newsId: 0711F76E-5056-AF26-BE9371DAC20C1F48
Title: AU Students Excel in Cyber Security Competition
Author: Dan Letovsky
Subtitle:
Abstract: A multidisciplinary team of American University students received the “Best Oral Presentation” award for their cybersecurity policy recommendations at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/13/2015
Content:

A multidisciplinary team of American University students received the “Best Oral Presentation” award for their cybersecurity policy recommendations at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge on March 13 and 14. The School of International Service co-hosted the event with the Washington College of Law.

The team, called the AU Cybernauts, laid out pathways for U.S. policymakers in a written brief that they then presented to a panel of judges representing academia, government, and industry. During an evening reception at the law office of Baker & McKenzie, the team received the award and advanced to the semi-final round of the competition.

The AU Cybernauts are:

Eric Fleddermann, SIS/BA ’13
Dan Letovsky, KSB/MBA ’15
Nicole Shadowen, SIS/MA ’15
Juhi Tariq, WCL and SIS/MA ’15

The students were coached by SIS Hurst Adjunct Professorial Lecturer Eric Novotny and Melanie Teplinsky of WCL. AU has fielded a team every year of the competition, which is in its third year.

The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is designed to expose graduate and undergraduate students to the increasing importance of cyberspace in political competition and conflict resolution.

In the simulated crisis environment, students played the roles of intelligence analysts and policy advisors. They were asked to make recommendations to the National Security Council in response to a territorial dispute in the Spratly Islands between the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines. The scenario involved the use of wiper-style malware and DDoS attacks against a U.S. energy company. Additionally, teams grappled with questions of attribution, norms of cyberwarfare, and the roles of government and private sector entities in both regaining control of and protecting critical infrastructure networks.

“I enjoyed learning about the diverse field of cybersecurity,” said team member Juhi Tariq, WCL and SIS/MA ’15. “Our team’s multidisciplinary approach proved essential in understanding the nuances and implications of cybersecurity responses, which range from legal obligations to foreign policy considerations.”

The competition also featured cybersecurity experts in career panels, technology demonstrations, and speeches. Tom Parker, CTO of FusionX, demonstrated a computer network exploitation attack on an industrial SCADA system. General Michael Hayden, former Director of the U.S. National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, counseled the student attendees to sharpen their communication skills, which he said were crucial in the field of professional cybersecurity.

James Voorhees, MSISM Program Director of the SANS Technology Institute, stressed the uniqueness of the competition.

“There is no competition like it. A successful team must know the issues and actors in cybersecurity, both foreign and domestic,” said Voorhees. “The team must then be able to present recommendations to the judges, orally and in writing, before showing how well they can think on their feet when the judges ask tough questions. It gives the students an experience that is like no other.”

AU students interested in learning about future Cyber 9/12 competitions may contact Professor Eric Novotny at novotny@american.edu
They can also visit the Atlantic Council’s website: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/resources/2015-cyber-9-12-student-challenge-competition

Pictures from the 2015 conference can be found on the Atlantic Council’s Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/atlanticcouncil/sets/72157651511095181/

Dan Letovsky is a 2015 MBA candidate in the Kogod School of Business.

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Title: Eagles Helping and Hiring Eagles
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Abstract: SIS offers many ways for alumni to engage with students and help them with their careers. Alumni are found in all parts of the world and in many different career sectors. Several new initiatives allow students to tap into this valuable global network.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/06/2015
Content:

The School of International Service offers many ways for alumni to engage with students and help them with their careers. SIS alumni are found in all parts of the world and in many different career sectors. Several new initiatives at SIS allow students to tap into this valuable global network.

SIS Alumni Relations and Development partnered with the AU Career Center in early March to offer the first SIS Resume Review Week at the Davenport Coffee Lounge for graduate students. More than 160 students participated and had the opportunity to have their resumes reviewed by and submitted to the nearly 20,000 alumni in the SIS global alumni network.

Alumni who are interested in hiring students for fellowships, internships, and jobs can view the students’ resumes on SIS Resume Books, which is hosted by AU CareerWeb, a career management system that provides students and alumni access to career resources. The resumes are categorized by interest area:

Intelligence & Security
International Development
International Education
Economics
International Communication
International Peace & Conflict Resolution
Consulting

Stephanie Block, associate director of SIS alumni relations, underscores that the investment students have made in their degrees connects them to the SIS global alumni network.

“We rely on our alumni to volunteer, mentor, lecture, teach, inspire, recruit, and hire -- and as a result of this effort we want to easily connect our SIS global alumni network to our amazing students,” Block says. “To do this, we are providing alumni access to seven different resume books that do not require registration.”

SIS students and alumni often share stories about how they were hired by SIS alumni. Block and the SIS Alumni Relations and Development team hope the SIS Resume Review Week will result in many more such tales of Eagles helping and hiring Eagles.

Students and alumni who participated in the SIS Resume Review Week are encouraged to e-mail success stories to sisalum@american.edu

The American University Alumni Association provides a variety of valuable resources to alumni. SIS alumni are encouraged to reach others in their SIS global network by using LinkedIn in conjunction with the AU Alumni Online Directory. Additionally, the AU Career Center offers an array of networking tips and resources as well as career advising appointments for alumni. Schedule an alumni career advising appointment online or by phone at 202-885-1804.

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Title: Spotlight on the SE Program
Author: Anne Deekens
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Abstract: The Social Enterprise (SE) Program at SIS allows students to develop the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to become social entrepreneurs. We asked Robert Tomasko, director of the SE program, to tell us more:
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/03/2015
Content:

The Social Enterprise (SE) program at the School of International Service allows students to develop the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to become social entrepreneurs. SE, a practitioner-oriented program, examines both management practices and the global dynamics of social innovation. Students are encouraged to drive societal change by providing innovative and economically sustainable solutions to public problems. SE is the first program of its kind offered by an Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs member and is among the few graduate degrees available worldwide that directly focuses on social entrepreneurship.

We asked Robert Tomasko, director of the SE program, to tell us more:

What is the mission/vision of the SE program?

The SE master’s program prepares its students to take leadership roles in helping shape the exciting and growing new field of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs combine non-governmental organization (NGO) activists’ passion and concern for social impact with private sector techniques of innovation and management. SE students study both social innovation and hard and soft management practices.

How is the program unique?

SE is one of a handful of graduate degrees worldwide that permits its students to focus fully on social innovation. Based in an international relations school, the program allows its students to study with others who prioritize having an impact on society over personal gain. SE’s flexible and multidisciplinary curriculum allows for customization around specific career interests, which encourages students to take both courses in SIS and across American University.

What are some things your program does to further your students professionally?

The program attracts action-oriented doers. Students begin their study with a twelve-week consulting assignment at a Washington, DC social enterprise organization and complete it with a two-semester practicum project that they design themselves. The SE program is cohort-based, which means that students can participate in classes and experiential learning assignments alongside the same group of students. SE students build internships and jobs into their studies, some with ventures they have started. They also engage in “action research.” For example, a student team recently published its analysis of the failure of a prominent social enterprise, titled “Cause for Reflection,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Another team is examining the potential of factory audits to eliminate sweatshops.

Describe the students in SE.

About half of the entering students have a business background, while the other half come with experience in the social sector. Each group seeks to learn from the other, a collaborative process that the cohort structure facilitates. The students use their entrepreneurial interests to develop projects that drive social change, including removing buried land mines, creating a role for a New York City fashion company to help rebuild Rwanda, and using music to unite Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. Our students are ready for any challenge!

Learn more about the SE program here: http://www.american.edu/sis/socialenterprise/index.cfm

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Title: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - Three Questions for Sarah Cleeland Knight
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Abstract: A growing number of countries are joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – despite U.S. objections. We asked Sarah Cleeland Knight, an expert on international political economy, for her insights:
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/03/2015
Content:

A growing number of countries are joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – despite U.S. objections. Sarah Cleeland Knight, an expert on international political economy, recently argued that the United States should also join the bank. We asked her for her insights:

Q: Why did China create the AIIB and what are the U.S. concerns?

A: China announced its intention to create the AIIB in October 2014 to fund major infrastructure projects (roads, bridges, electrical grids, etc.) in less developed Asian countries. The AIIB will essentially serve as a World Bank for Asia, except that China will presumably have much greater control over AIIB decision-making. China has long complained that the World Bank and other institutions created by the United States and the United Kingdom in the aftermath of WWII, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, do not allow countries outside the United States and Europe to exert much decision-making authority. China initially sought to boost its influence within these extant institutions, but the U.S. Congress balked at giving China more authority, so China is now creating its own institutions.

The United States cannot possibly fault the mission of the AIIB, as there is a serious need for infrastructure investment in Asia. But the United States has voiced concerns about the AIIB’s administrative structure and lending policies. The AIIB doesn’t even exist yet, so we don’t know if these concerns are valid or are really a cloak for broader concerns about China creating a rival institution to the World Bank and further increasing its influence throughout Asia.

Q: Why have a growing number of U.S. allies decided to join the bank?

A: The real question here is why the United Kingdom decided to join the bank. The U.K.’s decision was announced in mid-March and evidently took the White House by surprise. The U.K. was the first major ally to break ranks with the United States on the AIIB, and the announcement from London opened the floodgates for other allies to follow and also join, including Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Israel. So it makes sense to evaluate the U.K.’s decision with scrutiny.

We don’t have all the answers right now, but The Financial Times is reporting that the decision originated from Prime Minister David Cameron’s office and went forward over objections from the U.K. Foreign Office. So there are some bureaucratic politics at work here. But, in a nutshell, the U.K. (Cameron) decided that the benefits of joining the AIIB and bandwagoning with China against the United States clearly outweighed the costs of angering the United States on this issue.

What should be worrisome to the United States is whether its allies will side with Beijing over Washington on other issues as well. Such a trend would signify declining U.S. influence not only in Asia but also worldwide. But we need more data points before we can see a trend.

Q: Why do you believe the United States should now join the AIIB?

A: The United States, at this stage, is standing virtually alone in protest of the AIIB. So it would be far better for the United States to join its allies as a founding member of the AIIB and hope to exert some influence from the inside. Such an obvious reversal on the AIIB is going to require some diplomatic fine-tuning. I believe that the United States should send a delegation of Treasury Department and other officials to meet with their Chinese counterparts on the details of how the AIIB will be structured and its decision-making processes. The United States should come away from those meetings satisfied that the AIIB is an important institution to promote economic development throughout Asia. And then the United States should do its best, working quietly with China, to ensure that it actually does.

For media requests, please call J. Paul Johnson at 202-885-5943.

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Title: 21 SIS Students Named Finalists for Presidential Management Fellowship
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Abstract: The School of International Service is proud to announce that twenty-one of its graduate students have been named Presidential Management Fellow finalists for the class of 2015.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 04/02/2015
Content:

The School of International Service is proud to announce that twenty-one of its graduate students have been named Presidential Management Fellow finalists for the class of 2015.

The Presidential Management Fellowship annually awards two-year federal appointments to accomplished students who demonstrate the leadership qualities necessary to serve within the federal government. The three-stage application is highly competitive -- this year, out of approximately 7,800 applicants, only 600 were named finalists.

American University has a strong record of success in the program. In 2013, AU ranked third among qualifying schools with nineteen finalists. Last year, it ranked second with thirty-four finalists. This year, AU ranks first with forty-three finalists.

Learn more about fellowship opportunities at the AU Career Center: http://www.american.edu/careercenter/index.cfm

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Title: Gift Endows New Event Series on Environmental Issues
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Abstract: Dean James Goldgeier announced that the School of International Service (SIS) has received a pledged gift of $100,000 to establish an annual lecture series highlighting critical environmental issues.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/31/2015
Content:

Dean James Goldgeier announced that the School of International Service (SIS) has received a gift of $100,000 to establish an annual lecture series highlighting critical environmental issues. The Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lectureship on the Environment is endowed by the Ignatius family and friends of the family. Nancy Weiser Ignatius is an SIS alumna, SIS/MA '69. The first event of the lecture series is planned for fall 2015.

"I am delighted that the School of International Service will host annually the Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lectureship on the Environment," said Dean Goldgeier. "Nancy Weiser Ignatius has been at the forefront of environmental advocacy -- I very much hope that the lectureship will honor her many efforts and uphold our collective commitment to a greener world."

The Ignatiuses have long been active in Washington, DC. Paul Robert Ignatius served as Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, and president of The Washington Post. Nancy Weiser Ignatius promoted environmental causes long before they became mainstream practices. More than four decades ago, she co-founded and headed Concern, Inc., an organization designed to equip consumers with the information they needed to make better choices for the environment. The organization encouraged manufacturers to develop products that were less harmful to the environment and created ecological shopping lists called "Eco-Tips." The widely distributed Eco-Tips and other activities of the organization were meant to "utilize the vast woman power of this country to help solve environmental problems," as Nancy Weiser Ignatius explained in 1972.

"The new lectureship affords yet another opportunity to highlight to others in Washington, DC and around the country the tremendous scholarship on the environment here at the School of International Service," noted Dean Goldgeier.

On the critical issue of climate change alone, SIS faculty members have collaborated to examine United Nations-sponsored conventions and other multilateral efforts to address climate change, including:
• Trade agreements and international laws as they relate to climate change;
• The volatility of resource provision and chronic flood vulnerability in poor urban or peri-urban areas due to climate change;
• The impact on food security due to climate change;
• The collective and individual suffering felt by regions most affected by climate change; and
• The positive and negative effects of geoengineering -- a technological innovation that aims to blunt the impact of climate change.

To learn more about the Global Environmental Politics program at SIS, visit: http://www.american.edu/sis/gep/lndex.cfm

To learn more about giving opportunities at SIS, visit: https://www.american.edu/sis/alumni/support.cfm

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Title: SIS Hosts 16th Annual IMI Conference on Intercultural Relations
Author: Juliana Fernandes
Subtitle:
Abstract: The 16th Annual Intercultural Management Institute (IMI) Conference on Intercultural Relations was held at the School of International Service on March 12 and 13.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/30/2015
Content:

The 16th Annual Intercultural Management Institute (IMI) Conference on Intercultural Relations was held at the School of International Service on March 12 and 13. Over 200 intercultural relations professionals in various sectors, including education, business, and diplomacy, came together to share their research and skills with colleagues in the field.

The two-day conference featured thirty-eight sessions across five subject areas -- international education, exchanges and training, diversity and inclusion, diplomacy, business, and cross-cutting topics in intercultural relations. Attendees learned experimental techniques, shared ideas, and discussed cutting-edge training methods for intercultural relations.

The conference began with a speech from Professor Gary Weaver, IMI’s founder, executive director, and a leading intercultural relations expert.

Conference participants also heard two engaging and informative keynote addresses from Lori George Billingsley, the Vice President of Community Relations for Coca-Cola North America, and Hisham Aidi, a lecturer at Columbia University and the author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture.

The keynote address on Thursday by Billingsley informed participants about the importance of diversity and inclusion in media campaigns, as well as the role that the Coca-Cola Company and brand has had in intercultural relations.

On the final day of the conference, Aidi discussed the history of Islam in music. In particular, Aidi underscored music’s effects on Muslim youth and hip-hop culture, the subject of his book.

The 2015 conference equipped participants with a toolkit of resources to apply to their own work and provided a platform for intellectual conversations about intercultural relations.

For participant Nicolle Merrill, a relationship manager from the Yale School of Management, the conference offered an interactive and valuable experience. “The conference was packed with perspective and practical tools that will be incredibly useful in my work. I have been in the field for ten years and I can’t recommend [this conference] enough to my network. Excellent content,” Merrill said.

IMI is active throughout the year, providing customized training workshops for effective communication, negotiation, and leadership across cultures.

To learn more about IMI and future workshops, follow IMI on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and visit its website at http://www.american.edu/sis/imi/.

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Title: Program Builds Bridges with Language
Author: Patrick Bradley
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Abstract: AU’s Language Exchange Program fosters cross-cultural understanding, friendship.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 03/27/2015
Content:

Zitian Sun awaited word of who his Japanese language partner would be. When the name Yuki finally arrived, he was surprised—he knew that name well.

“We got the email at the same time, essentially,” Sun, who is from China, recalled with a laugh. He reached out to his friend Yuki Kubota. “I know no one else named Yuki.”

The two had been randomly matched through the university Language Exchange Program to practice their respective native tongues: Chinese Mandarin and Japanese. While already friends, the pair would soon find a stronger relationship ahead, due in large part to the program.

Advisor for immigrant services and compliance Dong Jun Choi facilitates LEP through AU’s International Student & Scholar Services department. The program aims at increasing students’ foreign language abilities, while also giving them experience as teachers and providing cross-cultural exchange opportunities.

When they first opened the brand new program to applicants in the fall, Choi and other ISSS staffers expected fewer than 100, perhaps 50, applications.

They received almost 600.

“We realized a lot of students really want to know other cultures and practice other languages,” he said.

The majority of the participants come from AU’s School of International Service, and for Choi, that’s no surprise. “With SIS students, if they want to communicate better with different cultures and countries, they need to know how to communicate effectively and efficiently,” he said.

Though American, English-speaking students seeking foreign languages skills make up most of the participants, AU’s vibrant international student population from more than 140 countries also take part in the program to learn from one another.

“American University is a pretty international environment,” said Kubota, a visiting sophomore from Waseda University in Japan. “The university has people from around the world. To be in a language exchange program is a great way to expand one’s perspective on the world. I’m taking advantage of that.”

With both Sun and Kubota interested in East Asian studies and relations between their two countries, their conversations have moved from communication toward understanding. “We talk not only about our language and culture, but we also discuss sensitive issues in our region, such as war memory,” Kubota said. “Those conversations actually deepen our relationship.”

Still, AU’s international focus extends far beyond SIS and issues of international relations; participants also number largely from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Kogod School of Business.

To Choi, the program’s linguistic benefits are obvious, bringing students a fuller understanding of their choice language—something that’s particularly useful if they plan on studying abroad.

“We learn the formal way of speaking in the classroom, but this program allows students to learn the informal way outside of the classroom, like slang or cultural idioms and terms,” Choi said.

More than that, Sun recognizes LEP as a tool for easing international students through the culture shock of arriving on campus. He should know—he was first a high school exchange student in Massachusetts, a far cry from his home in China.

“Especially for the people who stay here for a semester or a year, it’s hard. No matter how good your English skill is, this transition can be very difficult,” he said. “By partnering up with someone from this country and meeting them every week, they can go through the culture shock pretty easily.”

With all that in mind, Choi gives preference to visiting scholars, J-1 visa students—international students who will be at AU for a short period of time—and students who will be studying abroad.

For those going abroad, the program not only works as language practice but also as a way to approach practical questions of traveling to the country of study. Their language partner can help them with questions such as how to secure a cellphone and what public transit is like. They can even provide advance introductions to friends back home to meet.

Now, as Sun and Kubota’s friendship has become closer than ever, Kubota will soon return to his home university in Japan, but Sun won’t be far behind. He plans on spending a year at Waseda University with his good friend, furthering the connection that they can thank LEP for cementing.

“You establish this relationship that’s not just simply learning the language and saying goodbye,” he said. “The language is a bridge of communication between two cultures.”

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Title: New Book Examines U.S. Foreign Policy Militarization
Author: J. Paul Johnson
Subtitle:
Abstract: American University experts co-edit Mission Creep: The Militarization of US Foreign Policy?
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/23/2015
Content:

More money is needed to effectively carry out the U.S. diplomatic mission overseas, according to Secretary of State John Kerry. He testified, in late February, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying that a mere one percent of the total U.S. budget supports everything the Department of State does abroad and it's not enough. According to Kerry, it begs the question: Why don't the Department of State and other civilian authorities like the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have the budget necessary to carry out their missions? 

American University School of International Service professors Gordon Adams and Shoon Murray, co-editors of Mission Creep: The Militarization of US Foreign Policy? (Georgetown University Press, 2015), and the experts they assembled G. William Anderson, Brian E. Carlson, Charles B. Cushman, Jr., James F. Dobbins, Jennifer Kibbe, Edward Marks, Anthony Quainton, Derek S. Reveron, Nina M. Serafino, Connie Veillette, and Sharon Weiner say as the title of the book states a preference for the Pentagon to take on the roles once reserved for civilian authorities. The contributors trace the various factors leading to the militarization of U.S. foreign policy over the last 70 years. 

The authors examine the post-World War II trend in three parts: the institutional and political context, observing the militarization trend (in the areas of development, security assistance, public diplomacy, traditional diplomacy, intelligence, and policy advice), and the implications of militarization. Throughout recommendations are made on how to stem mission creep and potentially reverse it.

The Birth of a Trend

Adams and Murray identify the Cold War as the start of the shift when the National Security Act of 1947, Truman Doctrine, and the establishment of NATO all began to shift the leadership of American foreign policy from State to Defense. As the DoD budget and capabilities grew, the trend accelerated. "The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a real game changer because the White House and Congress became consumed with counter-terrorism efforts that led to the twin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," says Shoon Murray.  

Conventional warfare gave way to insurgency after 2001. U.S. intervention in the Balkans that had distributed responsibility between the State Department for reconstruction and governance and DoD to carry out military operations was abandoned as James F. Dobbins points out given the new insurgency paradigm. "The button downed U.S. diplomat has given way to a U.S. military uniform in the eyes of the international community," says Adams. 

2005 A Defining Year

In 2005, DoD began to incorporate nation building into its mission. Adams, Murray, and several of the contributors point to the 2005 DoD Directive 3000.05 that included stability operations as a core U.S. military mission. "It is a remarkable development that the Pentagon would give marching orders for the services and commands to consider noncombat tasks on par with war fighting," write Adams and Murray. 

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing back in 2008, where Adams testified, he pointed out that the Pentagon's share of funding for overseas security assistance –traditionally a State Department responsibility budget just for U.S. development assistance-- increased from 5.6 percent to 21.7 percent or $5.5 billion from 2002 to 2005.  

Is It A Mission the Military Wants? Maybe

Several of the chapter contributors question whether the military actually wants the additional portfolios added to its core mission. What stands out is the reluctance of U.S. military leaders to remain responsible for development and humanitarian missions better suited to civilian agencies. For example, in 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, "America's civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for too long—relative to what we traditionally spend on the military." The concern was echoed by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he said the political leadership views the military as more capable, assigning it more noncombat missions, and further weakening civilian agencies. He wanted "to break this cycle".  

However, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) seems to relish the expanded role. SOCOM's responsibility to lead and synchronize the global war on terror has sometimes conflicted with U.S. civilian authorities abroad. School of International Service diplomat in residence Anthony Quainton and Murray in one of the chapters spoke to two dozen retired U.S. ambassadors in the course of their research about whether in their postings they experienced any conflicts with DoD operations. The answer was largely no with one exception. "Many of the ambassadors we spoke with," write Murray and Quainton, "were suspicious of SOCOM, perceiving SOF (Special Operations Forces) as more free-wheeling and less deferential to ambassadorial authority." One former ambassador quoted in the book said SOCOM was secretive making it tricky for U.S. ambassadors to represent U.S. interests when secret missions even to the ambassador were being carried out.

Mission Creep by the Numbers

Adams, who served as the associate director for national security and international affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration, runs through several figures demonstrating the militarization of foreign policy. For example, the Pentagon budget is more than 10 times as large as the nation's international affairs spending, and there are 215 uniformed military personnel for every Foreign Service officer.

Adams is concerned that the asymmetry could lead to "blowback". "On the one hand it's funny that there are more musicians in DoD bands than in the entire foreign service, but on the other hand the militarization has consequences," says Adams, "For decades the United States has advised well-endowed and powerful militaries in less developed countries to remove themselves from politics, social work, and the local economy, but today the expansion of the U.S. military into noncore missions sends a conflicting message to these militaries. If the U.S. military can be an investor, government adviser, developer, why not them?"

Many of the contributors concede that projects once squarely in the domain of civilian authorities like the State Department and USAID will continue to be executed by the U.S. military. But should the nation's military, the point of the spear, be digging wells, constructing schools and providing medical assistance or advising national and local governments on governance and the rule of law? The majority of authors seem to agree it's better suited for USAID and the State Department to do the humanitarian and state building work on the ground even if it means some soiled hands.

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Title: Professor Presents Findings from “Journey into Europe” Project
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
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Abstract: Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at SIS, recently reported on findings from his fieldwork in Europe over the past two years and gave a preview of his upcoming book and documentary.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/19/2015
Content:

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at SIS, recently reported on findings from his fieldwork in Europe over the past two years and gave a preview of his upcoming book and documentary.

Journey Into Europe is Ahmed’s fourth project in a series of award-winning books published with The Brookings Press. The series explores relations between the West and the Islamic world after 9/11. Ahmed is one of the world’s leading authorities on contemporary Islam.

The first book, Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, examined what Muslims thought of the United States and the West through fieldwork across the Muslim world. The second book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, showed how Americans perceived Islam and Muslims. The third book, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam, explored the tribal societies on the periphery of nations.

The next volume, Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Empire, will examine the historical relationship between Europe and the Muslim world, the contemporary challenges posed by increased immigration from the Muslim world, and the new pressures of security, globalization, and multiculturalism.

Dean James Goldgeier moderated a panel on February 11 that included Associate Professor Randolph Persaud, director of the Comparative and Regional Studies program, Distinguished Historian in Residence Michael Brenner, director of the Center for Israel Studies at AU, and Professor Tamara Sonn, the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the History of Islam at Georgetown University.

Journey Into Europe explores the intersecting issues of the increased immigration of Muslims to Europe and the growing number of right-wing parties in Europe. The study also clarifies common misperceptions about European Muslims, for instance, the idea that they subscribe to one cultural community.

Ahmed described an “ominous, threatening landscape in Europe.” His perception of Europe’s role as the “mother continent,” its large Muslim population, and continued tensions between Islam and the West make this project timely and important in contributing to “healing a fractured world,” he explained. As an anthropologist, he noted that his project is both practically-grounded and academically-minded.

Ahmed noted that the Muslim community in Europe is not united. “It is divided along ethnic, sectarian, political, and national lines,” he said. “The monolith of ‘Muslim communities’ does not exist as such as there is far too much diversity.” He noted that there are indigenous Muslims who are native to Europe and non-indigenous Muslims, including immigrants in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Persaud noted that European Muslims are increasingly living in a “third space” that neither fits the traditional notion of the Middle Eastern Muslim or the notion of “Orientalism” seen in colonial times. Thus, many Muslim immigrants find themselves in a state of limbo, said Ahmed, even those who have lived in Europe for a long time, such as the Pakistanis in the United Kingdom.

The project's scope and engagement with a wide spectrum of Muslim experiences in Europe make it a very timely and cogent endeavor.

Learn more about Ambassador Ahmed’s research here: http://www.journeyintoeurope.com/

Read more about the lecture here: http://journeyintoeurope.com/2015/02/18/ambassador-ahmed-presents-islam-in-europe-fieldwork-at-american-university/

 

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newsId: C61CDCBB-5056-AF26-BE51BCB2CC7EF9F5
Title: Be Curious and Stay Connected: Lessons from Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA '11
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tony Silva, SIS/MA ’94, looks back on his AU experience and his international communication master’s program.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 02/09/2015
Content: "Be curious and remain curious."

Tony Silva, SIS/MA '94, values this philosophy as one of the most important things that he learned from his master's degree in international communication at American University's School of International Service. Having graduated with a degree in journalism from New Mexico State University, Tony came to AU, and SIS specifically, with a passion to do good in the world. Throughout his career, and now as executive vice president of Social Change at Ogilvy Public Relations, he is doing just that.

Looking back on his career, Tony knows that he has always been striving to make the world better. He describes the work that he and his colleagues at Ogilvy do, saying simply, "Social change is ultimately to improve the human condition." He credits the diversity at AU for helping him realize his "interest in travel, interest in issues, and how these issues effect a global population." 

While Tony went straight to the SIS master's program after graduating from college in New Mexico, not everyone else did. He valued the diversity of his peers, both globally – "Many of my classmates were from other countries or had spent a significant amount of time abroad" – and professionally – "I got to just learn not only from the professors, but from everyone around me." 

Tony knows the value of his degree, and he says that in his experience, the Washington, D.C. community values it as well. "Many AU alumni stayed in Washington for 25 years," he says, "so AU is well respected." Tony also is a big proponent of continuing to engage with the university. What's one reason why he encourages others to be engaged with their alma mater? "I got a private tour of the new SIS building before it was opened! That's one of the nice perks of staying connected with the university." 

5 things Tony Silva says his AU experience taught him: 

  1. Be curious and remain curious.
  2. Stay engaged and interested in many things.
  3. Bring new thinking into the workforce.
  4. Allow and accept the evolution of communication.
  5. Stay connected with people. Staying connected helps operating in this world a little bit better.
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newsId: 65DAC901-A6A4-8974-68EDC272F0D9A737
Title: SIS Graduate Student Studies Development in Africa
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Kafia Ahmed, second year SIS graduate student in IPCR interned in Kenya.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 10/13/2014
Content:

Kafia Ahmed, a second year SIS graduate student in IPCR, focusing on development in East Africa and prevention of gender-based violence, interned in Kenya this past summer and shared her experience with us:

SIS: Describe the organization you interned for and the type of work that you did.

KA: Adeso is a humanitarian and development organization that is changing the way people think about and deliver aid in Africa. It is an NGO in Africa working in a very different way than most. It believes that development must come from within, not outside African communities (i.e. Africans themselves must determine Africa’s future) and that while international aid has provided much-needed support, it often falls short of enabling lasting change at the grassroots level. Adeso wants to change this by creating and utilizing strong bonds with African communities. 

I worked with many of the organization’s existing projects and supported a variety of central functions during my time there. I learned a lot about the organization by doing the tasks put in front of me and spent a lot of time interacting with the other staff to plan and execute projects.

SIS: Are you still in contact with the organization? 

KA: I was mentored by the organization’s Regional Communications and Advocacy Manager who I am still in touch with and currently working with to support some of the organization’s projects while I am now back in D.C.  

SIS: Describe the value of international education in relation to your own personal experience.

KA: It's difficult to learn about the world without getting there and experiencing it for yourself. No one can teach you the same way that travel can. You have to get out there and see what kind of person you can become, by challenging yourself. 

SIS: What specifically about your program abroad did you find helpful/useful? 

KA: The fact that I was given real work to do and not busy ‘intern’ work really made it a meaningful experience for me. It showed me what I could potentially be doing if I worked there full time and taught me skills needed for future work in the field. 

SIS: How did your study abroad experience influence your career aspirations? 

KA: My internship abroad was a look inside the exact kind of work I hope to do after finishing my degree. It allowed me to experience what real life conditions are for doing important work abroad and the challenges as well as the meaningful impact that are part of it. It enabled me see another piece of the picture and how I can be a part of it one day.  

SIS: What were the most challenging or difficult aspects of your program and how did you overcome them? 

KA: My biggest challenge was not getting in my own way and allowing myself to take on tasks that scared me and rising to the challenge.

SIS: How beneficial do you think it is to have this program on your resume or international experience, in general? 

KA: I think that this experience shows that I am a good candidate for the kind of work that I want to do, it shows that I am capable and have the skills set they seek.  

SIS: What kind of professional skills did you develop during your time abroad? 

KA: Timeliness, organization, and how to ask for help when I need it.

SIS: What advice can you offer to other study abroad students? 

KA: Think about what kind of job you’d like to do when you graduate and pursue an internship with an organization that has an opportunity like that. Find the person who has that job and ask them how they got to where they are.  

SIS: How did your time abroad influence your studies at SIS or academic interests, in general? 

KA: My experience showed me that the career path I’ve chosen is the right one for me and that I can actually succeed and thrive in my chosen field. 

SIS: Would you recommend the program to your peers or if the internship site interested in receiving more AU students? 

KA: I would highly recommend this internship to anyone interested in East Africa and dignified development solutions. Others can reach out to me and the SIS International Programs Office if they are interested in interning with Adeso.  

SIS: Does your career goal relate to your international experience?

KA: Yes.

SIS: Is there anything else that you wish to say about your experience? 

KA: Feel free to read the blog entries I wrote while there: http://kafiainkenya.blogspot.com/

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Title: From a Semester in Norway to a Career in International Education: Caitlin Murphy, SIS/MA '14
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Abstract: Profile of Caitlyn Murphy, SIS/MA '14
Topic: International
Publication Date: 10/06/2014
Content:

Caitlin Murphy is a recent alumna of the SIS International Communications program who spent a semester studying abroad in Norway with one of the SIS partner institutions, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. After graduation, Caitlin accepted a position at Lebanon Valley College as the Associate Director of Global Education. She now manages all international aspects at the College from international student recruitment and advising to study abroad programs. During her time as a student in the International Communication program, Caitlin focused her studies on international education.

SIS: Describe your experience abroad during your degree program at SIS

CM: I studied abroad for a semester at the University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Norway. I worked with the SIS International Programs Office and was placed in regular graduate classes at NMBU with all the other students studying there. It was a complete immersion and I not only took classes there that were different from those at SIS, but I learned so much about the country and culture of Norway. I also was able to travel around a lot on the weekends.  

SIS: Describe the value of international education in relation to your own personal experience 

CM: International education is the most inexpensive catalyst, energizer, therapy, and mirror that anyone could ask for. The experience challenges at the onset, evokes curiosity, leads to triumph and confidence, which in turn, with some reflection, is the key to all future trials and tribulations. The power to thrive somewhere else has been jumpstarted with such an experience and that is something that students can take with them for the rest of their lives.

SIS: How did your study abroad experience influence your career aspirations?

CM: Although I have studied abroad a few times before, this experience was even more transformative than I could have imagined. I met people from all around the world, I gained more spontaneity and courage, and lastly I gained genuine empathy for circumstances I had never experienced until I was five months in Norway making sense of my early 20s and my future. While I had a sense of how to navigate trains and airplanes before, I learned much more about ferries and fjords. That may seem irrelevant, but now I know that I need to be in a place that values the great outdoors, and mountains are a must.  

SIS: What advice do you offer to a study abroad student?

CM: My advice is to do everything you can. Do the things that scare you most, for the biggest risks yield the biggest rewards. Make yourself uncomfortable in times when you can make others comfortable, and you will learn to develop meaningful friendships and lasting experiences. Do not think of study abroad as a static experience. Once you have lived somewhere else, you begin to start a life with a group of people; that doesn't have to end when it's over. Reflect, communicate, and motivate yourself to stay connected elsewhere as you continue to expand your options and your world back home.  

SIS: What specifically about your program abroad did you find helpful/useful? 

CM: My program was a taste of a completely different education system. I was not accustomed to simply hearing lectures and then taking final exams that were worth large parts of my grade. While initially I was worried and annoyed about the grading process, I realized that many other students have lived this way forever and survived. I thought, why can't I? I will be better for it in the end and I will become more adaptable in my test-taking skills, and it turned out to be beneficial in the end. It has made me more flexible and a bit more stress free. 

SIS: What were the most challenging or difficult aspects of your program and how did you overcome them? 

CM: The most challenging aspect of my program was learning to balance my budget in one of the most expensive cities of the world. Some of my favorite pastimes were difficult to fulfill because such activities were extremely expensive. However, I tried new activities and did many more things with friends in our apartment complex on campus. For example, instead of eating out we cooked in -- it was during these times that we shared cultural traditions and nuances. I practiced my language skills and laughed over foreign music or entertainment. The little moments truly make the entire experience; that is the secret.  

SIS: How beneficial do you think it is to have this program on your resume or international experience, in general? 

CM: Because of my work in international education, having a network outside of the United States is always vital. Also, because I lived with international students from all around the world, I was fortunate to make lasting connections and great friendships with these people. Now I have a little network to call on for visits, favors, advice and so on as I continue in my work.  

SIS: What kind of professional skills did you develop during your time abroad? 

CM: In Norway, I was exposed to sustainability, international development, poverty, and economics through my coursework. These frameworks are vital for my future in international education and how I will conceptualize my work. While the following are not professional skills, they have served me after my time in Norway. I learned how to cook all sorts of international foods, as I was surrounded by international students. I also learned how to cross country ski, swing dance, and improved on my Italian language speaking, oddly enough. 

SIS: How did your time abroad influence your studies at SIS or academic interests, in general? 

CM: I knew going into graduate school that I wanted to study abroad so I made sure to focus on my core courses to start. This actually made me much more focused my first year and encouraged me to take additional credits, such as Skills Institute Courses. Taking on additional work to start and allowing myself more creativity towards the end of my program truly gave me a strong foundation to grow in whatever direction I wanted to at the end of my program with elective credits and thesis work abroad.  

SIS: Would you recommend the program to your peers? 

CM: I think every SIS student SHOULD study abroad. There may only be so many chances to have such an uninterrupted time period to go and explore. Even if you have done it before, every experience, new place, and new face you make can be the difference in where you end up. As SIS students, we need to practice what we preach and get out into the world MORE.  

SIS: Does your career goal relate to you international experience? CM: I hope one day to be working abroad, in some sort of educational or training capacity. Seeing Norway has opened my eyes to a desirable country, but also a great and interesting case study to an education system that is a bit unique. 

SIS: Is there anything else that you wish to say about your experience? 

CM: My experience in Norway is still so central to not only my life but my entire essence. During my experience, I faced new life obstacles, and many roads were converging at once: saying goodbye to friends, graduation, getting a job, moving, and other relationship changes. Being in Norway at the time allowed me to think objectively and with new eyes that were not exhausted by my daily routine of who I was and where I was going. This new context truly provided a new canvas and the experiences I had and the friends I made colored this for me in ways I couldn't have imagined by the time I returned home. I am still working on this "painting" in a sense, but I think, breathe, and dream about Norway and those experiences still.  

There was a story that the Norwegian Embassy did on me during my first or second week in Norway. I also made a video -- there are no words, it is just a slideshow. Enjoy!

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Title: From Undocumented to Unstoppable
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Daniel Alejandro Leon Davis achieved his college dreams, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 06/13/2014
Content:

At age six, Daniel Alejandro Leon Davis, SIS/BA ’13, came to the United States from Venezuela with his mother to visit siblings in Miami. Instead of returning home, Daniel and his mother stayed in the U.S. permanently, though they were undocumented. Despite what seemed to be insurmountable odds, Daniel persevered. He received AU’s prestigious Abdul Aziz Said Phi Epsilon Pi Scholarship, graduated Magna Cum Laude, and won the Fletcher Scholar Award for exemplifying integrity and selflessness in citizenship while achieving academically.

As an AU student, Daniel was the first undocumented intern for the Clinton Global Initiative, part of President Bill Clinton's philanthropic foundation. Now, he is chief of staff to Michael Skolnik who is a civil rights activist, political director to hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, and president of GlobalGrind.com.

“My mother lived the American dream,” Daniel says. Although his mother can’t speak English, she put on a brave face and gave her children everything she could, working as many as three jobs and eventually becoming the top interior designer for Mercedes Homes.

It is clear Daniel’s mother is his inspiration and champion. Looking back at his childhood, he recognizes the signs that she struggled because they were undocumented. He remembers nights when his mother would go without food; her constant apprehension around police officers (even mall security guards) for fear of deportation; and frequent visits to her lawyer’s office. Undocumented immigrants often live in such secrecy and fear, it is not uncommon for them to hide their status from their children, which is why Daniel did not learn he was undocumented until his senior year of high school.

Daniel dreamed of attending an Ivy League school, but the country's economic crisis derailed those plans. His mother could no longer afford the tuition, and his undocumented status disqualified him from financial aid and scholarships, so he enrolled at Seminole State College and earned his associate’s degree. Many prestigious four-year schools accepted Daniel’s transfer application but would not allow him to attend because he was undocumented.

When he called American University and revealed his status, his admissions counselor said, “Oh, you’re a dreamer! We have a way of putting you into the system,” and enrolled him despite his being undocumented. Although he again faced financial obstacles, he would not be deterred this time.

"I gave up on my dream once. I'm not giving up on my dream again. I don't care what I have to do. I'm going to American University," Daniel told himself. He called 95 scholarship organizations and asked if any of them would accept an application from an undocumented student; only three said yes: the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Coca Cola, and Phi Theta Kappa.

At his graduation ceremony, the president of Seminole State announced to Daniel, his mother, and the entire school that Daniel won all three scholarships he applied for, which totaled more than $160,000. He says, "That's the day my life changed. That's the day that everything was worth it, the day that I live for every single day."

Still, life was not easy. The scholarships did not take effect until after his first semester at AU, so Daniel couldn’t afford housing and stayed with friends instead. In October 2011, he “came out” as undocumented by wearing a sign announcing his status on LGBTQ National Coming Out Day. He told his story at an event that evening. After that, he says, “Strangers would come up to me on campus and say, ‘Hey, did you eat today? Do you want me to swipe you in to TDR?’ I felt what community truly meant at AU and that people really stand for what they believe in there.”

Unlike other students preparing for graduation, Daniel knew he wouldn’t be able to find a paying job because he was undocumented. Still, he wanted to use his personal experience and success in creating social change on a larger scale. “I introduced myself to Michael Skolnik [at an event] using the networking skills I learned in one of my classes at American,” Daniel says. Through a friend, he got a meeting with Michael and worked on some projects for him. Michael was so impressed with Daniel’s work that he immediately hired him as his chief of staff.

It was a shock. “I figured I’d be an intern,” Daniel says. Instead of interning, Daniel runs a team charged with harnessing celebrity power, especially on social media, to create social change. He has worked with Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Common, and countless others.

Daniel also finds time to give back to the American University community as a volunteer with the Latino Alumni Alliance and as a social media ambassador. He volunteers because, “AU gave me a lot, a lot, a lot! From Dr. [Fanta] Aw making sure I had housing, to people making sure I had scholarships, professors spending so much time with me and caring for me. … My service is a way to pay back all the ways people helped me at AU. And if I can help that next undocumented student who goes to AU, or help that next Latino student, I want to do that. For me, volunteering means knowing I get to be a part of a community that lasts forever outside of campus.”

Daniel is now married and is an applicant for permanent residency in the U.S.; the Washington College of Law legal clinic is assisting him with his application process.

Daniel's AU education was possible thanks in large part to donor-funded scholarships including the Barbara Bohn Wright Memorial Scholarship, the Annette Langdon Scholar-Activist Award, and the Abdul Aziz Said Phi Epsilon Pi Scholarship. Learn more about how donations to AU make a difference in students' lives.

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Title: Julio Antonio Ubillús Ramírez, SIS/MIS '13
Author:
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Abstract: An SIS graduate student from Peru brings his skills to his country's embassy in Prague, Czech Republic.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/04/2014
Content:

How has SIS made a difference in my world?

  • The MIS program is the second masters program I completed. Before the MIS, I obtained a masters degree in Diplomacy and International Affairs from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru (ADP). In general terms, my time at SIS has allowed me to increase and broaden my knowledge in many relevant academic fields that are interesting and important for my career, such as International Relations, Diplomacy and Foreign Policy making, among others. This experience has allowed me to strengthen my understanding and capacity for analysis of many different events in International Politics.

 

What was one important turning point (interaction with a faculty member, course topic, event attended, internship moment, book, etc.) during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?

  • I arrived to SIS with an already established career path, being a Foreign Service Officer in the service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru. However, I had very valuable experiences while taking classes with Ambassador Anthony Quainton (“Diplomatic Practice”), Professor Daniel Masis (”Proseminar in International Relations II”), and Professor David Mislan (“Theories of Foreign Policy Decision Making”), among others. Those were nothing but very interesting and useful academic experiences which are helping me today in different aspects of my career.

 

What has been a -- possibly unexpected-- pivotal experience or piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?

  • One of the most interesting and valuable experiences I had while studying at AU was taking a class with Ambassador Anthony Quainton, who happened to be Ambassador of the United States to Peru during the late 1980s until the first couple of years of the 1990s. As a Peruvian diplomat, it was very interesting to learn from the experiences of a foreign diplomat such as Ambassador Quainton, especially regarding his insights about Peru´s political and diplomatic affairs during a very delicate and important period of the history of my country.

 

Why I chose SIS?

  • I arrived to the SIS as the result of an agreement signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru and American University, which allows one Peruvian diplomat to take the Master in International Service (MIS) Program every year. In exchange, the Diplomatic Academy of Peru receives two SIS masters students (one per semester) every year. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru has the policy of encouraging its youngest diplomats to increase their academic education in order to be better prepared to address the challenges and duties that are inherent to our labor as Foreign Service Officers. To me, SIS represented, among the different choices to pursue higher education, one of the most attractive ones, not only because of the reputation of the university, but also because of the experience and versatility of the professors that are part of the School of International Service.

 

Fields of study?

  • I have a bachelors degree (2002-2006) and a “Licenciatura” (Professional Degree) (2007) in International Business from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru; a masters degree in Diplomacy and International Affairs (2009-2010) from the Diplomatic Academy of Peru (ADP) in Lima, Peru; and a masters degree in International Service (MIS) (2012-2013) from the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington DC, United States.

 

Languages?

  • Spanish (native)
  • English (advanced)
  • Portuguese (advanced)
  • French (intermediate)
  • Czech (beginning lessons)

 

World issue of interest?

  • Integration processes in Latin America.
  • Foreign Economic Policy as a tool to promote growth with equality in developing countries.
  • The increasing political and economic influence of China in global affairs.

 

Professional role model?

  • Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. A Peruvian Diplomat that held the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations between 1982 and 1991, leading the most important international organization during the end of the Cold War, a turning point in the history of international politics.

 

Favorite book?

  • "Ficciones" by Jorge Luis Borges.

 

Favorite movie?

  • "El secreto de sus ojos" (The secret in their eyes) by J. Campanella.

 

Current residence?

  • I am currently living in Prague, Czech Republic.

 

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Title: Ann Mangold, SIS/MIS '12
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Abstract: Alumna’s Fellowship Allows Her to Make a Difference through Federal Service
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/04/2014
Content:

Why I chose MIS:
I chose MIS because of its location in Washington, D.C. and the excellent reputation of its faculty as well as the School of International Service. I think close proximity to the nexus of politics and decision-making creates unmatched opportunities for students who study in D.C. I also liked the idea of having classroom interaction with fellow students who had a variety of experiences, from the private sector and government to NGOs and international development.

How I make a difference in the world:
I’m currently completing a Presidential Management Fellowship with the Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs. The Labor Department’s mission focuses on promoting, developing and improving work opportunities for job seekers and wage earners. In addition, the department also works on preventing, mitigating and eliminating international issues such as human trafficking and forced labor. Although it sounds cliché, I really do feel like I’m contributing to making a positive difference in people’s lives, whether it’s making workplaces safer or helping to raise the minimum wage – these are things that matter, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
Through MIS, I formed a solid network of mentors, professors and friends who have offered invaluable advice and support in my professional pursuits. I feel lucky to have met such an intelligent and inspiring group of people. My time at MIS also helped me to secure my first post-grad school job, which was a great opportunity with a media company in Kabul, Afghanistan, which I learned about through a fellow MIS student.

Field of study:
The great thing about MIS is that there are very few required courses, which allows students to choose most of their electives to focus on key interest areas. It’s sort of like a “choose your own adventure” for graduate school. I chose to take courses primarily in international security and foreign policy, with a regional focus on the Middle East.

SIS activities:
Outside of class, I completed internships with the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, The Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and The New Yorker. I found these experiences to be extremely valuable because they provided practical insight into the issues I studied and helped me to explore possible post-graduation career options, as well as meet some very interesting people in the international relations field. Additionally, I spent time getting to know my classmates and professors. Not only have many of my classmates become close friends, but they also have served as an automatic professional network.

Languages:
Working knowledge of Spanish and Arabic. I also learned basic Dari (a Farsi dialect) while living in Afghanistan and found that immersion is the best way to learn a language quickly.

World issue of interest:
I don’t have a particular issue that I’m focused on, but I would say that anything related to education/literacy for women and children (particularly girls) is of interest. I am also interested in increasing foreign policy understanding and engagement amongst Americans. It seems fewer and fewer are involved or aware of what’s happening in domestic politics, let alone the rest of the world.

Professional role model:
My mom. She set a great example for my sister and me of how to balance a career with having a family/personal life. It must have been extremely difficult, but she never complained. I find this especially amazing since she taught first grade for 36 years – it can’t have been easy to manage a classroom of six-year-olds all day and then come home to run a household.

Favorite book:
That’s a tough choice. The first book that comes to mind is Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King. It’s a true story that recounts the experiences of American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the Sahara. It’s a fascinating portrayal of human courage and resilience.

Favorite movie:
“The Lives of Others.” Set in the early 1980s, it follows the monitoring of East Berlin residents by the Stasi. I like films that are grounded in real-life events. I also love the movie “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith. It’s a classic “girl power” movie.

Current residence:
Washington, DC

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Title: Profile: Jesse Pruett, SIS/MIS '12
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Abstract: MIS graduate uses his skills to mentor and develop the next generation
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
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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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Title: Jeremy Dastrup, SIS/MIS '11
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Abstract: This MIS graduate serves and protects the United States by investigating criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats throughout Southeast Asia.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
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Why I Chose MIS:
As a mid-career government employee I needed to find a program with an extensive selection of core and elective courses which would permit me to tailor my degree to my career needs. The MIS program gave me the latitude within my degree to become intimate with the subject matter which I knew my career was going to expose me to. I knew the MIS program, and American University, was the best choice for me when I selected it, but I did not fully realize how perfect a fit it was until I completed my degree and started to apply what I had learned to my career objectives.

How I make a difference in the world:
I interact with foreign government officials on a daily basis. I strive to understand their perspectives and needs. At the same time I am able to represent the United States in a positive light, helping to break down perceived cultural barriers. I give people from different walks of life a positive impression of what America is. This in turn facilitates mission success for me and the United States government.

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
My degree has provided valuable understanding of the underlying political, cultural, economic, and security developments within Southeast Asia, which have enhanced my ability to interact and succeed throughout my career in this region of the world. The principles I learned during my MIS experience, along with the high caliber of instructors and students, are something I reflect on daily and help to shape how I work in the world.

Field of Study:
Southeast Asian Security Issues

Languages:
Spanish and Malay

World issue of interest:
Security issues dealing with Southeast Asia and more specifically the South China Sea to include territorial disputes. How the economic growth of China and other Southeast Asian countries are straining stable security relations in the region and ultimately how that subsequent strain affects the military mission of the United States.

Favorite movie:
Any romantic comedy because it allows me to laugh and spend time with my wife after a long day.

Current residence:
Singapore

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Title: Profile: Dylan Robinson, SIS/MA '12
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Abstract: Meet Dylan Robinson, SIS/MA '12
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
Content:

Why I chose MIS:
I moved to Washington, DC with the intention of making a career change, having worked in archaeology for over a decade. My work fell primarily on the environmental impact side of land development, and I reached a point where I wanted to broaden my career focus to include the bigger picture of global development.

I figured DC was probably the best place to pursue my expanded interests, being at the heart of policy development and our nation’s role in the world – I also have family in the area so I used these connections to facilitate my relocation. I was previously unaware of American University or SIS but quickly found out about them as I researched programs in the area. I was particularly drawn to SIS given their excellent reputation and their location within DC proper.

How I make a difference in the world:
I am still making my way, but am very excited about a new business that I am forming that seeks to combine for-profit and non-profit. I learned about this hybrid model through a Social Enterprise course that I took in my final semester, and it really opened my eyes to new possibilities. I hope to combine something I love – all-natural homemade lotions and balms – with a cause I care about – environmental sustainability and combating exploitation in developing nations – as most of these product ingredients come from developing and environmentally threatened areas. The nuts and bolts are still in formation, so stay tuned…

In the meantime I currently hold a few different jobs, acting as Executive Administrative Assistant for a small local business that manages investment portfolios, doing freelance editing work, and running a small greeting card business online, not to mention my most prized position – new mother!

How MIS has made a difference in my world:
Well, the full impacts are still unfolding, but I really cherished the experience of the program. The program was full of great courses and I really enjoyed meeting and collaborating with fellow professionals. The MIS program is unique in the level of experience and wealth of expertise held by the students themselves and I hope to always maintain the relationships I cultivated during my time there.

While I have found the job market to be extremely challenging in the time since my graduation and am still developing my new career path, I feel armed with a great new battery of knowledge and skills as I carve my way.

Field of study:
I chose classes from a fairly broad spectrum of fields within SIS, including US Foreign Policy, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Global Environmental Policy, Comparative Regional Studies and Social Enterprise. So much of the field of International Relations was really new to me, so I wanted exposure to as many elements as possible. However, I focused my research whenever possible on environmental issues and tried to keep my interests in mind while considering the emphasis of the curriculum at hand.

SIS activities:
I tried to get involved in as many activities as possible to take full advantage of my time at SIS. I was elected as the MIS Representative on the Graduate Student Council (GSC)  and also sat on the Networking and Foreign Affairs Committees for the GSC. As the representative to MIS, I organized events to help students in the program network and stay connected with one another.

I also participated in negotiation practices with AU’s Negotiation Program (AUNP) , a really spectacular and unique student-run program, and attended weekend problem-solving workshops operated in partnership with other universities in the area. I spent a term in a Dialogue Development Group , another great AU program, which was very personally enlightening and challenging, and participated in a German language study group.

Finally, I took advantage of the Summer Abroad Program opportunities and spent a summer in Brussels learning about the inner workings of the EU, as well as living with a local family, and conducted a related independent study research project. After returning, I was selected to present at the SIS Summer Abroad Student Research Symposium that fall. (And yes, I did still study and sleep during all this!)

Languages:
English (native), German, currently studying French.

World issue of interest:
Environmental sustainability; development and exploitation

Professional role model:
That’s a tough question. There are so many remarkable professionals I have been lucky to work with over the years and many people who have influenced different elements of my life. I’ve also been very blessed with amazing friends and family and an extremely supportive husband.

On a very personal level, my Sensei (my martial arts instructor of over 15 years) has had an immense impact on my life. As a woman in a tough arena, she helped me learn how to be strong and comfortable being in charge yet gentle at the same time, and how to always have compassion for others even when faced with aggression. She helped me develop a personal confidence that carries over to all other aspects of my life.

My stepfather, as well, has had a large impact on my professional development. He inspires me in the way that he continuously works to improve himself professionally, and never shies away from making a leap to something new. He has managed to work his way up into a really impressive career while always keeping up great relationships and treating others with respect, not to mention being a really supportive and loving family member.

Current residence:
Jupiter, Florida

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Title: SIS Alumna Writes to Showcase Modern Challenges in U.S. Identity
Author: Karli Kloss
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Abstract: Carla Seaquist, SIS / BA ’67 strives to give space to many of the complicated, and at times, ephemeral social and political issues facing our country.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/08/2014
Content:

As a writer and playwright, Carla Seaquist, SIS/BA ’67, strives to give space to the complicated political, cultural, and ethical-moral issues facing our country. She began her career in civil rights activism, helping to organize the women’s caucus at the Brookings Institution from 1972 to 1976.

She then moved to San Diego where she served as the city’s equal opportunity officer from 1977 to 1983, successfully moving women and minorities into nontraditional jobs. For this work she was awarded NOW’s Susan B. Anthony award “for courage and hard work on behalf of women and minorities.”

The shift from civil rights to writing was a logical progression, Seaquist says. She began working as a freelance writer until she moved on to playwriting.

During the siege of Sarajevo, Seaquist reached out to the manager of a Bosnian radio station. They built a unique relationship over the phone. She turned their conversations into a play, Who Cares?: The Washington-Sarajevo Talks, a universal drama about the saving power of human connection in chaos. This play has had three productions, including at Washington’s Studio Theatre. Seaquist has written three other plays.

The shift from playwriting to more direct commentary happened on September 11, when she witnessed the Pentagon on fire. As a result, Seaquist became a contributing writer for The Christian Science Monitor and, now, The Huffington Post.

Seaquist published her first book of commentary, Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character, in 2009. Her forthcoming book is titled Can America Save Itself from Decline?: Politics, Culture, Morality. She also published Two Plays of Life and Death.

“I have found the SIS take-away tool–the need to develop a conceptual framework–very useful,” Seaquist states. “International relations made me a world citizen, providing me with an outlook that’s global, not parochial, and a keen interest in history and other cultures–all very helpful in writing commentary.”

Seaquist lives in Washington state with her husband Larry, a state legislator, and is working on a play titled Prodigal.

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