There are plenty of perks to living in Washington. For a graduate student of international affairs, access to the world’s most pronounced political scholars, pundits, diplomats, and public officials is, by far, the utmost advantage. Over the past month, I had the chance to listen to a lecture by Professor Francis Fukuyama on corruption and state building, attend a lively and light hearted discussion by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on her lifetime career journey, and greet the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi when he visited my school to speak about populism and global affairs. This is only a sample of the kind of opportunities we have in a given month.
Amidst the networking events, expert discussions in nearby think tanks and centers, film screenings, happy hours, reunion parties, and career treks, this city holds the highest standards for whoever is looking for an interesting discussion on politics and international affairs. In fact, the biggest challenge that I found myself facing in my first two months in Washington has been to balance these events with my graduate school obligations. Thankfully, what I learn in my classes – whether it’s power sector reform, strategies for resilient cities, corporate finance or public private partnerships – allows me to engage in a deep level of analysis to make sense of the trends experienced by different regions of our world.
My final year of graduate studies in Washington has thus far featured enriching conversations and ample perspectives on issues that I care about. What I hope to better focus on, going forward, is taking a step back and reflecting on how I could apply these perspectives to inform the impact that I seek to create in my personal journey. I look forward to seeing what the next few months unfold, and I will surely provide updates in future blog posts.