With heart palpitation we present our International Studies: Interdisciplinary Political and Cultural Journal (IS) devoted to international studies in the interdisciplinary political and cultural contexts. We hope that those studying in the fields of politics and culture will find our journal a valuable resource, and that it will also have a broader appeal to scholars working in such areas as international relations, communication, anthropology, social and political geography, philosophy, literature, cultural studies, journalism, and some areas of media studies. Since, as far as we know, it is one of the first journals of this kind not only in Poland but in Central and Eastern Europe, we trust that our publication will appeal to an international worldwide readership [. . .].

The journal's content consists of four permanent parts: "Articles", "Book Reviews", "Announcements" and "Books Received". We envision that in time we will be able to introduce the sections "Forum" and/or "Letters to the Editor" which will present responses to the articles and works published in the IS.

In this first attempt to bring to our readers the most interesting voices of opinion and the most promising approaches to international studies, the IS finds itself publishing essays that vary widely in methodology and focus. Several essays in our first issue combine approaches to political and cultural studies from a global point of view; others concentrate on regional and local matters. Unlike fruit, flowers, or cells, the texts are grouped not according to any natural principle but by a process of selection from the manuscript pool and by arranging them in particular sequences. While editing the first issue, this operation has unfailingly revealed some surprising connections, which in another age might have elicited a Baudelairean awe of correspondence.

In pursuit of the goal of continued excellence, we have inevitably been dependent on the contributions of our colleagues working in the field of international studies. The launching of the IS will, hopefully, generate worldwide interest, and we will be able to receive more good quality contributions in the form of submitted articles and book reviews. I hope that some contributions will also come, less formally, in the form of ideas for special issues or new features, along with information about new work, exciting new methodologies, and conference announcements, defined as broadly as possible. I am eager for such suggestions and wholeheartedly invite everyone reading these pages to give me (by phone, fax, snail mail or e-mail) the benefit of his/her creative thinking about the future of our journal.

My mission as the editor is a clear one - to secure and maintain IS's reputation as one of the preeminent journals of international cultural and political studies. Supporting me in this endeavour is the Editorial Board and Advisory Committee [. . .].

Yet, a task's clarity does not necessary make it easier to accomplish. It is my intention to avoid complacency either about the intellectual quality of our journal or, no less important, about what makes an essay right for us to publish. One danger here is that we could miss a groundbreaking study or - more likely - the innovative but still speculative, risky new idea. Perhaps we will not be able to recognize genuine originality when it arrives by post or is presented in person. I hope that anticipating such dangers will help to avoid them, especially if this editorial foreword can serve as a public announcement the IS intends to constantly expand its intellectual horizons, to redefine its scholarly profile, and to be bold on behalf of new forms of scholarly excellence. We will attempt never to lose our focus on international studies, but what "international studies" is, means and does in these closing days of the century has itself been part of the revolution in our field of scholarly endeavours.

Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney

University of Łódź