Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Concentration Profile: Middle East Studies

This post is the eleventh in an on-going series highlighting SAIS concentrations.
The MIddle East continues to be relevant in the world of international affairs, and events in the recent past demonstrate as much.  In fact, students interested in the Middle East have a wide range of career options following grad school, according to Dr. Camille Pecastaing, SAIS professor and acting director of Middle East Studies.
To hear Professor Pecastaing discuss Middle East Studies further, click here.
Some highlights of the Middle East Studies program include:
  • Summer Language Scholarships. Middle East Studies students are encouraged to pursue language study in the region during the summer between their first and second years, and qualified students may apply for financial support from the program.  You can read about student experiences during their summer language study here.
  • Winter Break Trips.  During the winter break, Middle East Students have the option of participating in student-led trips to the region.  You can read student accounts of recent trips here and here.
  • Lecture Series & Brown Bag Lunch Events.  Throughout the academic year, the Middle East Studies program hosts numerous events, guest speakers and lecturers, covering a wide range of topics relevant to the Middle East.
You can learn more about Middle East Studies at SAIS here.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in this series, please click here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SAISers on Winter Break: Myanmar

This is the second student guest post about their winter break activities activities. Our guest blogger this week is Cristina Garafola, who was a regular student blogger for Admissions last year. Cristina is currently completing the MA component of the 5-semester option, having completed the Hopkins-Nanjing certificate last year, and she is concentrating in China Studies.

In Which SAISers Visit Myanmar (Burma)
Hi everyone, this is a guest post about my trip abroad during winter break (which is known as intersession at SAIS). Since returning from China to SAIS D.C. to continue my studies last fall, I’ve been taking China Studies courses and also broadening my horizons by taking some classes in the Southeast Asia Studies Department, including one on Myanmar (Burma). I’ve also begun learning Burmese, which has been really interesting so far. Both Johns Hopkins and SAIS have had an established presence in Myanmar for over 50 years—the Rangoon-Hopkins Center was actually SAIS’s first overseas program! SAIS has also hosted recent Track 1.5 Dialogues between the U.S. and Myanmar governments on a variety of issues. You can read more about SAIS’s presence in Myanmar here.

Anyway, during this intersession break, six SAISers had the opportunity to travel to Myanmar for three weeks to intensively study Burmese in Yangon (Rangoon), the country’s largest city. This was a really great opportunity given the recent developments in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Myanmar, so we were thrilled to go! Our group had two second year students studying Burmese at the intermediate level and four of us novice level speakers, including me.

Along with our language study, we had some amazing opportunities to meet with key players in the reform process. One day, we visited the administrative headquarters of the opposition party (the National League for Democracy) and talked to some of the party staff. We also got a quick picture with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, although we didn’t get a chance to talk with her as she was running late to another meeting. From left to right below: me, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Anne Gillman SAIS ‘14 (right behind the Lady), Dan Greenland SAIS '14, and Aichida Ul-Aflaha SAIS '14 as the Lady speeds out to her next meeting:

We also met with the U.S. Ambassador Derek Mitchell and the deputy chief of mission at Embassy Rangoon, as well as some SAIS grads that work there. Posing with Amb. Mitchell, DCM Virginia Murray, and Rob McDonald SAIS '10 (far left):

We did make it outside of Yangon twice. The first weekend, some of us traveled to Bago and Kyiaktiyo (pronounced Jyia-ti-yo), which is home to the Golden Rock or the “magic rock,” a precariously balanced rock that has a golden sheen from thousands of devoted Buddhists applying gold leaf to the rock over the years:

Our second weekend trip was also fascinating. We headed to Bagan to explore the temples and pagodas there—supposedly there are over 3,000. It’s a bit like Angkor Wat in Cambodia but definitely has a different feel. Rather than a somewhat organized city layout, the Bagan area is dotted all over with pagodas of different sizes. Most are a red brick color, but some of the larger ones are white with golden tops (sometimes known as “corn cobs”):

Here’s a gold-leaf buddha from one of the pagodas. Almost every pagoda featured a central sitting (or sometimes standing) buddha. The larger pagodas, like this one below, also had statues in the center of each side of the inner hallway:

A central watchtower stands above the sea of pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar:

One of the key takeaways from our trip was the “small world” aspect to Myanmar. Whenever we met someone new in Yangon, new Burmese and ex-pat friends alike almost always knew this person by name, had met them before, or were even good friends already. By the end of our three weeks in Yangon, we would recognize about a third of the people at a typical evening gathering, like a happy hour or a new exhibit at an art gallery. I got a taste of this “small world” firsthand when I was flying back to the United States. When I found my seat on the flight from Yangon to Taipei, sitting across the aisle was a Burmese college student named Patricia—the first Burmese student to ever attend my undergraduate alma mater! We also met some Burmese-Americans from the Washington, D.C. area and became good friends on the long flight back from Taipei to the United States. It just goes to show the value of in-country experience when learning a new language or trying to understand developments on the ground. Returning from Yangon, our language capabilities had improved from our lessons and daily use, our understanding of the political and economic situation had become a lot more tangible, and we had connected with a lot of people working in both Myanmar and the United States to shape the country’s development. Building on this experience, it’ll be fascinating to return in a few years (or even sooner, I hope!) and see how the country continues to transform.

To read other posts in this series, please click here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Student Spotlight: Shanah Lee

This post is the tenth in an on-going series highlighting SAIS concentrations.
As a region, Africa is extremely diverse, and it faces a number of challenges that are unique to this continent.  The African Studies concentration at SAIS is organized organized along three broad themes: governance, development, and security.  Dr. Peter Lewis, SAIS professor and director of African Studies, discusses what makes African Studies at SAIS different from other programs:
You can also hear Dr. Lewis discuss some of the challenges faced by Africa here.
In addition to academic offerings, students in the African Studies concentration have the benefit of a regular seminar series featuring dozens of speakers and covering a wide range of topics, and many students pursue research projects and/or internships in various countries across the continent.
You can learn more about African Studies at SAIS here.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in this series, please click here.

Last week, applicants for the Fall 2013 entering class had the opportunity to sample SAIS’s intellectual offerings at a taster lecture hosted by the SAIS Admissions Office.  Our featured lecturer was Deborah Bräutigam, SAIS professor and director of the International Development program at SAIS.  Professor Bräutigam, an expert on relations between Africa and China, gave a lecture titled, “China and Africa: Think Again” to a packed house this past Thursday.
You can learn more about Professor Bräutigam’s research and publications on her blog,China in Africa: The Real Story.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions

Student Spotlight: Shanah Lee

This week, our Student Spotlight is focused on Shanah Lee, a first-year MA student concentrating in Conflict Management and China Studies.  Shanah received her BA in International Development from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2008.  Prior to studying at SAIS, Shanah worked at the Korean Consulate in Seattle, WA, and researched human rights violations and policies in North and South Korea.

Can you tell us about your concentration, and why you chose it?
Graduate school has allowed me to study what I’m most interested in and passionate about: Conflict Management and China.  Having only lived in Korea and United States all my life, I also thought this would be a great opportunity to challenge myself and study a field/area that I am not too familiar with.  I was enticed by the mediation and negotiation aspect of Conflict Management: encouraging students to travel and conduct research in a region of conflict, learning from actual practitioners as well as scholars in the field, and inviting students to real-world mediation and negotiation practices.  In addition, the China Studies program offers diverse classes on China, so students can cater the classes to their interest. My Contemporary Chinese Politics, US-China Relations, Grassroots China classes have been amazing; not only are they taught by renowned scholars, but they also bring together a group of talented and experienced students who offer new perspectives to the discussions.
What language(s) are you studying? How does the language component complement your study of international relations?
I am bilingual in English and Korean, and proficient in Chinese and Spanish.  I’m currently taking Intermediate Mid Chinese and Superior Korean, which is a post-proficiency Korean language course.  I spend five hours a week studying Chinese and two hours Korean.  My fellow classmates are just as enthusiastic and interested in learning new language and culture.  I was first surprised by how small and close-knit these classes are, compared to the large class sized I experienced in undergrad.  Each one of us receives enough attention from the language instructor and we all feel comfortable speaking around each other.  I believe it is your proficiency in a foreign language that will get you the internship and job of your dreams!  I think SAIS does a good job of integrating language to the overall curriculum.
You just began a new internship. Where are you interning, and what type of work will you be doing?
This semester I am interning at an organization called American Academy of Diplomacy, a non-profit organization that promotes and educates American diplomacy to the general public, provides crucial support and assistance to the American diplomatic community.  I found this position through SAISworks, a career-related database offered by SAIS.  During the interview, I learned that the Program Coordinator is a SAIS alum, which made me feel more comfortable speaking about my experience, strengths, and contributions to the Academy.  She also gave me advice regarding my classes and career, and is very supportive of everything, and is flexible with my schedule.  Interns assist with the organization’s outreach effort, by utilizing social media to foster public awareness.  We also manage Academy’s membership, which is composed of former US ambassadors and senior-level government officials.  I had a chance to meet a former ambassador who served in Russia and Eastern Europe; we had an interesting discussion about US and Soviet Union relations, and how this affects US-China relations.  Having learned about the Boxer Rebellion and Truman Doctrine just a week before, I was able to actively engage and apply what I learned with someone who lived through the history!
We’ve already discussed language skills. What are some of the other specific skills you’ve been developing since you’ve enrolled at SAIS?
Coming to SAIS with no extensive background in Economics, I found the classes challenging but rewarding at the same time.  Understanding numerous micro and macro concepts has helped me to understand the world economy with critical and keen eye.  Before SAIS, I read the world news to gain information and learn the ‘what’; I now read them asking myself the ‘how’ and ‘why’, as well as the impact these events have in the region and the global community.  Taking small, discussion-based courses teaches me to organize my views concisely and present in front of peers, something I hadn’t acquired before.  In addition, various skills course and Career Center-sponsored events connect students and alums to ask questions, seek advice, and gain critical skills that we can directly apply in the field.  Building lasting relationships and networking are also important; I think SAIS provides me ample opportunities to attend various events to acquaint myself with fellow students, faculty members and alumni.
What are your post-graduation plans?
Before coming to SAIS, I was pretty set on pursuing a career in US Foreign Service.  Before I graduate, I hope to gain as much experience and skills as possible, so when I finally join the Foreign Service in the future, I will be more prepared and ready to face the challenges there.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in our Student Spotlight series, please click here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Visiting Campus

Have you thought about visiting the SAIS campus in Washington, DC? Visiting campus is a great way to get a better feel for the school and learn more about its program and other offerings. If you would like to visit SAIS, we have several options for you, depending on your needs.

  • Admissions Open Office Hours: The Admissions Office is open for walk-in visits Monday through Friday, 2-5 pm. You can speak with an admissions officer or a current student to learn more about SAIS and the application process.
  • Meet with a Current Student: If you’ve already done your research on SAIS and you know what area of study you would like to pursue, you might be interested in speaking with a student who is pursuing the same area of study. If you would like to meet with a current student, please email the SAIS Admissions office at
  • Visit a Class: If you want to know what academic life is like at SAIS, a great way to do that is by attending a class. Please note that class visits are only available Monday through Thursday during the regular semester, and must be requested at least 10 business days in advance. You can request a class visit on your MySAIS page.
  • Attend a Campus Event: Another way to get a feel for the SAIS experience is to attend one of the events that we regularly host on the SAIS campus. While some events are limited to current SAIS students and/or alumni, many events are open to the general public. To view upcoming events, please click here.
  • Other On-Campus Events: In addition to the events listed above, the Admissions Office hosts a number of on-campus information sessions, taster lectures, and other events throughout the summer and fall. To be notified of these kind of events, please sign up for MySAIS.

Thanks for reading!

– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SAISers on Winter Break: Azerbaijan

This is the first in a series of student guest posts about their activities over the 2012-2013 winter break.  Our first guest blogger is Kaelyn Lowmaster.   As she previously completed the Certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, she’s currently completing the MA component of the 5-semester option, and she is concentrating in Conflict Management.
“One of the real perks of being a Conflict Management concentrator is the opportunity to apply for the program’s annual field trip.  This January, fifteen of my classmates and I headed to the Caucasus to study the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.  We met with people affected by the conflict on all levels, from foreign ministers to refugees.  The conflict is a frustrating one:  there are widely different historical narratives, deep-seated mistrust, and heavy investment in the status quo.  Still, the reactions of refugees and internally displaced persons on the two sides provided a note of optimism - each asked us to carry the message to the other that they hoped to one day live again in peace.  I hope that, at some level, our trip to the region will eventually have some small positive impact on the peace process, but in the meantime it definitely made each of us better students of conflict management.”
The Azerbaijan​i Flag over the Caspian Sea, in Baku
Kaelyn in Baku
A memorial to Azerbaijan​is killed when Soviet troops invaded on January 20, 1990
Old City Baku with the newly-cons​tructed flame towers
Baku at night from the presidenti​al offices
Old City Baku at night
The line of contact from the relocated city of Agdam
A hill overlookin​g the line of contact from the Azerbaijan side
The view into Nagorno-Ka​rabakh from the Azerbaijan​i side
Inside a memorial to the poet Nizami, outside the city of Ganja
Dinner with the mayor of Ganja
The Georgia-Ar​menia border crossing
The Foreign Ministry of Armenia
Opera Square in Yerevan
The view into Nagorno-Ka​rabakh from the Armenian side
Iconic statue of a Karabakhi man and woman outside the town of Stepanaker​t, in the unrecogniz​ed Republic of Nagorno Karabakh
To read other posts in this series, please click here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Student Spotlight: Larissa Muir

Today we’ve interviewed Larissa Muir for our Student Spotlight.  Larissa is concentrating in Energy, Resources & Environment; she spent her first year in SAIS Bologna and is completing her second year in Washington, DC.  Larissa received her BA in International Relations from Simon Fraser University in 2009, and she completed a graduate certificate in International Relations at Tufts University in 2010.  Prior to attending SAIS, Larissa worked as the Director of Marketing and Development at Kendal Lighting Inc.
What made you want to pursue a graduate degree in international affairs?
I chose to pursue a graduate degree in international affairs due to my experiences of living and traveling abroad. This inspired me to build on my time spent outside of Canada by engaging more actively with the various regions I had visited. I could think of no better way to achieve this than by starting a career in the international field, but first I wanted to learn more about the places I had been to and I needed a more nuanced understanding of the key issues that affect these regions. I felt studying I.R. would be the best path to achieve these professional goals.
What are some of the differences between the two campuses, and what do you see as beneficial about the opportunity to study in both Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC?
I think the best thing about studying at both the Bologna and D.C. campuses is getting the benefit of not one, but two perspectives. Although it’s all under the SAIS umbrella, you’re still dealing with two different campuses with different faculty and courses in two very different countries. A large part of international affairs has been shaped by transatlantic relations and the opportunity to study American and European perspectives in both continents was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In Bologna, I was challenged by a non-American perspective I hadn’t received before, whereas I think in D.C. you’re getting more of the status quo.
Do you have a favorite course so far?  Can you tell us about it?
One of my favourite courses was with Prof. Hafner in Bologna, “The Politics and Economics of Energy.” He’s an expert in the subject matter who also works in the field, which made the classroom discussion more interesting due to the variety of perspectives he offered.
Can you tell us about the professional development opportunities at SAIS?
SAIS provides a multitude of opportunities to pursue skills development courses, both online and on campus, as well as having its own student-focused Career Services department. There are also career trips across the various concentrations (either regional or functional) to develop the skills and knowledge you’ll need to work in that particular field.
What are you planning on pursuing professionally after graduation?  Are there specific skills you’ve learned that will help you in your career?
I don’t know if many SAIS students know exactly what they’re going to do after graduation! Personally I would love to work in the energy sector, either as a consultant or for an international energy company. I’ve completed several ERE courses here of course and SAIS’s strong emphasis on economics in particular has given me access to sections of the job market that I couldn’t have considered before my graduate studies.   
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in our Student Spotlight series, please click here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Financial Aid and Fellowships

Today, we have a another message from our friends in the SAIS Financial Aid Office.  You read the first Financial Aid guest blog post, click here.
Hello again! The Financial Aid Office would like to kindly remind all applicants that the deadline to submit your SAIS Financial Aid Application is TODAY, February 15th, 2013. Make sure to submit your application by 5pm today in order to receive consideration for the 2013-2014 academic year!
We would also like to highlight a few fellowships for which applicants may apply. Please find our featured fellowships below! Applications for these fellowships are due by March 1st, 2013.
Established in 1995 by Priscilla Mason, one of the founding administrators of SAIS and a former member of the SAIS Advisory Council, to support students intending to pursue a career in U.S. government service. Applicants must be in need of financial aid, a U.S. citizen, and a first-year SAIS M.A. student willing to accept the terms and conditions of the Priscilla Mason Fund.
The American Academy of Diplomacy, in collaboration with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, announces the Philip Merrill Fellowship to be awarded for the best essay on the practice of American diplomacy. The contest is open to U.S. citizens who are new applicants to the two-year M.A. program at SAIS for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Established in 2005 by W.W. Norton & Company, publisher of the authorized version of The 9/11 Commission Report, the fellowship supports two students, one American and one student from a predominantly Muslim country, who will pursue careers in promoting international understanding and preventing terrorism.
Best regards,
Financial Aid
For more information on Financial Aid at SAIS, go here and click on “Financial Aid.”
The SAIS Financial Aid Application is available from the Financial Aid website, or you can sign into your SAIS Application via the Apply Yourself system, and click on the link for Downloadable Forms.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life After SAIS: Employment Outcomes

Our colleagues at SAIS Bologna put up a great blog post yesterday about what SAIS grads do afterwards.  There’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel, so we’re just going to link to ithere.
If you don’t want to read the blog post, but you’re interested, you can read the just releasedSAIS Employment Outcomes: Class of 2012 to see examples of where our students are work after graduation.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Concentration Profile: Conflict Management

This post is the ninth in an on-going series highlighting SAIS concentrations.
Conflict Management may bring to mind images of the Cold War, but conflict resolution is just as relevant today as it was thirty years ago, if not more so.  The variety and diversity of conflict around the world requires an extensive toolkit, which is what the Conflict Management concentration at SAIS aims to provide.
Dr. P. Terrence Hopmann, SAIS professor and director of the Conflict Management concentration, discusses what makes the Conflict Management at SAIS unique. Watch here.

To hear Dr. Hopmann discuss Conflict Management further, click here.
Beyond academics and internships, some highlights of the SAIS Conflict Management concentration include:
  • Conflict Management Field Trip.  Twelve to 15 students participate in a research trip to a designated conflict or post-conflict region during the winter break.  Recent destinations have included Cyrpus, Kosovo, and Tunisia.
  • PeaceKidZ.  Second-year Conflict Management students have the opportunity to develop lessons and materials to teach conflict management skills to Washington, DC middle school students.
  • Annual International Conference.  The International Peace & Security Institute, through partnership with SAIS and the Conflict Managment faculty, hosts an annual symposium at the SAIS Bologna Center.  SAIS students who participate have the opportunity to meet, network with, and learn from the best practitioners from the UN, foreign ministries, NGOs, and academia - and get academic credit.     
You can learn more about Conflict Management at SAIS here.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in this series, please click here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Student Spotlight: Pongkwan Sawasdipakdi

For this installment of the Student Spotlight series, we’ve interviewed Pongkwan Sawadipakdi, a first-year M.A. student concentrating in Southeast Asia Studies.  In 2011 she received her B.A in international relations from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and prior to coming to SAIS she worked as a journalist.  Pongkwan, a Thai citizen, is a recipient of the Royal Thai Government Scholarship.
Prior to SAIS, you were working as a reporter in Thailand. What prompted you to study international relations?
I have always been fascinated by current international issues and historic global events. After receiving my B.A. in international relations, I started my career as an international desk news reporter at a news station in Thailand.  For more than a year I reported on international headlines like the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the death of Muammar Gaddafi, and the assassination of Bin Laden. I loved my job as it allowed me to explore new and interesting stories every day. However, my just knowing what happened is simply not enough for me. I want to be able to explain causes of these events, make comparisons, and draw connections between different events and issues. Therefore, when I won a scholarship from the Thai Government, I knew that the next step in my education cannot be anything but international relations.
Can you tell us about your concentration, and why you chose it?
My concentration is Southeast Asia Studies. While growing up in the region, I observed many disputes and misunderstanding among Southeast Asian countries. Southeast Asia is unique in a way that it is so diverse in terms of ethnicity, languages, cultures, and religions. Politically, Southeast Asia is comprised of some of the most unique political systems in the world ranging from Singapore’s partial democracy, Myanmar’s military-controlled-civilian government, to Thailand’s constitutional monarchy.
Ironically, there is limited number of experts on Southeast Asia in Thailand. I feel that Southeast Asia Studies will improve my understanding of both my country and neighboring countries. This, I hope, can help prevent future conflicts.
What is the Royal Thai Government Scholarship? How will this scholarship impact your professional career?
The Royal Thai Government Scholarship is an education scholarship sponsored by the Thai Government. Each year, thousands of applicants compete to win an opportunity to study abroad. A handful of applicants will be selected based on written and oral exams. Of course, there is nothing such as a free thing in the world. These scholarship recipients must be committed to go back and work for the government. The service requirement is twice the number of years spent studying abroad. After graduation, I will return to Thailand to be a lecturer at a public university. There is a high possibility that I would like to pursue a PhD. However, my ultimate goal is to join a political or policy-making career.
What are some of the courses you’ve taken and specific skills you’ve learned that will help you in your career?
I have taken a number of Southeast Asian courses and international economic courses. My favorite so far is International Relations of Asia: Policy Process. In the class I learned to design U.S. foreign policy towards Myanmar. I could not imagine where else I could learn this practical policy-making skill. In addition, the economic classes are very useful for international relations analysis and my academic career.
What advice would you give to applicants coming from Thailand, or from other countries in Southeast Asia?
I do not think I have any special advice for other applicants from Thailand or Southeast Asia. SAIS is already a well-known graduate institution in the region. But if you do have a number of offers and are deciding where you should attend, SAIS should be top on your list. SAIS is known for its rigorous academics and is also located in a very advantageous location. Living and studying in Washington D.C. will give you an absolutely worthwhile experience with a little flavor of American politics. Within six month of living here, I have experienced the presidential election, the inauguration, and even Hurricane Sandy. The weekly free luncheons with the Southeast Asia Department is definitely a plus too!
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in our Student Spotlight series, please click here.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Financial Aid

Today, we have a special message from our friends in the SAIS Financial Aid Office.  If you were expecting another installment in our Student Spotlight Series, don’t worry; we’ll be posting our next student spotlight interview on Monday.
In the meantime:
Hey there! The Financial Aid Office at SAIS would like to kindly remind all applicants that the deadline to submit your financial aid application is February 15th, 2013. Applicants to the M.A. program who want to be considered for SAIS fellowships must complete the SAIS Financial Aid Application. The SAIS Financial Aid Application may be submitted via U.S. mail, scanned email, or fax.

American citizens and permanent residents who would like to apply for federal student aid should submit a 2013/2014 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1, 2013. SAIS’ Title IV School Code is E00474. To complete the FAFSA on line, please visit If you have questions about the application form or application process, please contact us at

Also make sure to take a look at our fellowship opportunities! We are now accepting applications for several 2013-2014 fellowships. You may now apply for the Priscilla Mason, Philip Merrill and W.W. Norton fellowships. The deadline for submission of your application materials is March 1st. You can find these and other fellowships here.

Best Regards,
Financial Aid
To get a copy of the SAIS Financial Aid Application, access your SAIS Application via theApply Yourself system, and click on the link for Downloadable Forms.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It’s a First Year Fiesta!

Last night, the SAIS Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Life Office hosted the first-ever First Year Fiesta.  Approximately 140 first-year MA, MIPP, and PhD students came together to catch up with friends from last semester, and to make some new ones. 
As you can see from the picture above, they were having a great time.  They did manage to quiet down long enough for us to get one good picture:
Based on the enthusiasm for last night’s event, we hope that this will become an annual tradition at SAIS.  If you enroll in SAIS in 2013, maybe you can help plan the next First Year Fiesta.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions

Concentration Profile: European Studies

This post is the eighth in an on-going series highlighting SAIS concentrations.
The European Studies concentration at SAIS doesn’t just cover the countries in the European Union; it also includes eastern and Mediterranean Europe, as well as Russia.  Dr. Erik Jones, SAIS Professor and Director of European Studies, discusses some of the finer points about European Studies. Watch here.

Students concentrating in European Studies are strongly encouraged to spend their first year at the Bologna Center, and their second year in Washington, DC.  Students in European studies have the opportunity to participate in study trips in Europe, visiting various institutions and employers, and many students complete a summer internship in Europe between their first and second years. 
You can learn more about European Studies at SAIS here.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in this series, please click here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Student Spotlight: Byron Sacharidis

For our spotlight today, we’ve interviewed Byron Sacharidis.  Byron is a second-year MA student concentrating in Energy, Resources and Environment, and he is a recipient of the Niarchos Foundation Fellowship.  Byron received his BA in business administration from University of Piraeus in 2004, and his LL.B (Juris Doctorate) from University of Athens in 2009.  Prior to coming to SAIS, Byron practiced as a freelance attorney-at-law.
When considering graduate school, what was appealing about SAIS?
I started my research for graduate schools by visiting the APSIA site. SAIS became my top choice, not only because of its reputation and strong alumni network, but also because it offered the opportunity to study in three different campuses. As a European, I was particularly interested in starting out at the Bologna campus, before smoothly transitioning to Washington DC, which is the center of the policy world. When I later visited the Bologna campus during an Open Day event I only had good impressions by the faculty, the administration and the students alike. The Niarchos Fellowship and the advice I received from my mentor, a former US Commercial Counselor, in combination with my discussions with alumni, made my choice a no-brainer. I eventually chose SAIS over a number of other US graduate schools that offered me admission. 
Tell us about your concentration and why you chose it.
Being an attorney-at-law with a business background, I chose a concentration in Energy, Resources and Environment because I was looking to enhance my understanding of the field. By studying international relations I wanted to integrate my previous academic and professional experiences into a comprehensive skill set and ERE looked ideal in my eyes, because it dealt with topics, which currently constitute distinct priorities throughout the policy world. Regardless of concentrations, the course selection is great and it is further enriched with skills courses and workshops. Seeking advice and examining all options is part of the game here at SAIS, but there are always people with clear-cut objectives.
How do you see the economics component complementing your concentration/IR studies?
The economics component is indispensable. While one can go almost as much in depth as he or she desires with the economics courses at SAIS, there are mandatory ones, but also opportunities to waive a couple of the requirements. Any approach, debate or argument made in an academic paper can become more complete with a good knowledge of economics and this is something I very soon discovered myself. Some professors favor the ability to conduct quantitative analysis and I surely cannot imagine becoming a professional of the field without studying economics. 
You’re a recipient of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellowship. Can you tell us a little bit more about the foundation and the fellowship?  How has the support of the Niarchos Foundation helped realize your dream of studying at SAIS?
Coming from Greece, I was facing some borrowing constraints due to the debt crisis that perturbed the country. I did have some savings and support from family and friends, but the Niarchos Foundation fellowship I was offered has been an important form of aid and a great honor. I have met with people of the Foundation and as a recipient of a named fellowship I have also expressed my gratitude to them with a thanking letter. Without their support, realizing my dream of studying at my dream School would have been extremely challenging. I feel privileged to have joined the community of the Niarchos Fellows; there is a sense of belonging and a personal motivation to give back. I do expect more initiatives in the near future, by both the Foundation and the small but growing community of the Niarchos Fellows.
What are your plans for your career post-SAIS?
I am highly committed to becoming a policy expert, who will assume challenging roles with Governments or International Institutions. At some point, I would like to help both my country and Europe to overcome their difficulties and I also hope to be able to give back to the community of SAIS, which has been very supportive.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellowship was established in 2004 by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. It supports students undertaking their first year of M.A. study in Bologna, Italy and second year in Washington, D.C. Preference is given to students from Greece, with back-up authority for those from the European Union. For more information about the Niarchos Foundation Fellowship as SAIS, please visit
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in our Student Spotlight series, please click here.