Friday, July 12, 2019

Internship Spotlight: Joe Twinem, MA '20 American Foreign Policy

Where are you currently interning?

I currently work at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Monetary Affairs. My work at State focusses on tracking and reporting on Iranian financial and banking sectors and the impact of oil prices on the economic and fiscal stability of oil exporting nations. My office is considered a functional office, so it is a mix of civil servants and economic coned Foreign Service Officers. Since being at State, I have written many briefings, sat in on meetings with senior leadership of the Department, met with activists working towards the freedom of political prisoners, and coordinated multilateral gatherings for numerous foreign dignitaries.

What was your background prior to coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS?

Before coming to SAIS, I worked in India on development projects, did educational programs in Guatemala, and led aid teams in Central America, Africa, and Europe. After working abroad for five years, I came back to the States for undergrad at The Ohio State University, where I focused on International Affairs and Arabic. Now in D.C., this is my second internship at State (the first was in the Arabian Peninsula Affairs office), and next, I plan to begin a Pathways internship at the Department of Treasury in August 2019.

How do you think SAIS prepared you for the role you accepted?

My experience at SAIS has been foundational to the success that I have experienced while at State. Working in an economics bureau, the analysis that I conduct for the Department is informed daily by the international economics coursework that I have undertaken as a SAISer. When drafting policy recommendations, I have reflected on lessons learned about Iranian history in Professor Bajoghli’s class, and about American Foreign Policy in Professor Sarotte’s course. The world-class education we receive from SAIS goes far in preparing a student for diplomacy, and people at State know that. I often get more rewarding assignments because colleagues know that I am a SAISer and that means that my training in U.S. foreign policy and economics is among the best in Washington.

What advice would you give prospective students considering SAIS? 

I would say that the decision of what graduate school you choose will stay with you your entire career, so it is an important choice. In the D.C. community, and in Federal service, the SAIS name carries great weight. In Washington, SAISers are respected for their superior economics skills among foreign policy professionals, and are known to have a sophisticated understanding of U.S. foreign policy. These components of the SAIS training are assets to those who graduate from SAIS and are worth the work to develop. So, my advice: go for it! Coming to SAIS is one of the greatest decisions I have made during my professional life!

Friday, July 5, 2019

July 2019 Events

Virtual Information Sessions:

On-Campus Information Sessions:

Off-Campus Information Sessions:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Internship Spotlight: Huma Qadir, MA '20 International Development

This summer, I wanted to experience working in a multilateral, international bureaucracy before I graduated so I could base future career decisions accordingly. My internship at the international Trade Center- a joint mission entity of the WTO and the UN- provided me exactly that opportunity. As I got on to the plane for Geneva, I only had a small inkling of what I was getting myself into for the next 3 months.

Though it has only been three weeks, I have developed a deeper appreciation of the arduous, extremely detail oriented work the ITC, WTO and the UN are trying to do in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At the ITC, I am working with a team invested in ensuring more sustainable global trade practices; encompassing environmental, social, management, and ethical principles. As opposed to feeling like a lonely cog in a distant system, there is a belief in achieving something greater togethereven as an intern who will be parting ways in a few months. I am working on validating standard setting organization and synthesizing the proliferation of standards across the globe in a more graspable form. Also, I have immersed myself in additional work that interests me. My additional passion project (close to home and heart) is creating value chains for livestock farmers and horticulturalists within two provinces in Pakistan.

Besides work, I spend many evenings with a book; surrounded by the immaculate beauty of the tranquilizing lake, Jet d'Eau and snow peaks visible in the distance. Geneva allows me to be mobile across Europe, especially to France and its small towns nearby. I have opted for French proficiency at SAIS and coming to Geneva has helped my speaking dramatically. Having mistakenly ordered cow tongue in place of steak pushes you to take the language more seriously! Being with the interns is another highlight of this experience. My intern cohort is diverse, yet our interests, paths and goals connect us. I am certain lifelong friendships will come out of our evening visits to the UN beach and eating the famous burgers together at the UNHCR cafeteria. 

It was refreshing to realize that the SAIS alumni network is strong here in Geneva as well. I have connected with multiple alumni within the ITC itself and plan to do so across UN organizations and elsewhere. The SAIS global footprint is real. The most valuable part of this experience will be the relationships I am able to forge during my time here. 

This experience has been rewarding and empowering thus far, and I’m certain that I will be returning to SAIS with a new sense of perspective about many varying aspects of work and life. It is with this that as I will return to SAIS end of summer, and I will pursue my international development work, with a vigor and commitment that I see here every day.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at SAIS

Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a rich learning environment that is committed to cultivating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. As SAIS prepares the next generation of leaders to tackle global issues, we continue to welcome diversity and inclusion.

The Office of Admissions invites you to watch a brief short from Tanya McMillian, Director of Student Services and Co-Chair of the SAIS Diversity Committee as she shares how SAIS celebrates the diversity within our community.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Waltzing and Making Career Moves in Europe

Just before the start of the spring semester, students at SAIS Europe took part in two of the six Career Treks, which take place every year. These trips are organized by the Office of Career Services and help students understand what career opportunities are available to them, what these entail, and what they need to do to enter a particular field.

Students at the Vienna Ball
In January, students traveled to Vienna, Austria, and Brussels, Belgium, to explore different sectors and organizations. The Vienna Career Trek was coupled with the Vienna Ball, an institutional event where students travel to the neighboring Austrian capital, to attend a traditional ball hosted by Vienna Ball of Sciences.

After a few steps of waltz, students visited the United Nations as well as organizations in the energy field such as OMV Austria and JBC Energy, to name a few.

In Brussels, students visited the NATO headquarters, European institutions such as the European Union Parliament and the European Commission, and think tanks such as Carnegie and Bruegel. Earlier in the academic year, there was a trip to London, UK, to explore the financial sector and, recently, students returned to the UK capital to learn more about political risk consulting. Also earlier in the year, a group traveled to Geneva to learn more about the multilateral sector and the opportunities within.

Visit at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium
"The trip to London helped me gain a better understanding of the opportunities within political risk consulting. I now know more about which opportunities are available and what employer expectations are" 
Nils Lange, (MA Student 2019)

Next week, more students will make their way to Milan to learn about the career possibilities offered by international companies in the private sector.

SAIS Europe

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Student Life: Life of a Dual-Degree Student

After getting my undergraduate degree in International Studies and Sociology from Johns Hopkins University, I battled with two professional passions: law and international affairs. I had a strong desire to go to law school to use my legal knowledge to support marginalized communities. But also, given my Nigerian background, I wanted to study international affairs to be equipped to work in emerging markets. For so long, my question was, “which program?” However, after attending an information session about Johns Hopkins SAIS and understanding the feasibility of doing both programs, my question became, “why not both programs?”

During my gap year, I started to do research into what programs Johns Hopkins SAIS had to offer. I discovered that Johns Hopkins SAIS had joint law, business, public health, and public policy programs with top universities. Also, if students wanted to attend other schools outside of the SAIS-affiliated ones, they could customize their own dual-degree program through an ad-hoc route. This sounded perfect! I decided I would pursue law school first and then apply to SAIS. So, I attended University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and applied and got accepted to SAIS during my first year of law school. After completing two years of law school, I packed my bags and moved to D.C.

Because I created an ad-hoc Berkeley Law-SAIS dual program, I only had to spend two and a half years at Berkeley (instead of three years) and a year and a half at SAIS (instead of two), totaling four years. Given this accelerated schedule, I was committed to making every moment of my SAIS experience worthwhile. I was eager to engage more with topics related to politics, the economy, and development on a daily basis. Additionally, I was excited to concentrate in African Studies and learn more in-depth about how Africa’s political economy coincided with its legal landscape. Lastly, I was enthusiastic to hear from well-known academic experts and political pundits who frequent SAIS and the D.C. area.

During my three semesters at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I have enjoyed watching the news in the lobby of Nitze building, taking classes by academic experts, engaging in weekly presentations organized by the African Department, and attending events with Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador Susan Page. In addition, during my first semesters at SAIS, I had the flexibility to work part-time at Oath (formerly Yahoo) as their Business and Human Rights Fellow for 2017-2018.

Moreover, what I found most enjoyable about my SAIS experience was gaining proficiency in a foreign language. Given my regional concentration in Africa, I had the option to choose between learning French, Portuguese, or Arabic. I devoted my time to French due to my interest in working in West Africa in the future. In my effort to become proficient in French, I took opportunities to spend two weeks in Côte d’Ivoire during the summer and to intern at a law firm in Paris during Hopkins’ six-week long winter break.

            But, wait. Let's be real, pursuing a professional degree can be taxing. It's undergrad all over again, but more challenging and interesting. Pursuing two degrees can be logistically and intellectually crazy: two different writing styles, finding housing over and over again, maintaining two different email addresses, on top of your various personal ones (if you attend different institutions), and only being able to take advantage of a certain number of classes and opportunities. But after a year and a half of attending Johns Hopkins SAIS, I have come to appreciate the great flexibility, unparalleled experiences, comparably low cost, and far-reaching networks that my dual-degree program has offered me.

            In the end, I can now say that I understand how deeply interrelated law and development are. Further, I understand both the limits and power of the law, specifically how a country’s economy is confined or revitalized by the set of laws the country enforces. Moreover, after three and a half years of my dual-degree journey so far, I see that my international affairs and economics background compliments my legal background well and has prepared me for a career in international corporate law. Thank you, Johns Hopkins SAIS, for an amazing three semesters! Back to Berkeley, I go!

About the Student Blogger:                                                                                           
Maria Adebayo (MA/JD, African Studies)
Maria Adebayo is a first-generation Nigerian-American born in Washington, D.C. She is a dual MA/JD student, concentrating in African Studies at SAIS and pursing her law degree at University of California, Berkeley. Maria has a desire to bring stability and development to Africa through her legal career and international studies backgroundAlso, she is a member of SAIS Christian Fellowship. Outside of school, Maria is a fashion blogger (@vidabymaria). 

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Events

14th Annual Alvin H. Bernstein Lecture with Dr. Kori Schake

Virtual Information Sessions: