newsId: 89643B7A-0922-3369-06B719D64B1BED5F
Title: When AU Comes to Natstown
Author: Gregg Sangillo
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Abstract: American University had a sparkling night at Nationals Park. 
Topic: In the Community
Publication Date: 08/25/2014
Content:

Pregame Hoopla

Baseball is often thought of as an intellectual's game. Historians and literary figures get misty-eyed when talking about the hypnotic power of America's pastime. Statheads devour copies of The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in their spare time. So AU Night at Nationals Park is a natural draw for the cerebral and passionate individuals who comprise the American University community. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff turned out in force on Friday, August 22 to watch the hometown Washington Nationals take on the San Francisco Giants.

This is the third season of the successful partnership between AU and the Washington Nationals. The AU WONK campaign is represented in signage on scoreboards throughout the stadium during home games. WONK trivia challenges appear during the season and tap into the expertise of AU faculty. Launched in 2010, the WONK campaign celebrates those same smart, focused, and engaged Eagles in attendance on Friday.

View photos from AU Nats Night 2014

Plenty of AU students were at the game, and close to 400 tickets were set aside at a special discount rate for freshmen. Tickets were offered at three recent Welcome Week functions, and at one event, 180 tickets were sold in just an hour.

On Friday, students started off with a Nats-themed barbeque on campus, filled with popcorn and hot dogs. At the park beforehand, there was the highly anticipated special alumni picnic—sold out for the third year in a row. The first 25,000 fans at the stadium got free AU-Nats t-shirts. Accompanied by Nationals manager Matt Williams, AU President Neil Kerwin took part in the lineup card exchange with the umpire and the visiting Giants.

Sports journalist David Aldridge, an AU alumnus and Washington native, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. "My only goal was for it to be better than 50 Cent. I think I did that," he joked, in reference to the rapper's awful sideways pitch at a Mets game.

Aldridge (SOC /BA '87) felt gratitude towards his alma mater. "I'm so thrilled AU asked me to do this. It was a lot of fun," he said.

Treble in Paradise

Singing the national anthem at a sporting event is extremely difficult. We've witnessed Grammy-winning artists completely bungle the song. But all-female, all-AU student a cappella group Treble in Paradise was up for the challenge. "We're like sisters in the group, and so it gets really comfortable. And we usually can just laugh through any of the nerves," said Hayley Travers, a senior musical theatre major. "I think a lot of the time what trips the person up is the lyrics. And for us, since we're all singing together, the chance that we're all going to mess up is narrowed."

They certainly didn't mess up, as their beautiful rendition brought about rapturous applause from AU and non-AU spectators alike.

Hannah Johnson, a junior psychology major and the singing group's president, had her entire family come down for the game. "Without AU, we would never have had this chance," she said.

Play Ball

Throughout the game, AU's presence was everywhere. Just before the third inning, a WONK trivia challenge featured Anita McBride, executive-in-residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs. Amidst the baseball, we could learn that President Abraham Lincoln was partial to the poetry of Walt Whitman.

On Twitter, students were encouraged to use #AUNatsNight throughout the evening to share their experiences and show their AU spirit. Clawed Z. Eagle energized the crowd, with first-year students flocking to get their pictures taken with the beloved AU mascot. And as anyone who's ever been to a Nats game can attest, the Presidents' Race is the moment of truth. Clawed was holding the finish line while George Washington was victorious.

Jennifer Vinciguerra, who just earned her master's degree in organization development, marveled at seeing the AU signs in sparkling colors on the scoreboards. "It's awesome. When we came in and it said AU everywhere, on all of the screens, it was very cool," she says. "And it's nice to come back and see other alums. It's good to realize, 'Oh, there's a community here."

Welcome Week Ends With a Bang

Much to the chagrin of the hometown crowd, Giants rookie Joe Panik had a monster game, going 4-for-5 and hitting his first major league home run. But it was an all-around banner night for other freshmen. First-year students said Night at Nationals Park instilled a sense of AU pride, while integrating them into their new city.

"Sports are a big part of any city. So now, after finally moving to D.C., this adds more attachment to being here," said Benjamin Zook, a freshman CLEG major in the School of Public Affairs.

And it's fun to watch a little baseball. Zook is from nearby Loudoun County, Virginia and he was already a Nats fan. There's a time-honored tradition of baseball facilitating father-son relationships, and you can set your DVR to Field of Dreams and The Natural for fictional inspirations of this. Zook and his father also bonded over the game. "Every time I come to a baseball game without him, he always watches on TV," he said.

Rebecca Malone is a freshman in the School of International Service and she's part of the three-year Global Scholars Program. "After Welcome Week, we thought this was kind of a good way to settle into the city," she says.

Katie Low happens to be a huge San Francisco Giants fan, but she relished live baseball in Washington. "Baseball is something I watch at home with my family. It's really cool that I'm watching it here with all of these AU kids. So it's like a second family over here," she said. "Tonight is awesome. And it really makes me feel like this is kind of my home now." Low hails from San Joaquin County, California and she's also a freshman in the CLEG program.

Freshman Samantha White, a political science major, is originally from the Cleveland metropolitan area. She's an Indians fan, but she's also adopted the Nats. "I definitely love baseball. And I'm really excited that being at American University we can get these discounted tickets," she said. "I'll probably be here all the time."

The Giants won 10-3, putting a halt to the Nationals remarkable 10-game winning streak. But AU kept its own streak alive. For the third straight year, AU celebrated its intelligent, jovial, tight-knit community through baseball. New, current, and former students had a good time. And the school may be recruiting a few future stars. While Clawed was heading towards the field before the game, a young boy in a Nationals jersey recognized the mascot. "That's American University!" he blurted out.

Tags: Alumni,Giving,Media Relations,New Students,Office of Campus Life,President,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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newsId: B9D1A831-EE94-775B-8FD9F8D58D74FB22
Title: Internship Awards Allow Students to Broaden Their Horizons
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
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Abstract: Three years ago, Dean Jim Goldgeier  created the School of International Service Undergraduate Summer Internship Award  to allow students access to summer opportunities they might otherwise be unable to pursue.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/21/2014
Content:

Three years ago, Dean Jim Goldgeier created the School of International Service Undergraduate Summer Internship Award to allow students access to summer opportunities they might otherwise be unable to pursue. The program provides a stipend for selected students with demonstrated financial need to support their participation in unpaid summer internships in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

The funds support students who otherwise would not be able to complete unpaid internships over the summer. Internships are meaningful and experiential educational activities that enable students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a real world setting. They also provide substantive professional development opportunities and access to professional networks that are crucial for future job searches.

These SIS students participated in the internship program this summer: 

Jessica Agostinelli is a rising senior, focusing on foreign policy in the Middle East. She interned at the Brookings Saban Center, where she supported senior staff and assisted with research projects that enabled her to delve deeper into U.S. foreign policy and the politics of the Middle East. She is interested in pursuing work in the Foreign Service and/or at a think tank and this internship provided insight in both areas.  

Kristina Boichuk is a rising senior with interests in international politics and economics. She interned for the Economic Development Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She learned about economic development through a federal lens working under the Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and other senior officials. She hopes to bring the skills acquired through this internship back to her native Ukraine to help build a prosperous and sustainable democracy.  

Victoria Langton is a rising senior whose interests include national security, foreign policy, and Europe. She was a social media intern in the communication department at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She generated new content for various social media platforms and also assisted with photo and copy editing. Victoria aspires to be a photojournalist abroad and used this experience to hone her communication skills using new media platforms.  

Haili Lewis is a rising senior with interests in U.S. foreign policy and intercultural communication. As the partnerships intern at Voto Latino, she ran an initiative to partner with Latino student organizations across the country to promote and increase voter registration. She is open to pursuing a variety of careers and her internship at Voto Latino provided her with insight into the world of non-profit organizations.  

Brina Malachowski is a rising senior focusing on national security and Russian language. She interned at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), where she conducted research on a project commissioned by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Her research involved profiling criminal and extremist organizations in the United States in order to determine their willingness and capability to smuggle nuclear or radiological material that might be used in a terrorist attack. This experience provided Brina with a stepping stone to future professional endeavors in this area.  

Casey Murphy is a rising senior with interests in environmental policy, Sub-Saharan Africa, and French language. She interned with the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, where her work involved outreach to foreign and domestic audiences in the lead up to two key events: the Presidential Summit for Washington Fellows and the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In the future, she hopes to work on resolving environmental issues in Africa. Her internship equipped her with the skills needed to work in this area by providing her with knowledge of U.S.-Africa policy and strategies to engage with Africans at home and abroad.  

Mehmil Zia is a rising junior interested in U.S. foreign policy in South Asia. She interned at the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute working in the South and Central Asia Studies division of the School of Professional and Area Studies. Her responsibilities included creating ambassadorial briefing books, syllabi, courses, and a webpage catered specifically to Foreign Service students. This internship provided Mehmil with insight into the Foreign Service and access to a network of professional contacts and mentors who can advise and assist her as she sets down the path to becoming a Foreign Service officer after graduation. 

Learn more about internship opportunities while at SIS.

Learn more about how to support student opportunities at SIS.

 

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Title: A Home Away From Home
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: First-year students flock to living-learning programs.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 08/20/2014
Content:

A Growing Trend

They're moving to a new city. They're living on their own. They're entering a world of academic rigor. In a nutshell, each student is embarking on a brand new life. As incoming freshmen gear up for the college experience, it's hard to overstate the life changes in store for them.

Yet American University has fostered special environments where like-minded, high-achieving students can live and learn together. An increasing number of AU students are enrolling in living-learning communities, such as the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program (FDDS), the newly revamped AU Honors Program, and the Three-Year Scholars bachelor's degree programs.

About one-third of all undergraduate applicants showed interest in these three programs, and many students submitted between eight to 14 essays as part of the process. While students have historically been invited to join the Honors Program, the number of applicants now dwarfs the number of available spaces. Some 2,400 students applied for FDDS, tripling the number from last year.

The university subsequently launched two new programs: AU Scholars and the Community-Based Research Scholars (CRBS). Now almost 70 percent of AU's class of 2018 will have the chance to participate in a living-learning program.

Opportunities Abound

Shyheim Snead is an incoming freshman in FDDS. Just before Welcome Week, he explained the appeal of this prestigious program: "One thing that stood out to me was the success rate of the students." The program has enabled scholars to visit with a number of dignitaries, such as Colin Powell. "You meet all types of people, icons in the country, to help you connect with your goals," Snead says. AU covers full tuition, room, board, fees, and books for FDDS students, as long as they maintain a minimum 3.2 grade point average.

AU Scholars is a program for first-year students. Scholars will take an Honors seminar and intellectually engaging supplementary modules. Those modules encourage scholars to collaborate with each other while pursuing controversial, historical, and societal questions. "These courses are based on what you are interested in, and that's why this was compelling to me," says new AU Scholar Luke Theuma.

The nascent Community-Based Research Scholars program is aimed at first-year students committed to forging partnerships with community agencies and organizations, in order to make research-informed contributions. Students in this program took part in this year's Freshman Service Experience (FSE).

A Range of Emotions

First-year AU students appear eager and enthusiastic about starting anew. "I feel like there are just so many new opportunities that I'll be able to have," says Meenal Goyal, who is in the Community-Based Research Scholars program. "I'm almost pressing the reset button on my life and getting to start all over."

But there is a process of acclimation and a fear of the unknown. Students describe a range of emotions as they descend on the nation's capital. "I think I can speak for a lot of students when I say that we are all nervous and excited, and we're simultaneously terrified and thrilled," says Theuma.

Yet many AU programs, such as living-leaning communities, help ease the transition for apprehensive students. "I think just coming into American as a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar, you have that kind of community feeling and you're automatically entering a family," says Snead.

"I'm really excited to have roommates who have similar interests," says KT Buckler, part of Community-Based Research Scholars. "We can have really intellectual conversations about what we're learning, and get other people's perspectives," adds incoming AU Scholar Abi VanPelt.

Unique Backstories

While living-learning programs can be cohesive, they also draw from a diverse talent pool. Students obviously possess their own unique backstories. And even at a young age, many of them have already demonstrated a commitment to public service.

Theuma was born on the island nation of Malta, lived in places like New Orleans and Minneapolis, and eventually settled in Des Moines, Iowa. His international experience has had an impact on his college plans: He's hoping to major in international studies, with potential minors in either Russian or Mandarin Chinese languages.

Buckler is from Marin County, California, and she was immersed in community service in high school. She got involved in an organization that raised money for a girls' boarding school in Afghanistan. "I have a huge passion for girls' education and human rights in general," says Buckler, who will major in international studies.

Goyal, a psychology major, comes from Hudson, New Hampshire. While in high school, she volunteered at a nursing home and played card games with some of the residents.

Snead was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The FDDS mission—supporting students dedicated to assisting underserved communities—is one Snead has fully embraced. In high school, he worked with the anti-poverty organization buildOn. He's tutored young students and helped out at food pantries and community gardens.

Both of VanPelt's parents served in the Coast Guard, and her father was involved in the cleanup of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. She's an international studies major now, and she's contemplating a future of service in either the Coast Guard Reserve or the Peace Corps.

Incoming AU Scholar Zoey Salsbury took a trip with her Girl Scouts troop to Costa Rica last summer. During their stay, they lived on a sustainable ranch and repainted a local school. Salsbury, who hails from Seattle, will major in political science.

Home at AU

Even before the beginning of classes, some living-learning students have made meaningful connections here. This summer, VanPelt started helping out as a manager for the AU wrestling team. Theuma already got to know plenty of students through orientation and a Facebook group for the incoming AU freshman class. "The people, honestly, are what made the school worth it for me," says Theuma. "They were the kinds of people I could see myself spending a significant portion of the next four years with. So, ultimately, that's why I chose AU."

Beyond the living-learning programs, AU continues to be a popular destination. One-third of this year's freshman class is comprised of students admitted early decision.

Tags: AU Scholars,College of Arts and Sciences,Community-Based Research Scholars,Frederick Douglass Scholars Program,Media Relations,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs,Undergraduate Students,University Honors Program,Featured News
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newsId: 5DB437EA-9AB0-6DED-5743375BD50A457D
Title: The Ebola Outbreak: Three Questions for Susan Shepler
Author:
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Abstract: West African nations are currently grappling with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/19/2014
Content:

West African nations are currently grappling with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus. Associate Professor Susan Shepler, an expert on youth and conflict, was in Ebola-affected areas this summer, conducting research funded by the Spencer Foundation in Sierra Leone and Liberia in July and August.

Q: The current Ebola epidemic has claimed over 1,200 victims. Where are the hardest-hit areas? Why has the outbreak been so difficult to contain?

A: The outbreak started in the Forest Region of Guinea. From there it spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. The epicenter is the region where the three countries meet. Pre-existing weaknesses in the public health systems of all three countries have meant serious challenges. As I wrote in a blog post in July, “The Ebola virus and the Vampire State,” people had reasons to doubt whether the virus was real. It took months for people to really start taking the threat seriously. Now, the numbers have skyrocketed, which makes it more difficult to track and quarantine people exposed to the virus.

Q: The World Health Organization recently agreed to use untested medications in the Ebola outbreak, although supplies are limited. Why hasn’t an effective Ebola vaccine been developed?

A: The pharmaceutical industry is profit-driven, and until now there has not been much demand. The so-called “secret serum” was in development when it was tested on two American health workers in Atlanta. I’m happy that it’s being sent to Africa now to help treat doctors and other frontline health workers.

Vaccine development is a separate process, and reports are that Canada is sending an experimental vaccine to West Africa. There are issues of medical ethics here, but to me, the potential benefits of a weapon in the fight against Ebola outweigh the potential risks.

Q: Could Ebola spread outside of West Africa? What should Americans understand about the illness?

A: It’s possible, though highly unlikely. One only gets infected through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It’s not highly contagious, but it is highly deadly. The United States has far more advanced facilities and other capacities to deal with infections like these. Americans shouldn’t be afraid that they will get infected, though they should remember how much people are suffering in West Africa, and help if they can. For example, medical personnel are in need of simple protective gear. Doctors Without Borders is doing excellent work in the region.

To request an interview with Professor Shepler, call (202) 885-5943. Follow her on Twitter @SusanShepler.

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Title: Study Abroad in Israel: Beyond the Conflict
Author: Ariel Ehmer
Subtitle:
Abstract: We asked SIS student Ariel Ehmer to share her experience on the summer abroad program, Israel: The Prospects for Peace, with us.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/15/2014
Content:

We asked SIS GGPS'15 student Ariel Ehmer to share her experience on the summer abroad program, Israel: The Prospects for Peace, with us.

After participating in the SIS summer abroad program in Israel, my outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been completely transformed. From May 27 to June 15, ten of us embarked on an adventure around Israel, led by Assistant Professor Guy Ziv. The 2014 study abroad program, entitled Israel: The Prospects for Peace, was designed to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prospects for a peace deal, in addition to learning about Israel today. 

Our visit began in Tel Aviv where we spent time touring the quaint cobblestone sidewalks of Jaffa, haggling over souvenirs and knick-knacks at the Carmel Market, and gobbling up delicious falafel, hummus, and shawarma. While this portion of the trip was not solely focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this vibrant and progressive city offered a glimpse into the identities of the younger Israeli generation. 

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv’s more conservative and traditional grandparent, was the epitome of religiosity, history, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jerusalem’s Old City, with its labyrinth-like streets, is a place from another time. It was here that we walked in the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa on our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We gazed at the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. At the Western Wall, we stood next to Orthodox Jewish men and women as they prayed. 

Despite the fact that each of these three religions has its roots planted in Jerusalem, there is tension in the air. The separation wall (also known as the barrier or fence) between Jerusalem and the West Bank serves as proof that the ongoing conflict is far from being solved. The lesson that we learned on this trip is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for Israeli and Palestinian peace. The problem is just too complex. 

Dr. Ziv did a phenomenal job introducing different perspectives into our daily activities. Lecturers included Knesset members from the Yesh Atid and Ra’am-Ta’al-Mada parties, Foreign Service Officers serving at the U.S. Embassy, soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), renowned professors, and activists from several organizations. The topics ranged from water governance, archaeology, religious fundamentalism, settlements, and the peace process. 

What we did not learn in the classroom, Dr. Ziv ensured we experienced firsthand. We were able to float in the Dead Sea, wander the exhibits at the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, view Israel’s border with Syria at the Golan Heights, navigate through caves in Rosh Hanikra, hike up mountains, and eat lunch with both Bedouins and Druze. Our papers for the course allowed us to delve deeper into an issue of our particular interest. 

Although I do not have an answer for how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I do have a much more profound understanding about what this struggle entails and I feel extremely privileged to have had a chance to see this for myself.

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Title: Students Explore Diversity in International Affairs
Author: Giselle Lopez
Subtitle:
Abstract: This summer, Humanity in Action, an international educational organization, launched the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship, a one-month program that brought together a group of twenty-three graduate students from across the United States and Europe.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/11/2014
Content:

SIS graduate students Giselle Lopez, IPCR ’14, and Kia Hall, Ph.D. candidate, were selected as inaugural Diplomacy and Diversity Fellows. We asked Giselle to share her experience with us.

This summer, Humanity in Action (HiA), an international educational organization, launched the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship, a one-month program that brought together a group of twenty-three graduate students from across the United States and Europe to engage in a series of seminars in Washington, D.C. and Paris. The program was designed to provoke intense discussions among speakers and fellows about complex issues of diversity across a range of disciplines and encompass both domestic and international issues. 

Through the program, we met with a wide range of experts and practitioners from across the field of international affairs, including academics, diplomats, government officials, NGO representatives, and journalists. Following our seminars, we met with other fellows and members of the HiA community. 

In Washington, we began by exploring the foundations and evolution of race politics in the United States through a tour of the exhibition , “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963.” From initial discussions on slavery and the civil rights movement, we launched into seminars on the importance and experience of diversity in immigration, the professional field of international affairs, and democratization efforts. 

At renowned centers and institutions of international affairs in Washington, we discussed struggles for inclusion, efforts to prevent and respond to violent conflicts, and the role of non-state actors in international affairs. At Howard University, one of the premier Historically Black Universities in the United States, we engaged in discussions on issues including expanding diversity in the Foreign Service, the use of technology, and emerging issues in transatlantic relations. 

Following our two weeks in Washington, D.C., we traveled to Paris, France. During our time in Paris, we explored differences in European versus American perspectives. For instance, France has a policy of “color-blindness” and a constitutional article that forbids distinguishing racial and religious groups. For example, it is unlawful in France to collect data on racial and religious minorities. We had heated debates on this issue and its implications for addressing discrimination there. We also had discussions with guest speakers on new and non-traditional actors in international affairs, the role of media organizations, and the influence of European institutions in foreign policy. 

During a day trip to Brussels, Belgium, we met with members of the European Parliament and the European External Action Service to discuss transatlantic perspectives on multiculturalism and diplomacy, and we visited the Parlamentarium to learn more about the history and current events of the European Union. 

Being immersed in a diverse group of intelligent, curious, and passionate graduate students was a challenging and exhilarating experience. With such a broad range of topics, the series of seminars challenged each of us to open our minds and gain knowledge. Yet, we, too, challenged the speakers to think about their work in a new light and from other perspectives. 

This fellowship has been an opportunity to understand and grapple with issues of diversity and draw from our own diverse backgrounds to encourage a paradigm shift in how diversity is addressed in the field of international affairs.

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Title: Getting a Jump-Start
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Community of Scholars program gives high school students a taste of college.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/04/2014
Content:

If you're a high school student, taking college credit courses can be daunting. But for two students recently involved in the Community of Scholars program at American University's School of International Service, there was added pressure: They were a long way from home. Safa Bareera Khan and Emina (she goes by one name) hail from Pakistan, and this was their first trip to the United States. Yet they hardly seemed intimidated by the new environment. Many students in the Community of Scholars program are ready, willing, and able to meet the challenge.

On Their Own

"I've met some amazing people over here. It's very different from Pakistan," says Emina, who is now a high school student in Karachi. "The food, the people, the ideas—everything is different. But it's different in a good way."

"It's the first time that I've traveled to any other country, outside of Pakistan," says Khan, also a high school student from Karachi. "I'm learning to be without my parents, to be all on my own, and I'm gaining more confidence."

Though women still face obstacles in the Pakistani workforce, Khan and Emina are both determined to have rewarding careers. Emina believes Community of Scholars expands opportunities for young female students, and that's one reason why she was drawn to this particular program. "It was about being a proud woman and doing something that could actually benefit you and the people in your country," she says.

Khan—whose mother is a schoolteacher—says her family encourages her to follow her dreams and study wherever she chooses. When she was admitted into the Community of Scholars program, her grandfather was especially excited. "He was really happy and he was saying to my parents, 'Oh, you should let her go, and you should all be happy and you should not be worried,'" Khan recalls.

The Full Experience

The Community of Scholars welcomes high school students inclined towards international relations. The SIS program was started in 2008, but it was expanded two years ago to include a residential component. Students take one week of classes online before coming to campus for two weeks.

"They're often interested in being in the Foreign Service, or working in the Peace Corps," says Page Hogan, director of pre-college programs at SIS. "A lot of high schools don't have curriculums that include international relations. So this is an opportunity for students to get a jump-start on that interest."

The classes are taught by SIS faculty and last three hours per day. Students take part in a number of other activities, such as résumé writing and college admissions workshops. This summer, they visited the World Bank, the United States Institute of Peace, and the embassies of Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Since college credit courses are rigorous, Community of Scholars participants tend to be serious and dedicated. "In general, it's a pretty self-selecting group. They really want to be here, they're polite, and they're engaged," Hogan says.

Many COS students end up applying to AU. This year, 47 COS students applied to AU;of those students, 40 were admitted and 28 will enroll this fall. Past COS students have certainly distinguished themselves. Caroline Brazill, a former COS participant and current AU rising senior, was recently named a Truman Scholar.

Future Eagles?

AU is now on the radar of some 2014 COS students. Colin Ellis is an incoming senior from Denver, and he plans to apply here. His father did Washington Semester at AU when he was in college. "I toured American in February and loved it. It's like I walked on campus and I knew this was my place," says Ellis. "And then I figured out any summer programs I could find here. I found this one, and I just absolutely love it."

This summer, Ellis took the class, "Diplomacy and Dictators: U.S. Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World." That included a National Security Council simulation, and he served as the "director of national intelligence" for the class. This subject matter could prove particularly useful, as Ellis hopes to work in the intelligence community someday.

"I really like this program. It's made me consider applying here a lot more than any of the other schools I've been looking into," says Savina Tapia, a rising junior from Boston. She spent time in China last summer, and she wants to pursue international relations in college.

Also a rising junior, Meredith Whitaker is from a suburb outside of Columbus, Ohio. "I've always been interested in American. So I thought this is a perfect opportunity to experience the school and live in the dorms," she says.

Whitaker appreciates the personal attention and academic guidance she's received from faculty. "I really like the curriculum. It's a lot more interesting than high school classes you can take," she says. "Now I have a better understanding of how college will be."

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Title: Professor’s Book Examines Terror Authorization Act
Author: Antoaneta Tileva
Subtitle:
Abstract: Professor Shoon Murray’s new book The Terror Authorization: the History and Politics of the 2001 AUMF, asks whether it is time to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) act and explores how two presidents have used this "war" authority.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/01/2014
Content:

Professor Shoon Murray’s new book The Terror Authorization: the History and Politics of the 2001 AUMF, asks whether it is time to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) act and explores how two presidents have used this "war" authority.

The authorization, passed by Congress on September 14, 2001, grants the president the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the September 11 attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.  

“The AUMF was passed in haste and in a state of shock and emergency,” says Murray. “It was not meant to be used indefinitely, yet it is still in place and being used in ways that go far beyond what any Congressman could have intended.” 

Murray, an expert on U.S. foreign policy, outlines how President Bush used the AUMF to justify his administration’s domestic national surveillance program, which would have contradicted statutes already in place. The notion of “war” allowed for actions that would have violated previously established principles. For example, it was used to justify military tribunals and controversial actions such as indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay. The “war” rhetoric meant that arrests with no warrants were “detaining the enemy” and drone strikes were “targeting the enemy.” 

Under the Obama administration, what was initially limited to Al Qaida by the AUMF (which referred specifically to the perpetrators of 9/11), soon grew to apply to other groups affiliated with Al Qaeda. Essentially, the AUMF became the authority invoked to underwrite drone attacks and attacks in Yemen and Somalia on non-state actors labeled as terrorists. 

The Terror Authorization traces how the passage of the AUMF fits within the general history of war authority. It also traces how two presidents have used this authority in ways that are unexpected and increasingly controversial and perhaps even unaccountable. The book makes a case for repealing the AUMF now that combat operations in Afghanistan are winding down and Al Qaeda has been weakened. 

Murray explains, however, that it would be difficult to repeal the AUMF since it essentially gives the president powers that any president would be loath to relinquish. Proponents argue that such authority is needed in the event that new threats emerge. 

“The AUMF allows the President to use force in a routine manner without ever having to deal with Congress and it should not go on endlessly. Otherwise, Congress is abdicating its role and allowing for a permanent war with no end to take place,” says Murray.

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Title: Negotiations with Iran: Three Questions with Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John
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Abstract: Iran and six world powers recently failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to address Iran's nuclear program. Associate Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John, an expert on international negotiations, describes the prospects for a deal.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/30/2014
Content:

Iran and six world powers recently failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to address Iran's nuclear program. The group agreed to extend an interim agreement for four months. Associate Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John, an expert on international negotiations, describes the prospects for a deal.

Q: What are the terms of the interim deal?

A: The interim negotiation process is predicated on very concrete offers by the United States and the European Union for sanctions relief and increased trade in exchange for equally concrete measures to be taken by Iran to reduce the quantity and degree of their uranium enrichment. The U.S. sanctions relief included repatriation of $4.2 billion of Iran’s overseas frozen funds, facilitating Iran’s oil trade to the EU, and granting of U.S. trade licenses for civil aviation spare parts. Iran began diluting and converting its more highly enriched stocks of uranium, among other compliance activities.

But the main purpose of the interim deal is to build mutual confidence so that a permanent deal can be reached. The parties gave themselves a tight deadline, and missed it. This is not alarming though—this is not currently a crisis scenario.

Q: Tehran says it will resume talks in September to try to reach a final agreement. What would a long-term deal look like?

A: A comprehensive agreement would probably be based on a core trade: deeper sanctions relief and more trade from the United States and the EU, in exchange for stricter safeguards on the nuclear facilities and enrichment activities of Iran—measures that would assure Iran’s neighbors that it is not building a nuclear warhead. This has both strategic and technical aspects. One reassuring move would be for Iran to get its enriched uranium from other countries, but the Iranians seem unlikely to give up this capability, although they seem willing to place limits on it.

Q: Some members of the U.S. Congress are worried that Tehran has not been negotiating in good faith and that the Obama administration will concede too much to Iran. What are the prospects for continued negotiations?

A: The choice is between sanctions (or military measures) and negotiations. Sanctions clearly have been ineffective in preventing Iran from developing its nuclear capabilities. Negotiations in which Iran agrees to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency and complies with the terms of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its protocols have a better chance of getting compliance. The Iranians have negotiated in good faith on this issue before, and some Iranian policymakers and opinion leaders feel that a nuclear weapon capability would make the country less safe (Libya, Ukraine, and South Africa espoused this when giving up their nukes). There could be an Iranian counterargument that looks to Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea as examples that support the drive to have weapons.

There is never any guarantee that negotiations will work, or that parties will always negotiate in good faith, but negotiations also have the potential to get the most cooperation at the lowest cost.

To request an interview with Professor Wanis-St. John, call (202) 885-5943. Follow him on Twitter: @anthonywanis.

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Title: 1964 New York Police Riot Déjà Vu in 2005 Paris
Author: J. Paul Johnson
Subtitle: Prof. Cathy Schneider explores racial barriers and politics
Abstract: SIS associate professor Cathy Schneider’s new research finds racial boundaries result from wars on crime
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 07/24/2014
Content:

Wars on crime, immigration, and drugs and similar coded appeals to racial fears allow politicians to win votes, which in turn pressures police to enforce racial boundaries, according to new research from School of International Service associate professor Cathy Schneider. 

Schneider studied the cause of riots in her new book Police Power and Race Riots: Urban Unrest in Paris and New York and recommends the people who could learn the most from reading her book are U.S. and European voters, political leaders and legislators who make the laws that the police enforce.

"Police are not rogue agencies," says Schneider. Schneider's research looks at the 1964 riot that erupted in New York when a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager three weeks after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. 

The New York riot set off almost a decade of Black and Latino riots that crisscrossed the United States. Yet, by the late 1970s, riots had become rare in the United States. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, particularly in Great Britain and France, they became more frequent. Schneider wanted to know why.

Read Prof. Schneider's blog post about the historical echoes of the August 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri.

U.S. Accountability

In the United States, she argues, young people who had experienced the riots were hired by the city as peacekeepers, using moneys from Great Society programs. By the 1980s these young people had become community activists, and created an array of community-based organizations and a standard nonviolent repertoire for dealing with police violence. 

The Civil Rights Movement had opened up access to the judicial system for minorities to act as plaintiffs in both criminal and civil complaints against the state, and activists increasingly channeled community anger into the courtroom. Police violence remained a major issue, but the opening of alternative avenues to pursue justice made riots less likely.

Transatlantic Déjà Vu

Rioting in France had all the hallmarks of New York's riots decades earlier. In Paris, French police targeted minority youth, brutalizing and sometimes killing them, and doing so with impunity. By not holding police accountable the state was "saying that foreign and minority children's lives had no value" explains Schneider. "The unmistakable message was that the state does not represent you. The state won't even hold its own forces accountable for killing your children." 

Paris in Flames

France's worst riots occurred in October 2005 when police chased three minority youth into an electrical substation and an African boy and an Arab boy were electrocuted. But initially the community responded with nonviolent protests. Only after the French minister of interior defended the police twice, first claiming the youths must have committed a crime to hide in an electric grid, and then again after police lobbed a tear gas canister into a mosque did riots erupt. They began where the boys had died, and then spread rapidly to 300 other cities, towns and suburbs in France. 

"For three consecutive weeks youths set cars and buildings ablaze," says Schneider. "In setting cars and buildings aflame they externalized their internal pain, externalized the fires in their heads and in their hearts."

U.S. Community Policing Gaining Ground 

Schneider argues that other forms of community police relations are possible and more effective. Activated racial boundaries are bad for both community members and police. "When police enter a high crime neighborhood they should recognize that most residents are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of crime. These communities need police, but they want police to protect them not treat them as criminals. For police too it is safer and more effective to work in a community that trusts them and is willing to give them critical information." 

Schneider gives the example of New Haven Police Chief Nick Pastor who turned the arrest incentive model on its head. "Chief Pastor gave awards to officers that engaged the community rather than boosted arrest statistics," Schneider explains.

U.S. Problems Still Remain But Change May Be Coming

While riots have become less frequent in the United States, the American criminal justice system is even more discriminatory than that of France. The explosive growth of the U.S. prison population from 250,000 in 1972 to more than 2.3 million Schneider attributes to the mid 1980s harsh mandatory sentencing laws and statutes that supplanted judicial discretion in sentencing. 

Wars on drugs and crime packed prisons with minority youth. Pressures on police to meet arrest quotas also contributed to the racial disproportion in incarceration. Together these measures dramatically increased the likelihood that poor minority males and even females would spend time in prison, for nonviolent, often victimless crimes. Even innocent minorities, Schneider says often plead guilty to offenses because they cannot afford lawyers to vigorously defend them.

Today there are some positive signs says Schneider. U.S. prison populations are on the decline and harsh mandatory sentences are falling out of favor. Whether sentences will be shortened retroactively for those in prison, remains to be seen, or whether the country will help those leaving prison to reenter the job market and reconstruct their lives.

France's Dilemma

In France, Schneider says, "The centralization of policing has left little room for local innovation. The victory of the far right in the European elections coming on the heels of the National Front's strong showing in local elections months earlier are a bad omen." The recent riots and attacks on synagogues and Jewish residents in the French suburbs of Sarcelles and Garges-les-Gonesse (in response to the Israeli aggression in Gaza, and the French governments defense of Israeli actions),"show how quickly simmering anger and resentment at the low value placed on the lives of Muslim and minority children can erupt into violent conflict."

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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
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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
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.

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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
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

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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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Title: Joe Eldridge, SIS/MA ’81, Inspires Sense of Giving among AU Community
Author: Ann Royse
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Abstract: Chaplain and alumnus Joe Eldridge explains why he supports AU while also encouraging others to give.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2014
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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.

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Title: First Generation SIS Alumna Inspired by Parents’ Work Ethic, Family Values
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Gloria González-Micklin, SIS/BA ’80, immigrated to America in 1972. Her parents made extreme sacrifices to provide a better life for their six children.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 03/13/2014
Content:

Gloria González-Micklin, SIS/BA ’80, born in Bello, Colombia, immigrated with her family to New Holland, Pa. in 1972. Her parents, textile factory workers, made extreme sacrifices to provide a better life for their six children. Without their guidance and sacrifice, González-Micklin says, she would not have achieved the professional and academic milestones in her life.

“Who would have known that the daughter of two working class immigrants would be the individual charged with arranging major events requiring high security protocol for China’s leadership and their U.S. cabinet counterparts,” González-Micklin says. 

As Director of Programs for the US-China Business Council (USCBC), a non-partisan, non-profit organization of American companies involved in trade and investment with China, Gonzalez-Micklin executes major meetings and high security events for key stakeholders in U.S.-China relations, including China’s ranking officials, their American counterparts, senior U.S. business executives, and scholars during their visits to Washington, D.C. and New York City. In addition, González-Micklin manages her department and annual gala fundraiser. 

“I launched the USCBC Gala in 1998 to mark the Council’s 25th anniversary,” González-Micklin says. “This past December, as we celebrated our 40th anniversary, we honored Dr. Henry Kissinger for his many contributions to contemporary U.S.-China relations over the past four decades.” 

González-Micklin earned her master’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin and lived in China from 1992 to 1996 accumulating experiences and memories to last a lifetime but also gaining cross-cultural skills that proved invaluable in her subsequent career in Washington, DC. 

She has had the privilege of meeting every Chinese leader (President and Premier) since Zhu Rongji, including current leader Xi Jinping. 

Her work on key events for visiting Chinese officials regularly puts her in direct contact with China's most senior diplomatic representatives, and with key figures in the U.S. Congress, the State, Commerce, Treasury departments, and other agencies engaged in US-China bilateral relations. “It has been fascinating to be part of these historic events, which must be flawlessly executed,” González-Micklin says. “It is also rewarding to know that, in a small way, I am contributing to the ongoing and expanding dialogue between the two largest economies in the world.”

González-Micklin holds a special place in her heart for American University and the School of International Service. “I give of my time by participating in SIS alumni chapter events here in Washington as well as helping the next generation of international relations leaders by advising and mentoring students.” In 2001, she received a recognition for her contributions to the AU community at large. She is also active with the Hopkins-Nanjing Center where she established the Jim Townsend and Sandy Perry Memorial Endowment Fellowship in 2003.

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Title: Profile Ben Edgar, SIS/BA '11
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Abstract: Alumni Profile of Ben Edgar, SIS/BA '11
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/16/2014
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What was one important turning point during my time at SIS that influenced my professional path?

One session I had with David Fletcher his junior year. I was deciding what to do with my life, considering a bunch of different fields, and David told me to go to career fields. Having him push me to talk and connect with people was a big turning point. Especially meeting with the Deloitte, they’re really active and exciting, so interacting with them, seeing how they challenge themselves, that was a turning point.

What has been a pivotal piece of knowledge that has led me to my current position?

Going through your major, you’re not really sure, but by junior year, you’re focused on your major. With a degree like international relations, where you learn so many different things, economics, politics, a language, there are so many ways to translate that information in a lot of different ways. Deloitte capitalized on that, and on my ability to learn quickly and well, so I could do well in the business and consulting arena. Once you’re there, you’re only a step away from your major. My realization was that after your first job after school, you’re not tied to your major forever. Skill sets are translatable. Interests change.

Why SIS?

Coming from Massachusetts, I wanted to experience a different part of the country. I really liked American as a school, and liked the SIS program. It’s highly ranked, has a lot of really interesting courses, and it came down to a combination of geography and the prospect of being challenged in the classroom.

What courses stood out for you?

Between junior and senior year, I took three classes that stood out: International Terrorism – fascinating to read about these cases and terrorism throughout history. Looking at past examples was really great! Another course: Cybercrime, espionage and war crimes – that class stretched my limits going really technical into computers, and how to prevent computer hacking and spying, firewalls, etc. and looked at the political side to everything, what political implications they held, the faculty member was an advisor in the white house. Another course: Eastern Religion – a gen ed course that was great. Getting to read about Taoism and expanding my knowledge base on things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study otherwise.

How are you making a difference in the world?

I got involved at Deloitte with the Wounded Warrior Mentorship program. I chose to work with a group of veterans who served in the past 10 or 15 years. We paired up with people from Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda and provided professional mentoring relationships for Wounded Warriors, who might have a hard time getting contacts, resumes, connections, or even folks who hadn’t been to college, getting those resumes/applications ready. My own mentee was in that situation, and helping him apply to various colleges was a great part of my job at Deloitte. Now I am trying to see if I can continue working with the Wounded Warriors out in the Seattle area.

What world issue are you interested in?

War in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Just because I’m connected with the Wounded Warriors. It hasn’t been talked about a lot in the news lately, and to be honest, the number of wounded warriors coming back is less and less, which is great, but I keep my finger on that the most.

Who is your professional role model?

A manager at Deloitte on my last project was the first manager I had that struck a balance between knowing the projects/material and managing at a higher level as well. That’s a really difficult balance to strike, being high above everything, but also down in the weeds. He really did that well, and outside there were other things, but that’s something I really want to take with me.

What's your favorite book?

The Heart and the Fist by Eric Grytons – He was a Navy SEAL for a number of years, and grew up and went to Oxford for grad school. Was an accomplished boxer there, a smart guy. He talks about the difference between international diplomacy and what you can do by avoiding physical action and using diplomacy, but also what is needed and what is necessary in brute force. It makes you think on multiple levels in that regard, and that was a book I read really soon after I graduated. It still gets me thinking about our servicemen, and our diplomats, and how they balance the political sphere in everything they do.

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