Office of the Provost Success Story

Questions?

  • Office of the Provost
    202-885-2127
    Fax: 202-885-2173
    provost@american.edu
    Leonard, Room Lower Level

    Bass, Scott A.
    Provost

Mailing Address
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Larissa Kougblenou-Siebens, SIS/MIS '15

Larissa Kougblenou-Siebens

Why I chose MIS: 

I completed my undergraduate studies in Management Information Systems and International Business, but I have always had a calling for being of service to disenfranchised and marginalized people. The MIS program provided me the flexibility to further my knowledge in International Relations, especially International Development and Peacebuilding. My ultimate goal is to leverage my knowledge and expertise in International Business, Information Technology (IT), organizational development and enterprise architecture to impact the lives of marginalized populations at a policy level.

How I make a difference in the world: 

Well… I am still working on that. In 2011, co-founded an informal nonprofit organization called "THINK International and Human Security," to analyze global issues in international politics, development, security and human rights.

Furthermore, I have been working for the World Bank Group for about 3 years now, and through this work, I was fortunate to win the Youth Innovation Fund Competition with some good friends/ colleagues. The YIF is an initiative which aims to facilitate cooperation within the World Bank Group, while simultaneously investing in young staff to acquire operations experience, increasing their capacity and potential. It offers young staff the opportunity to design and implement innovative small scale projects in client countries, with the possibility to be scaled up into formalized projects.

Our team won funding to implement the Benin e-Learning Project (or Bridging the Youth Opportunity Gap in Benin through e-Learning) aims to create a sustainable knowledge-sharing platform between instructors and students by increasing the awareness and use of e-learning, and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Benin.

I consider these two efforts very small steps towards a future through which I can help improve Human security (freedom from fear, wand and indignity) not only in my country, but also in other areas of the world.

How MIS has made a difference in my world: 

MIS has given me the flexibility that I needed to customize a concentration that allowed me to hone my theoretical and technical knowledge in development, Mediation, policy and governance, by allowing me to benefit from the renowned curriculum of the International Development and International Peace and Conflict Resolution Masters Programs at SIS. Furthermore, throughout my experience as a MIS student, I have appreciated that each course offered allowed for independent research. I have expanded my social network with mentors, professors and intelligent friends from diverse origins who have inspired me to strive for better, and broadened my understanding of different cultures.

Field of study: 

International Development and Peacebuilding

SIS activities: 

I participated in an Intergroup Dialog on Race and Ethnicity.

Languages: 

French (Native), English (Advanced), German (Intermediate) 

World issues of interest: 

Human Security, Education, Poverty, Immigration, Terrorism

Professional role model: 

Dag Hammarskjöld, Second Secretary-General of the United Nations

Favorite book: 

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul Farmer

Favorite movie:  

En Route to Baghdad.  It is a movie about Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and Kofi Annan's special envoy to Iraq. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/enroutetobaghdad/film.html

Current residence: 

I currently live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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Profile: Jesse Pruett, SIS/MIS '12

Jesse Pruett, SIS/MIS '12

Why I chose MIS:
I chose MIS because it offered an internationally respected program with the flexibility to fit within a demanding and often unpredictable schedule.

How I make a difference in the world:
My father had a jar filled with coins he had collected from his world travels, which fueled an early fascination with all things “international”. I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved, in very small ways, with many of the significant world events of my generation. At this point it is my hope that I contribute through mentorship and development of other “internationals” whose own experiences will influence the direction of our country and the world.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
MIS provided a great window into the nexus of academic theory and the real-world experiences of a great cohort of student-colleagues representing a broad swath of perspectives. Sharing the academic adventure with them enriched not only my appreciation of studied histories and subsequent events but it also expanded my understanding of my own experiences.

Field of study:
My official area of focus was U.S Foreign Policy, with an unofficial emphasis on the interagency aspects of expeditionary efforts abroad.

Languages:
English, Spanish

World issue of interest:
I am interested in how military and civilian instruments of national power can coalesce in expeditionary circumstances, coordinate with international partners, and collaborate with local populations and leaders to deliver the most beneficial expression of American ideals into that environment.

Professional role model:
The American Generals of World War II provide a series of case studies in achievement in International Affairs. Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Patton, Marshall (and others) each offer lessons and insight into the traits required to commit to a cause, overcome doubt and hardship, balance strength and compassion and serve as leaders in incredibly intense environments. At the more personal level, my father is my truest role model, providing a foundation of character that I strive to build upon in both my professional and personal endeavors.

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Gerardo Talavera, SIS/MIS '15

Gerardo Talavera

Why I chose MIS:

I am a Peruvian Diplomat. I hold a Bachelors degree with a major in Economics from the University of Maryland and a Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru. When searching for a masters program, I was looking for a competitive university with international prestige that could add special knowledge and expertise to my profession. The School of International Service, and MIS in specific, was exactly what I was looking for: a great and demanding program that could give me the liberty to explore my intellectual curiosities, improve and reaffirm my professional skills, all in a diverse and enriching atmosphere. I was also enticed by SISs great network of professionals in Washington D.C., which would help my career as a diplomat, no matter where I get posted. 

How MIS has made a difference in my world:

MIS has broadened my knowledge and given me the tools to compete in a very demanding professional market. Although I am a diplomat and will serve my entire professional career in the Peruvian Diplomatic Service, I know that the skills taught in MIS have prepared me to deal with the challenges I might face in the future. The vast range of classes offered has improved my negotiating, investigative and analytical skills. Not only have I been taught by an excellent group of professors, all leaders in their fields, I have also had the chance to learn from fellow students, many of them great professionals who are thriving in their careers. This experience in MIS has helped me grow both professionally and personally.

Field of study:

One of the great things about MIS is that it gives students the liberty to choose from the amazing range of courses that SIS has to offer. Personally, I chose classes that I thought would reinforce my diplomatic skills. I also found very useful the new MIS program requirements. The economics and statistics classes updated what I learned as an economics undergraduate major and strengthened my investigative skills.

SIS activities:

I joined the intramural soccer league both fall and spring semesters of my year in MIS. This was a great experience for me; it is where I met most of my great friends at SIS and it broadened my network for future endeavors. I also attended many of the alumni networking events organized by MIS and other programs at SIS. These were a great way of meeting people and learning more about the programs reach and all the professional possibilities Washington D.C. has to offer.

Languages:

Spanish (Native)

English (Advanced)

Portuguese (Beginner)

World issue of interest:

Multilateral diplomacy.

Foreign Economic Policy, specifically Free Trade Agreements as a way of integration and economic development.

New type of open integration processes like the Pacific Alliance.

Professional role model:

My professional role model is Peruvian career diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1982 to 1991, Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. He was also Ambassador of Peru to Switzerland, Venezuela and the Soviet Union.

Favorite book:

A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique

Favorite movie:

The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson

Current residence:

Lima, Peru