newsId: F0647215-5056-AF26-BEACC1E52C332FC6
Title: Professor’s Book Examines the Role of Secretariats
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Assistant Professor Sikina Jinnah’s new book, Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance, examines the role of international bureaucracies in managing the politics of overlapping international regimes
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/23/2015
Content:

Assistant Professor Sikina Jinnah’s new book, Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance, examines the role of international bureaucracies in managing the politics of overlapping international regimes in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, and international trade.

Jinnah's research focuses on the changing dynamics of power and influence in global environmental politics. Her most recent work focuses on how key norms in global climate change politics shape power relations in global governance, and the intersection of international trade and environmental policy making. Jinnah was also formerly a consultant for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), where she reported on CITES and UNFCCC processes for IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Post-Treaty Politics argues that secretariats—the administrative arms of international treaties—matter in world politics. The book posits that by drawing on their unique networks and knowledge, secretariats emerge not simply as state functionaries or appendages, but as actors in their own right. The book shows that in the messy world of overlapping treaty regimes, secretariats are generally well-positioned, skilled, and willing to work through the challenges of “overlap management.”

The book argues that secretariats change power relations between states by (re)defining governance architectures and institutions, altering relationships by redistributing capabilities, and shaping shared norms and ideas.

“A secretariat is the brick-and-mortar hub of most international organizations and treaty regimes. We generally think of secretariats as something akin to administrative assistants, carrying out the instructions of state actors. This book illuminates how secretariats actually do this, but the picture is much more complicated. In short, secretariats carry out the typical administrative functions that we associate with these actors, but they also engage in activities that shape global governance in substantive ways as well,” Jinnah explains.

Post-Treaty Politics suggests a framework for evaluating these differences by identifying types of governance changes that can result from secretariat influence and suggesting which types of change reflect strong, moderate, or weak influence. It builds the case that overlap management is an area that is particularly ripe for bureaucratic influence, and argues that in influencing overlap management politics secretariats can shape power relations between states.

“The book examines secretariats that work on biodiversity and trade. I am less interested in how well these secretariats are managing their goals broadly defined, and more interested in how they are shaping one discrete goal in particular: management of overlapping rules and norms between treaties,” Jinnah says.

Two of Jinnah’s cases examine the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as the hub of global biodiversity governance. The first of these shows how the CBD Secretariat influences overlap management among several biodiversity treaties by designing rules and institutions. The second CBD case shows how the CBD secretariat shapes the way states understand, and accordingly govern, overlap between biodiversity and climate change.

The book also looks at the World Trade Organization (WTO), illuminating how the WTO secretariat influences trade-environment overlap in ways that both enhance developing country capacity and simultaneously entrench existing power structures.

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: F0AC1051-5056-AF26-BEECF3A5693AF07E
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: B5AB9D8C-5056-AF26-BE2F8C82290AA9EE
Title: Peace Corps Director Visits SIS
Author: Anne Deekens
Subtitle:
Abstract: Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet discussed the Peace Corps’ modernization efforts with Dean James Goldgeier at a Dean’s Discussion on January 15.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/22/2015
Content:

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet discussed the Peace Corps’ modernization efforts with Dean James Goldgeier at a Dean’s Discussion on January 15, kicking off a new semester of events at the School of International Service. Faculty, staff, and numerous students—many of whom were returned or aspiring Peace Corps Volunteers and Fellows—filled the Abramson Family Founders Room to learn about how the Peace Corps remains relevant in today’s world.

Founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps is a volunteer program for Americans run by the U.S. government.

Hessler-Radelet is its nineteenth director and has led efforts to modernize the Peace Corps and support the health and safety of volunteers. In particular, the Peace Corps launched a streamlined application process in July. The application is now shorter and applicants can find out admission deadlines more quickly. They can also indicate where they would like to serve, a departure from the past when volunteers were simply assigned a country.

Thanks to these reforms, the Peace Corps has seen a seventy percent increase in applications and a ninety percent application completion rate. To date, the Peace Corps has received the highest number of applications in twenty-two years.

“The net effect is that it’s becoming much more competitive to be in the Peace Corps. We think that’s a good thing because the Peace Corps should reflect the very best and brightest of the American people,” Hessler-Radelet said.

American University has traditionally had a close relationship with the Peace Corps. In 2014, AU was ranked tenth in the Peace Corps' annual list of top Master's International programs. The Master’s International (MI) program integrates graduate study at SIS and United States Peace Corps service into a single program. Participants are able to pursue a graduate degree at SIS while serving in the Peace Corps. SIS currently has sixteen MI students, ten of whom are currently serving in Peace Corps.

AU was ranked ninth in the Peace Corps annual list of top Paul D. Coverdell Fellows programs. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program is a graduate fellowship program that offers financial assistance to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. SIS Peace Corps Fellows share their Peace Corps experience with the communities they serve in the United States while serving in domestic service sites in community non-profits and schools. SIS currently has thirty-one fellows serving their communities.

AU also houses the Peace Corps Community Archive at the AU Library, which collects and exhibits items that document the experiences and impact of individuals who served in the Peace Corps and of individuals and institutions in host countries.

Hessler-Radelet emphasized that aspiring volunteers should have “open minds and compassionate hearts.” These personal qualities, coupled with the Peace Corps’ in-depth training programs, provide volunteers with professional skills to help them succeed both during and after their time of service.

Learn more about Peace Corps programs at SIS, and how students combine Peace Corps service with graduate studies in international service:

http://www.american.edu/sis/peacecorps/index.cfm

Or contact Stephen W. Angelsmith (sangelsmith@american.edu) for more information.

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: B7D45081-5056-AF26-BE91F3D7FA4B81D8
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8215C917-5056-AF26-BED8ED315562EC5D
Title: American University Launches Online Master of International Service (MIS) Offering
Author:
Subtitle: New executive degree is designed for professionals with nine or more years of experience in the field
Abstract: SIS, the largest school of international relations in the United States, today announced a new online executive degree track, Master of International Service (MIS).
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/22/2015
Content:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/

American University's School of International Service (SIS), the largest school of international relations in the United States, today announced a new online executive degree track, Master of International Service (MIS), designed for skilled professionals working in international relations fields around the world. Offered online in partnership with 2U Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU), a leading provider of online education solutions for top-tier nonprofit colleges and universities, the executive track provides international relations professionals with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills in areas that are immediately applicable to their careers without the need to relocate.

The condensed 30-credit MIS program is designed exclusively for students with at least nine years of professional experience in the field of international relations. The online program complements the school's existing on-campus executive program and existing Master of Arts in International Relations online graduate degree program. The course curriculum builds upon fundamental theories of international relations in areas including research methods, economics, and leadership. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in the following areas of study: Global Security, International Development, International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and United States Foreign Policy and National Security.

"American University's School of International Service's new Master of International Service option addresses the demand from deeply experienced international relations professionals who are seeking to further their existing careers, but require the flexibility of an online program with a full range of concentrations," said James Goldgeier, Dean of the School of International Service. "As a top-10 ranked school of international relations with demonstrated excellence in online graduate education, SIS is uniquely qualified to enhance its existing online offerings with this new track that is available to qualified students around the globe."

Students in the online executive MIS program will complete an intensive immersion experience held on the university's Washington, D.C. campus. The program concludes with a capstone project, taken in the student's final semester, that blends professional skills training with an applied policy or research project bridging theory and practice.

American University's School of International Service is the only top-10 ranked school of international relations to currently offer a fully online graduate degree. The school's existing program, IR Online, offered in partnership with 2U Inc., features collaborative, live classes during which students build meaningful relationships with peers and faculty in a face-to-face online setting. It also includes high-quality, interactive coursework designed by expert faculty at American University. The new online executive program now expands the school's online offerings to experienced professionals.

For more information about International Relations Online, please visit www.IRonline.american.edu or call 1-855-306-AUIR.

About American University and the School of International Service

Located in Washington, D.C., American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and around the world. AU's School of International Service is ranked consistently among the top ten schools of international relations. SIS prepares graduates for global service in government, nonprofits, and business. On campus, more than 100 full-time SIS faculty teach more than 3,000 students, from undergraduates to PhD candidates, representing 150 countries.

About 2U Inc.

2U Inc. partners with leading colleges and universities to deliver the world's best online degree programs so students everywhere can reach their full potential. Our cloud-based software-as-a-service platform provides schools with the comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, enroll, educate, support and graduate students globally. Blending live face-to-face classes, dynamic course content and real-world learning experiences, 2U's No Back Row™ approach ensures that every qualified student can experience the highest quality university education for the most successful outcome. Learn more at 2U.com.

Media Contact:

Jemila Woodson
jwoodson@2u.com
301-892-4419

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 8252CE82-5056-AF26-BEA1B390C3A87399
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 523DD4F0-5056-AF26-BE6E1EFA275852F2
Title: Professor Awarded Prize for German Scholarship
Author: Anne Deekens
Subtitle:
Abstract: SIS Professor Stephen J. Silvia received the 2014 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/15/2015
Content:

SIS Professor Stephen J. Silvia received the 2014 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies for his academic contributions to the field of Economics/Political Economy/Economic History. Silvia accepted the prize in December at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) Award Dinner in New York.

"I am deeply honored to receive such a prestigious prize. It means a great deal to me because it was awarded by a jury of my peers, and it is in recognition of my entire body of research over almost three decades," Silvia says.

Every year, the AICGS awards the DAAD Prize to an American scholar who has conducted exceptional work in one of three major areas of research: Foreign and Domestic Policy Studies, Business and Economics, and Society, Culture, and Politics. The goal of the award is to foster American scholarship on Germany and to encourage innovative contributions to the interdisciplinary scope of German Studies.

Silvia, the twentieth recipient of the DAAD Prize, is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of comparative industrial relations. His research focuses on Germany, the European Union, and the United States. Silvia’s recent book, Holding the Shop Together: German Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era, examines the evolution of the postwar German economy through industrial relations. Germany’s industrial relations regime, Silvia argues, has influenced developments in the German economy and, frequently, industrial relations practice abroad.

Currently, Silvia is researching the industrial relations practices of German automobile “transplants” in the United States. He has also written about a variety of economic issues including public pensions, eastern German economic developments, employment and unemployment in Germany, and the impact of the euro on European labor markets.

Silvia teaches comparative industrial relations, comparative politics, international economics, and international trade relations at SIS.

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 529B4D18-5056-AF26-BE7E6A411F1734E2
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 2138666E-5056-AF26-BEF779E020E4C710
Title: Center for Israel Studies Book Talk Series
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU Center for Israel Studies hosts authors book talks.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 01/14/2015
Content:

The Center for Israel Studies (CIS) is launching a series of authors' new book talks on Thursday, January 15, with a discussion about the book, To the Gates of Jerusalem, by AU History Professor Richard Breitman and his co-author Normal Goda (University of Florida). The discussion will be followed by a reception, and books will be available for signing and sale.  

 

To the Gates of Jerusalem Book Talk
with co-authors Richard Breitman (AU History Professor) and Norman Goda (University of Florida)
Thursday, January 15, 7–8:30 p.m.
School of International Service Building, Abramson Family Founders Room
The event is free, but an RSVP is requested.

AU History Professor Richard Breitman and Norman Goda (University of Florida) will talk about their recently published volume of James G. McDonald's edited diaries and papers. McDonald was a U.S. diplomat, and this book covers his work from 1945, with the formation of the Anglo-American Committee, through 1947, with the United Nations' decision to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs. He was instrumental in the recommendation that 100,000 Jewish refugees enter Palestine and won President Truman's trust in order to counter attempts to nullify the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine. McDonald later became the first U.S. ambassador to Israel.  

The event is co-sponsored by CIS, the Department of History, and the Jewish Studies Program.  

 

Why Hawks become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel
by SIS professor Guy Ziv
Thursday, February 5, 3:30–5 p.m.
School of International Service (SIS) Building Abramson Family Founders Room

Professor Guy Ziv will discuss his recently released book, Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel. The book examines how the personalities of national leaders impact policy shifts, using Shimon Peres' shift from hawk to peacemaker. 

The event is co-sponsored by CIS and SIS. 

 

The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture
by Jonathan Rynhold, Bar-Ilan University
Monday, February 23, 7–8:30 p.m.
Mary Graydon Center, Room 5

Bar-Ilan University's Jonathan Reinhold will discuss his new book The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture for the final talk of our author series. Reinhold is director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People and senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.  

 

About the Center for Israel Studies
AU’s Center for Israel Studies is a nationally known pioneer and leader in the growing academic field of Israel Studies. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, going beyond the Arab-Israeli conflict to study modern Israel’s history, vibrant society, culture, multiethnic democracy, and complex geopolitical challenges. The center sponsors frequent public programs—including conferences, discussions, lecture series, performances, and exhibits. For more information visit the Center for Israel Studies website

Tags: Center for Israel Studies,College of Arts and Sciences,School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 2815FF49-5056-AF26-BECF2DB364E3841F
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: B304B42C-5056-AF26-BE90A5AEAFB51519
Title: SIS Undergraduate Curriculum Redesign Honored
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: SIS Professors Patrick Jackson, Rose Shinko, and Elizabeth Cohn will receive American University’s Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award for their efforts to restructure the undergraduate curriculum in International Studies.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/07/2015
Content:

SIS Professors Patrick Jackson, Rose Shinko, and Elizabeth Cohn received American University’s Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award for their efforts to restructure the undergraduate curriculum in International Studies. The award was presented at the annual Ann Ferren Conference on January 9, 2015.

The Curriculum Design Award recognizes creative integration of the learning outcomes of AU’s General Education Program into the design of an undergraduate major or interdisciplinary program. 

The award committee cited the team’s “collaborative work to restructure the undergraduate curriculum in International Studies” which “clearly illustrates both an understanding of alignment and of the importance of carrying forward the concepts and themes introduced in the General Education program.” The committee noted that the team’s comprehensive approach highlights the importance of conceptual integration along with the role of meaningful assessment. 

In August 2011, SIS Dean James Goldgeier convened a task force on the SIS undergraduate curriculum that spent a year developing a set of recommendations for revising the BA in International Studies. Chief among its goals was to ensure that the BA program remained an interdisciplinary education grounded in the liberal arts. 

Jackson, who serves as associate dean of undergraduate education at SIS, led a process of renumbering all SIS undergraduate courses, instituting new prerequisites, reorganizing the substantive courses into eight thematic areas, expanding the research methodology offerings, and creating new First Year Seminars and Senior Capstone projects

“Initially, what we saw was no overarching set of goals and no systematic thought as to how classes connected, but we really wanted to capitalize on the incredible intellectual diversity of the faculty. Our job was to organize what already existed, and match students with courses that were appropriate for their interests. We wanted to give students the ability to shape their undergraduate degree into something individual for each one of them,” explains Jackson. 

Jackson notes that the task force wanted to preserve the multifaceted aspect of the undergraduate program at SIS. “We wanted to bring some order to the program without reducing the school’s important scholarly breadth,” he says. The task force also wanted to ensure that students could have an undergraduate education with a specific focus, which led to the creation of eight thematic areas, as well as nine credits with a regional focus.

"The changes we made reflect our commitment to the development of an engaging, student-centered curriculum that provides our students with opportunities to develop their critical reading, thinking, and writing capacities,” says Shinko, who serves as undergraduate program director. 

“I often meet with prospective students and their parents, and they never fail to express how impressed they are by the comprehensive academic design and intellectual structure behind the SIS curriculum. This is one of the most cutting-edge international studies programs, which enables students to chart their own academic journey across our eight thematic areas,” says Shinko. 

Jackson notes that undergraduate students benefit from a top-notch faculty: “SIS has an incredible intellectual diversity—we have anthropologists, economists, geographers, environmentalists, regional experts, sociologists, political scientists, etc.—so we had a rich base that enabled us to provide a broad liberal arts education. We feel this is one of the school’s greatest strengths.” 

Learn more about the undergraduate degree program at SIS at http://www.american.edu/sis/undergrad/

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: B4990430-5056-AF26-BEF9B1D287337DB2
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 7B3A6D7C-5056-AF26-BE823599593BC8E8
Title: Spotlight on the International Development Program
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Spotlight on the International Development Program
Topic: International
Publication Date: 12/17/2014
Content:

The International Development program (IDP) at American University’s School of International Service is one of the best established development programs in the United States. For over thirty-five years, it has trained students to participate effectively in driving socio-economic, political, and environmental change throughout the world. The program's primary focus is the improvement of opportunities for the world's poor and disenfranchised. We asked Professor Vidya Samarasinghe, director of the ID program, to tell us more.

What is the core vision/mission of the International Development program?

The International Development (ID) program at SIS is one of the best-established programs of international development in the United States. It has one of the largest concentrations of faculty both teaching and researching international development, and has approximately 1,200 alumni in development-related positions across the globe. 

The primary goal of the program is to train students to understand and improve the opportunities of the world’s poor and disenfranchised. The core focus of the curriculum is to train students to alleviate poverty and global inequality. The International Development program emphasizes that development is a problem of values and politics as well as technical issues.  

How is the program unique? 

The International Development program draws upon a multitude of academic disciplines and combines scholarly input with practical application in order to produce a curriculum that makes our students uniquely competent to work in field-oriented settings, as well as in organizations and government institutions. A unique feature of the curriculum is to produce scholar-practitioners of international development. This is facilitated by our faculty members, who bring to the classroom their scholarly research and field work experience from different parts of the Global South. The grounded nature of the curriculum showcases the significant people-oriented feature of the program. The ID program offers a set of core courses and a variety of elective courses and concentrations that would fit the interests of varied cohorts of students and prepare them for professional careers.

The International Development program also has an affiliated program called the Development Management (DM) program. The focus of the curriculum in DM is to train students in management of international development initiatives.  

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

In common with other master’s level programs at SIS, the ID program is a professional program. We emphasize skills that enable students to be highly competitive in the job market. The curriculum includes particular skills institutes that are taught by professionals in the field. The students in the International Development program may choose among four capstone options, which include the substantial research paper (SRP), the applied substantial research paper, an MA thesis, or school-wide practica, where students work as a team with clients in selected organizations to produce evaluations, research, and policy papers. The DM curriculum incorporates a management practicum for students enrolled in the program.  

Describe the students in your program.  

The ID program has more than one hundred graduate students in any given year. The typical student would have at least two years of work experience after college. The program attracts both U.S . students and international students. Among the U.S. students, the program attracts a significant number of returned Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers. We welcome international students from across the globe. Our cohort of students brings to the classroom a unique blend of diverse experiences and interests. One of the most significant aspects of the ID student body is the International Development Program Student Association (IDPSA). The association organizes the highly popular Friday Forums, where panels on important development topics are discussed. The IDPSA has a mentorship program for the first year cohort and also organizes other events.  

Tell us about your own research and areas of expertise. 

My research is focused on gender and development, and international migration and development. I have done fieldwork-based research in South Asia, particularly in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia in South East Asia, and the Philippines and Japan in East Asia. My research is focused on women’s work, politics, migration, and the supply and demand side of female sex trafficking.  

Learn more about the International Development program.

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 7B5D4D3E-5056-AF26-BE3EB39A39DDB48E
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 45F50083-5056-AF26-BEA8642456AAE5DE
Title: Professor’s Book Examines Governance in Nigeria
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Using the case study of Nigeria, Assistant Professor Carl LeVan‘s new book explores how political actors and the policymaking process shape government performance.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 12/11/2014
Content:

What are the conditions for good governance in Africa, and why do many democracies still struggle with persistent poverty?

Using the case study of Nigeria, Assistant Professor Carl LeVan‘s new book, Dictators and Democracy in African Development: the Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria, explores how political actors and the policymaking process shape government performance.  

Drawing on a historical study of Nigeria since independence, the book argues that the structure of the policymaking process -- by which different policy demands are included or excluded -- explains variations in government performance better than other commonly cited factors, such as oil, colonialism, ethnic diversity, foreign debt, and dictatorships.  

LeVan, an expert on comparative political institutions, democratization, and African security, links the political structure of the policy process to patterns of government performance. He shows that the key determinant of performance is not the status of the regime as a dictatorship or a democracy, but the structure of the policymaking process by which different policy demands are included or excluded.  

By identifying political actors with the leverage to prevent policy changes, he demonstrates how these “veto players” affect the performance of two broad categories of public policy: goods and benefits enjoyed at the national level and those at a local level. 

“Many African countries grapple with questions of inclusion and the scope of participation in the government. But if inclusion undermines one category and advances another, that is very much a dilemma. I called it a Madisonian dilemma, since I used the work of James Madison as a theoretical framework,” he says.  

This “Madisonian dilemma” has important implications for African countries struggling with the institutional tradeoffs presented by different regimes.  

LeVan’s research shows that the number of veto players reliably predicted government performance between 1960 and 2007. Regimes with more veto players had higher inflation, bigger budget deficits, and larger student/teacher ratios. However, these regimes also restrained spending on goods characteristic of patronage. 

The book challenges conventional explanations that blame ethnicity, oil, foreign debt, and other factors for public policy performance. “Far too often, we focus on constitutions and parliaments; my research shows that institutions matter when people make them matter,” LeVan says. 

By showing differences across regimes, LeVan’s book demonstrates that the structure of the policymaking process matters. 

LeVan’s career spans academia and policymaking. Prior to joining academia, he worked for U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and then as the National Democratic Institute’s country director in Nigeria. He is a frequent commentator on African politics.  

Follow Carl LeVan on Twitter at @Dev4Security.

Tags: School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: ED9F246F-5056-AF26-BE0CB11D271F1ACF
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DB4FE852-5056-AF26-BEDB1600CA93B3F4
Title: Graduates Find Career Success Off The Beaten Path
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: From porcupines to proposals, AU grads follow their passion to find jobs they love.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/04/2014
Content:

AU alum Kenton Kerns, CAS/BA '07, doesn't have your typical workday. At 6:30 every morning, Kerns and his coworkers begin the day by checking on the hundred animals living in the National Zoo's Small Mammal House. From feeding, cleaning, and medical checkups to enrichment activities, training, and research—no two days are exactly the same. 

"Working at the National Zoo is really exciting," Kerns says. "There's always something new going on, and you definitely feel like you're part of something bigger that's helping save species and habitats around the world."

Kerns started working at the National Zoo as an intern during his senior year at AU. After graduation, he applied for a full-time position that opened up at the Small Mammal House. He's been there ever since. 

"Before my internship, I didn't really understand what zoos did," he says. "The National Zoo, especially, is a leader in conservation and research—so much happens behind the scenes."

The research aspect was appealing to him and also a reason he was able to stand out as a candidate. 

"AU's biology program was research focused, and that was an advantage," he says. "A lot of people don't have that research background."

Through AU, he was also able to study abroad in Australia, which he says was an important element of his animal-focused education. Since graduation, Kerns has stayed in touch with some of his professors, and has been invited back to AU to speak to current students. 

"I feel really lucky to have found a job in a career I love that still offers so many opportunities," he says. "Meeting interns and students who are just starting out is an energizing reminder."

Joshua Joseph, CAS/PhD '04, is another alum who followed a unique career path. As an undergraduate, Joseph studied painting and history, both subjects he was passionate about but wasn't sure how to apply after graduation. He's now an officer of planning and evaluation at the Pew Charitable Trusts and an adjunct instructor for AU's School of International Service. 

"I was one of those pretty clueless undergraduates—I had such a limited idea of what I could do with my majors," he says. "I thought I could either be a graphic artist or starving artist. I didn't realize then how design thinking might be used in so many different ways, that the way they teach you to write and analyze and research in history could be valuable in other areas."

Joseph now runs "Networking for Introverts" workshops for the Career Center, based on his own experience of finding alternative ways to make contacts and connections. He wants to help current students learn from his approach and from his career path. 

Joseph credits Marie Spaulding in the AU Career Center with helping him develop ways to investigate potential career options and communicate his interests and abilities to employers.

He says, "I think that's one of the biggest challenges for career centers: to help students recognize where the gems are in their experience and pull those out, to see the value in things they are passionate about."

Joseph finds his work at the Pew Charitable Trusts fulfilling because it allows him to do just that, to apply his whole range of experience to the job.

"What I really like about what I do now is that it takes everything that I've ever done and pulls it all together," he says. "In this job you need a technical background to understand how the research works, but also soft skills, knowing how to communicate, how to give feedback and ask questions in ways that are constructive."

Speaking from his own experience, Kerns has advice for current AU students on finding your own way.

"Really accentuate the positives of your degree, and take full advantage of your location in D.C.," says Kerns. "Because the College of Arts and Sciences is not a huge school, it's easier to make connections with professors and other students in your program, and the networking opportunities are easier and more helpful than they might be somewhere else."

His advice for students who want to work at the zoo: "Volunteer. Get as much animal experience as you can. You need the degree, but that alone is not enough."

If you're not sure exactly what you want to do, that's perfectly fine too, says Joseph. It's not necessarily about the title, but rather the area you're passionate about and what you can bring to it. 

"Don't focus so much about finding the right job; a lot of people have a job in mind, but what's more important especially early on is figuring out the direction you want to go in," says Joseph. "Ask yourself, what do I like to do? What have I liked doing in the past? What are the skills I want to be using in my next job? Aim to figure out what are the things you want to do, as opposed to the specific name of the field or position."

In other words, do what you love. The rest will follow.

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,Career Center,Career Development,Career Center Services,School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DBAF2550-5056-AF26-BE7C41B827037DA7
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DD162F0E-5056-AF26-BE55A20238AC996C
Title: What Factors Influence Leaders to Compromise?
Author: J. Paul Johnson
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU author's new book explains why hawks become doves.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 12/04/2014
Content:

American University's School of International Service assistant professor Guy Ziv's new book, Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel, examines the role that leaders' personalities play in dramatic foreign policy change.

The policy implications of Ziv's research are significant. Ziv says, "If there are certain common factors underlying a leader's shift from a hawkish foreign policy orientation to a more dovish one, then identifying such factors could, among potential benefits, help policymakers shape the circumstances that might sway other leaders to opt for peace diplomacy."

With growing violence in Jerusalem and the prospects for Mideast peace looking bleak, Ziv's book is timely. What is the likelihood that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will take bold steps to break the impasse in the peace talks and work earnestly toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Ziv sheds new light on what it takes for decision-makers to revise their hard-line beliefs and pursue new, more accommodative policies.  

Case Study of Leadership: Shimon Peres

Ziv chose former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres as the primary leader in his case study because of Peres' six decades of public service at the highest levels of decision making. "Peres is an exemplary case of a hawk-turned-dove," Ziv argues. His formative political years were spent running the ministry of defense, where he oversaw furtive arms deals and the development of Israel's nuclear weapons program. He was a fierce advocate of counter-terrorism attacks. Following the 1967 War, Peres established some of the first Jewish settlements in the newly-occupied West Bank. His foreign policy views during the first half of his career were hard-line compared with his colleagues in the governing Labor Party.

It was only in the late-1970s and early-1980s that Peres emerged as a champion of the Middle East peace process, revising his positions on territorial compromise, negotiations with the PLO, Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and Palestinian statehood. Utilizing archival documents and interviewing dozens of political elites with close connections to Peres –and Peres himself –Ziv explains not only Peres' dramatic shift, but also why it occurred sooner than others, such as his archrival Yitzhak Rabin.

Ziv's book also serves as a political biography of one of Israel's most important political players who has held every senior position in the Israeli government and changed the course of Israeli history.

Three Central Findings

Ziv's research led him to three central findings concerning a leader's dovish shift.

First, applying insight from cognitive psychology, Ziv finds that the more cognitively open and cognitively complex a leader is, the more likely that leader is to change his foreign policy preferences, thereby becoming more dovish—leaders typically go from more hawkish to dovish. Looking at Israeli leaders, Peres and Rabin agreed to make significant compromises with the enemy. However, Ziv shows that Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, who were far less cognitively open and complex, never budged in their foreign policy positions. Ziv traces how Peres and Rabin concluded that peace and security for Israel could only be obtained with the PLO through negotiation and painful territorial concessions.

The second key finding is that how a particular leader perceives the impact of a shift in the distribution of power on the state's security interests is critical in determining whether he will opt for the status quo or to change foreign policy direction. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the PLO's gambit to back Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War, Peres and Rabin recognized the PLO's weakened position and Israel's upper-hand to seek an historic compromise. Both leaders perceived that Israel's long-term security interests could be cemented if they considered accommodating the adversary.

The third key finding is that, to the extent that Israel's leaders have changed from hawks to doves, they have done so following domestic political realignments that favored more dovish policies over hawkish ones. Ziv explains that moving to the left politically in the case of Rabin and Peres for the Labor Party mainstream provided the opportunity to pursue more dovish policies.

Where Is Netanyahu on the Cognitive Spectrum?

"Benjamin Netanyahu emerged as the hawk who 'outhawked' Ariel Sharon throughout the 1990s and into the first decade of the 21st century until Sharon suffered an incapacitating stroke," says Ziv. Netanyahu warned the Likud Central Committee in 2002 that a Palestinian state would be a mortal danger to Israel. However, President George W. Bush's "Road Map for Middle East Peace," which was based on a two-state solution, backed Sharon and Netanyahu into a corner. Sharon accepted the Road Map (albeit with reservations), but Netanyahu continued to oppose a Palestinian state. Only in June 2009 did Netanyahu succumb to U.S. pressure and publicly accept a two-state solution. Nevertheless, Ziv points out that Netanyahu's sincerity to promote this solution is doubtful given both his rhetoric and his unilateral actions, such as the approval of an unprecedented construction of housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Netanyahu, Ziv shows, is an unreconstructed hardliner who remains opposed to a Palestinian state. As Ziv points out, "Netanyahu chooses to surround himself with loyal political supporters who identify with his worldview, therefore leaving little room for change." Ziv concludes that Netanyahu's cognitive structure is more closed than open and more binary than complex. 

Late 20th Century Pantheon of the Cognitively Complex

Cognitive complexity and openness were well represented in the late-20th century. U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan both met the thresholds, as did Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev according to Ziv's examination.  

Looking ahead into the 21st century, Ziv sums up his key takeaway in his actor-specific approach, suggesting that shedding light on the thinking of the propensity behind a leader's ability to update his core beliefs or remain committed to them regardless of circumstances is an important measure. How a decision maker reacts to changed circumstances is important and can make the difference between initiating or continuing a protracted conflict and ending it.

Tags: Media Relations,School of International Service,IARI-SIS,Center for Israel Studies
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name: J. Paul Johnson
Contact Phone: 202-885-5943
Contact Email: jjohnson@american.edu
News Photos: DD76853E-5056-AF26-BE553699B44BFEAB
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
 
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/

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 68C6707B-AD74-8AAF-74D18078A27F0336
Media:
newsId: FE6E2C3F-F1AE-D067-7E6AC4FF5A43B4AD
Title: From a Semester in Norway to a Career in International Education: Caitlin Murphy, SIS/MA '14
Author:
Subtitle:
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!

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 367B2E53-DD2B-0B04-D52AFEA376F71CAA
Media:
newsId: D865A1EC-E4CE-7F77-0DF01C5A5707D0C7
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.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: D8AEE21A-F902-CF1F-89D117CFDC5CAA8C
Media:
newsId: 17586CF3-9100-C85A-DFAC23808CB4475F
Title: Julio Antonio Ubillús Ramírez, SIS/MIS '13
Author:
Subtitle:
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.

 

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page: Manage Subsite Mappings
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 757BF841-F24E-8E1C-9F959577B1A0861C
Media:
newsId: 17586CF3-9100-C85A-DFAC23808CB4475F
Title: Ann Mangold, SIS/MIS '12
Author:
Subtitle:
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

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page: Manage Subsite Mappings
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 176C99A0-D4D6-153A-4B81EE16DE2822E9
Media:
newsId: AB62D6E3-0B19-07D5-6C50ABE95733BD66
Title: Profile: Jesse Pruett, SIS/MIS '12
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: MIS graduate uses his skills to mentor and develop the next generation
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/28/2014
Content:

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.

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page: Manage Subsite Mappings
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: AB6D0551-074E-DD9F-7FBCE40F5A1B71E7
Media:
newsId: AADB6511-08CB-D8D8-3E12501D334AC921
Title: Jeremy Dastrup, SIS/MIS '11
Author:
Subtitle:
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
Content:

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

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page: Manage Subsite Mappings
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: AB0D33E3-A36B-F2D8-B79CF6CA90848E62
Media:
newsId: A8E4B3C9-F39E-F52A-234864A97B213006
Title: Profile: Dylan Robinson, SIS/MA '12
Author:
Subtitle:
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

Tags: School of International Service
Suggested Home Page: Manage Subsite Mappings
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 7145530D-D2F1-D66E-F0FFF4F0F98E95E4
Media:
newsId: 9EAAD75B-E8DF-00F0-7C47D563E160BB62
Title: SIS Alumna Writes to Showcase Modern Challenges in U.S. Identity
Author: Karli Kloss
Subtitle:
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.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 698A4FAB-CEAC-6C66-FF9B08E4E8C1CC96
Media:
newsId: 69E4DAE0-FEBE-7A0E-DA58D6BFCCAED21B
Title: Joe Eldridge, SIS/MA ’81, Inspires Sense of Giving among AU Community
Author: Ann Royse
Subtitle:
Abstract: Chaplain and alumnus Joe Eldridge explains why he supports AU while also encouraging others to give.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2014
Content:

As chaplain of American University, Joseph Eldridge, SIS/MA ’81, can often be found on campus talking to colleagues, listening to students, and lending his support to countless university events. 

Joe’s journey at American University began during a chance meeting in Brazil with former faculty member, Dr. Brady Tyson, where the two developed a friendship and mutual admiration for each other’s work in human rights. Dr. Tyson, now the namesake of AU’s Brady Tyson Award for Excellence in Work Related to Human Rights, recommended that Joe apply to the master’s degree program in international relations at the School of International Service. Fortunately for AU, Joe followed his friend’s advice, thus beginning a long, successful, and fulfilling career at the university where his passion and work now meaningfully intersect.

Although his current job concentrates on theology, it is widely known that Joe has a long and illustrious career in the international human rights and humanitarian field, focusing specifically on Latin America. While at AU, Joe was introduced to the concept of peace and conflict resolution from the well-renowned professor and scholar of peace and conflict studies, Abdul Aziz Said. Said also introduced the idea of civil resistance and peacemaking as drivers of sustained change, and this truly resonated with Joe’s passion for civil society and international transformation.

As university chaplain, Joe now uses many of his skills and experience to mentor students as they transition through some of the most transformative years of their lives. He enjoys watching students from when they first step onto campus through their days of graduation and the beginnings of various career paths. Joe is continuously enthusiastic about partaking in this vital era in the students’ lives and it is the reason he remains an integral part to the AU community. 

However, guiding students is only one of the many ways Joe shows his support to American University. He also gives back through the university’s annual fund and is passionate about encouraging other alumni, faculty, staff, and parents to do the same. When discussing AU, he says, “AU is a place of utter transformation and it offers so many ways to find participation…a sense of community is in the air.”

So, as the 2013-14 school year comes to a close and AU presents its newest graduates to the world with all of the tradition, pomp, and circumstance they deserve, consider giving back to the community where many students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends began their journey.

In fact, there are countless places to offer your support, whether it is to a school’s specific Dean’s Fund, the AU Fund for Excellence, or the new UFUND, where the university’s own clubs and organizations fundraise for specific programmatic needs. The university relies on the support and dedication of alumni, faculty, and staff members like Joe, who truly inspire the rest of the AU community to give back to any area that signifies and commemorates your own AU experience.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,Annual Giving,Kay Spiritual Life Center,School of International Service
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 69E63ABB-D313-522C-4A89CE8D5BDD0DA7
Media: