What is Hemispheres?

Hemispheres is YIRA’s international relations teaching program. Once every week, Yale students meet with high school students from the New Haven area to explore a variety of topics in IR and develop analytical, creative, and critical thinking skills. Classes are taught by Yale students and have covered topics from Free Trade to Conflict Minerals to Tourism to the Syrian Civil War.

A Dynamic Curriculum

A typical Hemispheres class takes place Friday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and is broken down into four parts.

  • 3 PM - 3:20 PM: News Update - two Hemispheres teachers will go over at least 5 of the biggest events in the world and engage students in a discussion on the events' impact

  • 3:20 PM - 3:30 PM: Food Break - enjoy a variety of cuisines while engaging with teachers and students

  • 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM: Class - Students choose from up to three options which range from broad survey classes to niche case-study courses

  • 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM: Mentorship - this part is optional, but highly encouraged. Students can attend workshops on academic or professional development, listen to speakers or just hang out together with teachers.

Outside the Classroom


Every year, Hemispheres visits the beautiful city of Washington D.C. to get a hands-on feel for international relations in our nation’s capital, a national hub of political activity. In the fall as well, Hemispheres travels to New York to tour the UN headquarters there.

Additionally, while Hemispheres is not a Model UN preparatory program, there are several opportunities throughout the year for students to attend various conferences with Hemispheres. Last year Hemispheres brought delegates to Budapest for YMGE, Taipei for YMUNT, as well as New Haven and Philadelphia for YMUN and PhilMUN respectively.

Discover More

Hemispheres Website: hemispheres.yira.org

Hemispheres Director: hemispheres@yira.org