Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy in DC

One of the most pressing issues facing the international community is how to address the impact of climate change. Rising oceans, food and freshwater insecurity, urbanization, and many other issues prompt global action to preserve the planet for future generations.

The weight of this issue led me to pursue a new role this Fall with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global non-profit focused on environmental issues in 79 countries and all 50 states. The Worldwide Office in D.C. coordinates the organization’s work which brings together scientists, policy experts, and local leaders to tackle climate change, protect lands and waters, provide food and water sustainably, build healthy cities, and connect people and nature. TNC is a great place to work with smart eco-geeks, environmental policy wonks, and other upbeat and motivated colleagues.

My responsibilities as a Contract Specialist focus on ensuring money-out agreements for TNC’s global initiatives adhere to legal standards and TNC policies. The day-to-day of the job has required me to guide program teams through the contract and grant-writing processes, review and approve agreements, manage extensive records, and more. Some of the projects I supported include: mitigating the impact of climate change on indigenous communities in the Amazon; advocating for international action on environmental issues at UN summits; and cleaning up polluted river basins in Latin America. One recent work day began with me video chatting a team in South Africa, consulting with our legal office about a Chinese project, and finishing the day by guiding a West Coast office through a contract revision.

The role has been very satisfying—serving as an expert point of contact for staff around the globe addressing a large problem in diverse and meaningful ways.

Bart Kassel is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Social Media in summer 2019.

Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy
Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Bart Kassel at DoS Office of Global Social Media

Henry Mau: Berlin, du bist so wunderbar

“Berliiiiiiiiiin, du bist so wunderbar” is the title of a famous song in Germany: “Berlin, you are so wonderful”. After having lived in Germany for about a semester now, I can safely say: It’s true!

In fact, it’s true for a reason that might sound puzzling at first: Berlin is probably the least German city in the country. It’s chaotic, unjudgmental and never sleeps. The “Berliners” are a very special kind: Always in a rush like that businessman who just bumped into you on the streets in Manhattan but at the same time as alternative and relaxed as surfers in Huntington Beach. The city has this sort of authenticity that one can hardly find anywhere else. It’s a vibrant cultural melting pot, a historical city, both a battleground of history and symbol for the union of Germany if not also Europe as a whole. Myself a German, the mere fact of being able to now get to live there is truly exciting!

German Budestag at night
The German Bundestag (parliament) on the 9th of November, for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Resolution, at a venue where 3o years ago was the „death zone“ between East and West Berlin.

Apart from the uniqueness of Berlin, which quite frankly I find difficult to put in the right words, the city also offers exceptional academic and professional opportunities. With seven other students, I take part in the Atlantis-program: As double-degree students, we spend our first year at Maxwell and the second one in Berlin. Being able to experience both the US and Germany, America and Europe, Syracuse and Berlin, adds a priceless value-added to my studies of, well, international relations, that I could otherwise have never acquired.

Henry Mau and colleagues
Henry Mau and colleagues attending the Pearson Global Forum on Conflict.

I started to work part-time at Save The Children (shout-out to Prof. Jeb Beagles in Syracuse, without whom I’d probably never have gotten the position!), and thereby managed to get myself into position towards a post-academic career in the humanitarian sector.

All in all, I am thankful for the opportunity that Syracuse University offered me, and I would encourage anyone to give it a shot and apply to the Atlantis-program: In Berlin, you get to spend a year that you will never forget!

Henry Mau is a student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, where he is wrapping up a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He also interned at the Council of Europe through SU’s Strasbourg Center in summer 2019.

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program
The European and Global Internship Program in Brussels
The Maxwell School
The Hertie School of Governance

Henry Mau, In the heart of Europe

Askar Salikhov, Conflict & Stabilization at DoS

For three months, I interned at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) in Washington, D.C. CSO’s mission is to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. The bureau implements this mission in two complementary ways: through data-driven analysis and forward deploying stabilization advisors to conflict zones. The objective is to inform U.S. strategy, policy, and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.

During my internship, I’ve worked with civil servants, foreign service officers, and other experts to manage programming and provide analytical products relating to Ukraine. I have drafted documents, collated trip books, and briefed principals ahead of important interagency meetings with high-level interlocutors. Additionally, I have produced research on electoral processes and violence in post-conflict environments. Finally, my office relied on my assistance for logistical support: organizing meetings, taking notes, writing readouts, and managing tasks.

My objectives for my internship were to get exposure to public sector work, connect with conflict practitioners and grow my network of colleagues, learn new skills relating to project design, management, and monitoring, and have a positive impact on the mission of CSO. Looking back at my experience, interning for the U.S. State Department has shaped my perception of civil service in a positive way. I hope to begin my professional career within the public sector, working on supporting and delivering exciting development programs that advance the interests of the United States.

Askar Salikhov is recent graduate of the MAIR program. In pursuit of his degree, he also completed an internship with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana during summer 2019.

Askar Salikhov poses from the speaker’s balcony at the U.S.
Askar Salikhov poses from the speaker’s balcony at the U.S. Capitol Building during a work-sponsored tour.
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Askar Salikhov Opens a Door to Fieldwork

Johnathan Medina, Tech Advocacy in DC

This fall I had the opportunity to intern with a trade group called the Internet Association (IA). IA focuses on advocating for its member companies in Washington D.C. and state governments throughout the country. IA’s member companies include some of the largest technology firms in the world like Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. My co-workers had all worked in high levels of government from being a Chief of Staff to Nancy Pelosi, to running multi-million-dollar digital technology acquisition programs. Being around such talented and knowledgeable people helps you better understand the reality of different career paths.

Johnathan Medina
Johnathan Medina

My role on the team was as a Government Relations intern where I worked with the Policy and GR teams to analyze legislation, cover hearings, and produce reports that would be sent to policy professionals at our member companies. This was an eye-opening experience being involved directly in Washington D.C. politics and learning how policy is developed and advocated from a business perspective. Most of my portfolio was working on Cloud-Computing technology and the discussion surrounding its regulation for financial services and institutions. Through this project I was able to learn more about the industry, which was very important in helping me land my future job. One of the skills I developed strongly from the experience is being able to read legal language and think with the mind of a lawyer. Compliance is a mix of policy and law and it is a field I am excited to be part of as it grows.

My personal time in DC was very rewarding as well since the city offers a nearly non-stop slate of activities. I enjoyed being able to attend events in DC from the numerous organizations and the opportunity to connect with other alums is unparalleled. The experience was also helpful in discovering what you actually enjoy doing on a day to day basis which is more valuable than anything else in the end.

Johnathan Medina is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned last summer at the European Institute of Asian Studies as part of the The European and Global Internship Program in Brussels.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Johnathan Medina Researches Fintech in Southeast Asia for the EU

Makany Toure In Geneva, the Peace Capital of Europe

Waterfronts, mountains and chocolate, a combination that could never go wrong for me. Europe has always been appealing to me due to the similarities with my home country, a former French colony. As such I was very excited to move to Geneva for the semester. I began my internship at the interagency division of the World Food Program in Geneva in the late summer of 2019. I arrived in this charming city, full of pretty lights, eager to discover the next five months and anxious about the work environment and the cultural differences of this tightly knitted community. The first piece of advice that I received upon arrival was “always be on time in Geneva, not too early and not too late, just right on time”. It was from the taxi driver who took me from the airport to my hotel, leaving me to ponder on these first words from a local.

Makany Toure in Geneva
Makany Toure in Geneva

This advice came to have such a greater meaning due to the entire city of Geneva working on a tightly timed balance that did not allow for disorganization. Particularly in the position that I held as an intern, I had the role to attend multiple meetings a day and to keep the office updated on partner activities in Geneva. My daily activities required a lot of movement across the city and the UN Palais des Nations where I sat across ambassadors, country representatives, and chairpersons. As such, timing was crucial to meet the busy requirements of meeting attendee schedules. Arriving even a minute late to a meeting could cost a report its entire significance. Soon enough, all my activities adapted to the Geneva style: disciplined, discreet and efficient.

My experience in Geneva was one of the most enriching times of my life, I expanded my network and learned valuable professional skills. Geneva now feels like a second home to me and I plan on using my connections to move back to Switzerland as soon as the opportunity presents itself upon graduation.

Makany Toure is an MPA/MAIR student currently working as a part time consultant at the World Bank and APCO Worldwide as part of the Maxwell-in-Washington program.

MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
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Henry Mau, In the heart of Europe

My name is Henry Mau and I spent my summer working for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. But hold on: What exactly is the Council of Europe? Often confused with “something from the European Union”, the CoE is actually not affiliated to the European Institutions. In fact, it is older (70 years) and has more members (48), including Russia and Turkey. It was the CoE that came up with the European flag and its anthem. Ever since its founding, the CoE has been operating in the fields of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. The most notable institution that is part of the CoE is the European Court of Human Rights, where every citizen within the CoE’s jurisdiction can appeal to. But this is just, let’s say, the professional side of my journey in Strasbourg.

Henry Mau at the Council of Europe
Henry Mau with friend Emanuela, visiting the European Parliament. A living example of the cultural exchange that Europe stands for.

On a more personal note, moving to France for the summer let me experience the vibrant cultural melting pot that the so-called “European Capital” really is. Strasbourg, the largest city in France’s Alsace region, is a battleground of Europe’s bloody history and at the same time an uplifting symbol for the union of Europe. The European Union, a guarantor for peace among its member states for more than 70 years, is arguably one of the greatest achievements of humankind, a textbook example for intercultural understanding.

Myself an Italian-turned German, the mere fact of being able to cross the Franco-German border without stopping, let alone passport controls or an actually visible border check point, is just one of the countless benefits that the European Union provides for its citizens. But it certainly is enough to preserve the flame in my heart burning for the European integration project.

Henry Mau is a student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, where he will complete a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program
SU’s Strasbourg Center
The Maxwell School
The Hertie School of Governance

Abbie Champeau, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco

Since departing from Syracuse in mid-August, I have been a participant in AMIDEAST’s direct enroll program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. The first portion of the program took place in Morocco’s political and administrative capital, Rabat, and included a 10-day cultural immersion seminar. During this time, I was provided with a background in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, Darija, in addition to taking several classes pertaining to Moroccan culture and history. Moreover, while in Rabat I was given the opportunity to live with a host family and experience inter-cultural communication in an immersive and highly rewarding manner (while also enjoying the most delicious home cooking I have ever been graced with).

Abbie Champeau in the Sahara Desert near Merzouga

Following this orientation, I arrived at Al Akhwayan, a university situated high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, only about an hour from Fes, the country’s bustling cultural center. Embracing the American model of higher education, Al Akhwayan operates entirely in English and offers a vast variety of courses at the graduate level. The university provides students with a wide range of political science, history, and anthropology classes — particularly those concerning the Middle East and North Africa, religious studies, diplomatic negotiation, and international relations as a broadened study. As a frame of reference, I am currently enrolled in four courses: Global Islam in the Contemporary, Middle Eastern Politics, History of North Africa, and finally, Security & Foreign Policy of the Middle Eastern States. Thus far, I have very much enjoyed the academic experience I have been offered through AUI. I have found the professors to be knowledgeable and accommodating and the courses they teach to be both rigorous and rewarding.

In addition, Al Akhwayan was founded with the unique mission of providing a venue for intercultural exchange among students of secondary education. As such, AUI privileges the notion of global education and places particular emphasis on its international exchange programs. As a result, AUI effectively fosters a large community of students from both local regions and abroad, creating a student body comprised of individuals from numerous diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Well on this program I have also had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Morocco and other Maghrebi countries. I have been lucky enough to witness the beauty of the region first-hand while simultaneously discovering a new and exciting culture.

As a MAIR student focused on the Middle East and North Africa, I find that my time at Al Akhwayan has been incredibly gratifying. As I reflect on my experience, I truly believe that this program has unequivocally enriched my understanding of the complexities and richness surrounding my regional interests.

With a background in the Arabic language, Abbie Champeau is a MAIR student focusing on MENA.

Abbie Champeau on a camel in the Sahara Desert near Merzouga
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
AMIDEAST Al Akhawayn Direct Enroll program
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Zeyar Win, Advocacy and Policy at Amnesty International

I participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington Global Security and Development program during my Fall Semester and had the opportunity to do my internship at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Nobel Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with over 7 million members and supporters worldwide. This internship provided me the opportunity to merge two things I’m strongly interested in: advocacy and policy briefing. I have been interested in advocacy work, so this was great opportunity for me to work there.

My off-campus experience working with AIUSA in Washington D.C. was terrific and fruitful. It was also related to my previous activism experience in Burma. I fulfilled three main tasks at AIUSA: 1) Tracked the United States Policies on human rights issues in the Asia-Pacific region including Myanmar, and wrote the bi-monthly Asia Policy Brief; 2) Assisted in petitions and campaigns of AIUSA, including logistical support for program activities and events; 3) Attended the congressional hearings and panel discussions on the Rohingya crisis as a fellow of AIUSA. I also enrolled in two classes: Statecraft and Smart Power, and Global Sustainability and Development, at Maxwell in D.C.

This internship gave me the opportunities to use the advocacy tools that I learned theoretically from classes. It also improved my communication and presentation skills and strengthened my professional ability to work in a multicultural environment. On November 10th, I attended the regional conference of Amnesty International at the University of Denver in Colorado as a panel speaker, where I discussed the Rohingya refugee crisis and possible options to find a sustainable solution. I gave an interview with Voice of America (VOA) about my personal experience of institutionalized segregation against the Rohingya community in Burma. In addition, I attended many panel discussions and congressional hearings on human rights violation issues. I was also invited to discuss Rohingya problems with the Chief Officer of the Burma desk at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a vibrant professional environment for me to improve my knowledge about social work and to broaden my network. I usually joined Maxwell alumni gatherings in Washington, D.C. Those gathering were helpful for me because we shared knowledge and information with each other and, sometimes, discussed our plans, internship and job opportunities.

Zeyar Win is a graduate of Maxwell’s MAIR program. He previously interned at VOA and now works at the International Republican Institute.

Zeyar Win (right) at the Amnesty International Regional Conference in Denver

Zeyar Win Assists VOA with Rohingya Issues

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program
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Sören Reischert Takes a Year for Professional Experience

Being on the Atlantis program, a partnership between Syracuse University and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, means that studying at Maxwell only formed the first half of my postgraduate studies. But instead of finishing my studies in Germany immediately after completing my coursework in Syracuse, I decided to take a year out in order to gain some more professional experience. The first of three planned placements took me to Dublin, Ireland where I worked as a research assistant in Teneo’s strategy team.

Sören Reischert at Teneo Networking Event

Teneo is an international advisory firm integrating the disciplines of strategic communications, investor relations, financial advisory, corporate governance advisory and political & policy risk advisory among others. As part of my role, I worked on a wide range of projects and my tasks included everything from stakeholder analysis over media monitoring to pitching press releases to Irish national newspapers. One of my favorite tasks was certainly participating in brainstorming sessions at the beginning of new projects. Teneo’s approach to making business ties in exceptionally well with my studies in Public Policy and International Relations. This is because Declan Kelly, the founder and CEO of Teneo, has always understood that being successful in today’s world means working across borders and connecting experts from all disciplines.

Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton (right) discusses Brexit with British public servants, Irish business representatives and Teneo employees

Teneo also offered brilliant networking opportunities as the company has offices all around the world and works with the world’s biggest and most influential companies. I even had the opportunity to meet some leading Irish and European politicians as well as international sports personalities. Lastly, Dublin is a great city full of friendly people and interesting history.

I would encourage everyone who is thinking about a professional year to do so, as it brings invaluable experiences and enables you to approach the second year of your studies with a new perspective and clearer understanding of where your degree can take you. My next step will lead me to London where I have two more placements in communications firms lined up.

Soren Reischert is a MAIR/ATL student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree program completing the MAIR degree from the Maxwell School in Syracuse and an MPP from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He formerly interned at YCH Group in Singapore and is currently interning at Quiller Consultants in London.

Quick chat with players of New Zealand’s Rugby team, the All Blacks, during a photocall

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program

The Maxwell School

The Hertie School of Governance

Sören Reischert, Hard Business Talks in Singapore

Jorge Valdebenito, Well Rounded Ed Through Study in China

I embarked on an adventure by spending my Fall Semester in Beijing, taking classes in the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM), the #1 public policy school in China, at Tsinghua University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. My class topics included Economics, Development, Governance and International Politics of China, and they were taught by Chinese policy makers and highly influential scholars. My peers in class were a mix of students from different backgrounds, countries and goals, which provided the perfect set up for a world class experience.

My first-hand knowledge in Latin America’s industrial sector complemented my learning about China’s industrial and trade policy, while my master’s study at Maxwell provided me with western economic practices, politics and relations. Therefore, my goal coming to Beijing was to complete a full circle in my academic and professional formation. There is a sea of difference between reading about China and experiencing it: experiencing the country, the culture, the people, the transportation, the day to day, and above all, the food.

Jorge at the “Birds Nest” in Beijing
Jorge on the Great Wall

Beijing is a mega city with more than 20 million people, and the city is connected to the rest of the country by an incredibly advanced and reliably fast train system. This system allows one to travel more than 1,000 miles in just a couple of hours to every corner of the Asian giant.

Jorge in Tianjin

The structure of the semester in Tsinghua allowed me to experience not only the capital, but other incredible parts of the country. I was impressed by the very modern city of Shanghai and the hard-contrasting differences between it and Beijing. As an economist, I was amazed by the development policy of the country, where, for example, in a small rural town called Liyang, located 3 hours to the west of Shanghai. An entire city is being built – “growing like grass” –  while thousands of 30+ floor towers are being built in every direction.

Jorge in front of the Bund in Shanghai

Language was definitely a challenge and a barrier to life in Beijing. However, the fast pace of internationalization of the city and of its people, makes it possible to find a piece of the world in any corner. You just need to look hard enough and pass though the massive pile of bikes parked all over the city.

Jorge with bikes in Beijing
Jorge in Tianjin
Jorge in Tianjin

Jorge Valdebenito is a joint MAIR/MAECN student in his final semester at the Maxwell School.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

Tsinghua University, World Partner Program

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