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MA Global and International Studies

November 8, 2013

I was raised in Armenia until the age of 14 and then lived in Russia for one year. At 15, I immigrated with my family to the USA. I began learning both English and Russian as a small child; thus, I am a near-native speaker of both languages. What I want most for my professional future is to help the republics of the former USSR, especially my native Armenia, to develop economically, have greater respect for human rights, and make increasing progress towards a fuller participation in our global economy. As in other parts of the Developing World, progress in these areas is largely a product of the work of  NGOs rather than governments. Your program is my first choice for graduate school because it is specifically designed to prepare well qualified professionals that will be able to contribute to the work of NGOs or pursue careers as diplomats.

 I keenly look forward to learning everything that I can about international cooperation and conflict resolution, how to foment greater levels of mutual respect and cross-cultural understandings, among nations, especially those that have historically been in conflict, as is the case with Armenia and Azerbaijan. I want to devote myself to in-depth explorations of the contributions of NGOs to cultural as well as political and  economic development.

All of the former republics of the former Soviet Union--including Russia--face myriad and very grave problems. Thus, I hope to develop a special focus on this area of the world, doing comparative analyses of trajectories, successes, and failures of these neighboring nations. I have traveled extensively not only in Russia, but all three Baltic states, Georgia, and the Ukraine. I have also visited Turkey and Finland, both of which, especially the former, play critical political roles in this area.

I am most interested in studying precisely the central social and political questions of the day that are addressed by your program, global processes of change and international development as they have emerged as a result of historical patterns of international relations. I see the world as indeed engaged in an epochal transition marked by greater interdependency taking shape in novel ways as a result of the increasing interconnectedness of nations. I am also very much attracted by the fact that a six-month internship and/or study abroad experience is an integral part of your program.

 My long term goal is to build a successful career as a diplomat or work with NGOs. Thus, I seek an advanced understanding of how both governmental and non-governmental organizations function. My professional experience so far as a corporate paralegal in a multi-billion dollar publically traded corporation (NYSE:HCP) has greatly enhanced my communication and teamwork building skills, working with people from many different backgrounds in the areas of tax, accounting, law, investment, treasury, etc.

 My education from a world class research university with a renowned political science department has also helped to prepare me to excel in your program. I have been cultivating my multicultural sensitivities since childhood. Growing up in Armenia, I chewed fruity Turkish chewing gum and played with Chinese game consoles, at the same time that I closely observed a people painfully digging itself out from underneath the rubble of the 1988 earthquake that took thousands of lives. Although still a child, I noted how the world came together in its response, helping us despite Cold War tensions. Studying in a Soviet-style secondary school, we used both Russian and English textbooks. I preferred the latter: Shakespeare, Conan Doyle and Alexander Dumas, among others. My intellectual development was also very much impacted by my father’s unjust detainment and torture by State Police for voicing his disagreement with the lawlessness and corruption of the newly independent Armenian republic.

 From a very young age, multiple cultures and international conflicts have touched my life and shared in the formation of my identity. It is for this reason that I feel strongly that the greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to help enhance international cooperation by improving the mechanisms through which nation states relate to each other both through the development of foreign policy and well as the cultural exchanges that take place through NGOs. I want to dedicate my professional life to the promotion of respect for cultural differences and the building of bridges between nations so that there will be greater harmony, solidarity, and cooperation in decades to come: less hostility, hatred, conflict, and tension, much of which is based largely on misunderstanding and a failure of communication.

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