Foreign Affairs

Mark Temnycky, Greeting from Ukraine

Mark Temnycky is currently taking part in the Maxwell-in-Washington program while simultaneously interning at the United States Department of Defense working on NATO policy. He also had an article published in Forbes. Check out his Forbes article>>

My name is Mark Temnycky. I am a Ukrainian-American pursuing a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Relations. I am also seeking a Certificate of Advanced Study in the European Union and Contemporary Europe, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in National Security Studies.

This summer I was fortunate to intern at the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] of Ukraine, where the duration of the internship lasted 9 weeks. During this period I wrote various reports for the committee on world events and how they affected Ukraine. For example, I provided analyses on what ‘Brexit’ might mean for Ukraine’s EU membership bid; how the developments of the NATO Warsaw Summit might shape the future of national security in Eastern Europe; and the EU’s current strategies on Russian sanctions. In addition, I translated government documents from Ukrainian into English, and translated international documents, such as news reports, from English into Ukrainian.

During my days off, I was able to explore Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine, such as Lviv, to learn more about the history, culture, and traditions of Ukraine. For example, I visited the grand churches of Kyiv; the old memorials to the Soviet soldiers who had fallen during World War II; the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, which recently started its own Master of Public Administration Program; and visited longtime friends from the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization. Moreover, given my particular interest in Eastern European affairs, I was fortunate to have traveled to various Eastern European countries during my time abroad. Through these trips I was able to build a stronger appreciation for Eastern European history and culture; further strengthened my Ukrainian and German language skills; developed rudimentary Russian language ability; and learned what it meant to be a citizen of Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Overall I am very blessed and thankful for this experience. I learned more about the various administrative processes of the Verkhovna Rada and its parliamentary system, the various issues that Ukraine faces during the twenty first century, and the strength that the Ukrainian people have in order to overcome these issues. The experience was simply surreal. Thank you Ukraine!

Mark Temnycky in Ukraine
Mark Temnycky in Ukraine

Bureaucracy: How Things Get Done in Foreign Affairs

This post has been reblogged from PAIA Insider. Read the original post.


Beth Gawne is a MPA/MAIR student, and  a regular contributor to PAIA Insider.

I’ve been thinking about bureaucracy a lot lately, especially as I hit my 4th week in the Department of State. This past summer, the MPA students took “Public Administration and Democracy,” where we learned that basically bureaucracy exists to get things done. Sure, there’s the glitz and glamor of policy and politics, but when it gets down to it, bureaucracy lies at the heart of a functioning society. Of course, back then my impression of what that meant was in terms of making sure the lights come on and the buses run (sometimes even on time). However, I never realized how that related to foreign affairs until now.

Not even tanks can escape the bureaucracy of the toll booth operator!

Bureaucracy helps make US embassies safe. Bureaucracy uphold US diplomatic relationships with other nations. Bureaucracy keeps nasty weapons out of the wrong hands. Heck… bureaucracies even help us MAIR interns get to our internships when we fly! When it comes to State Department bureaucracy, there’s a lot of waiting around for clearances, for badges, and even for access to a computer. You have to check a document that 10 other people have checked, then forward it on for 5 more people to check over. I used to think this was over-kill, but then when I considered what might happen without these checks… well, those things that I mentioned in the first few sentences might not be the case anymore. International security and foreign relations might be compromised without these basic steps that so annoy all of us.

Whether it’s diplomacy, humanitarian aid, international organizations, trade, or nonproliferation, bureaucracy makes sure that policies can be put into place. It helps the right people get the right resources in order to make sure everyone can do their job. Without it, we’d just have a bunch of words and nothing being done. All of the things that people want to actually do in the world wouldn’t be able to happen if bureaucrats weren’t rolling up their sleeves and typing up some memos to an embassy. It’s just amazed me how many of the officers in DOS rely on this kind of bureaucracy to make sure things happen. International relations isn’t just a set of theories and abstract concepts about security or development work…. instead it’s filled with real people doing real work to make the world a better place. And the rules that govern them help keep it all relatively in order despite everything that’s working against it.


If it’s one last thing I’ve learned in the State Department– besides lots of foreign affairs– it’s that MAIR students learn just as much about bureaucracy as MPA students. We may not have the requirement to take the specific class on it (although thanks to Maxwell we’re still 100% able to take the class), but we sure as heck learn about it during our time here anyway. The internship has been an incredible way to take all of the big concepts we learned in the classroom in Syracuse and apply it directly to what we want to be doing in the first place. This is even more important when you consider how hard it is to get your foot in the door in some of these places.

Also, it wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the mad writing skills that Maxwell has helped me gain– I’ve gotten so many compliments on my memos!

 To find out about how Beth Gawne’s experiences at the State Department began, read her other article: Intern by day, student by night.

Beth Gawne waves to her fellow Maxwell students from the United States Department of State in Washington, DC.
Beth Gawne waves to her fellow Maxwell students from the United States Department of State in Washington, DC.