International Affairs Association’s Community Outreach and Engagement Branch, further empowering it to fulfill its core purpose of educating high-school participants on foreign current events and instilling in them a genuine interest in international affairs and politics.

We hope that our regional focus will serve as a framework to better understand international affairs. To aid in processing such information, students will participate in hands-on discussions integrating what the students have learned from the speakers with their own creative problem-solving skills regarding current international crises. PIRC is run completely by University of Pennsylvania undergraduates and it is our way of connecting with the students in the surrounding community. We hope that students who attend PIRC 2016 leave with a deepened desire to learn more about the politics and global events encompassing our ever-changing world.

This year, PIRC is expanding its outreach through social media and direct school visits. Please take the time to explore our website to learn more about PIRC and the people behind it. In the coming months, we will be uploading videos and other media to the site to provide a better preview of the conference and to allow you to try simulations at your school. A sample agenda will appear soon, as will important information regarding registration and arranging a school visit with members of our secretariat. If you are a business looking to sponsor PIRC, please contact our business directors directly for further information. For any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at pirc@penniaa.com or check out our FAQ section.