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MA Masters International Relations

January 24, 2013

In terms of my research plans, I am particularly interested in educational development for children, particularly girls’ primary or basic education in developing countries.  Additionally, I want to examine how the development of girls’ education can impact communities, regions and even nations as a whole.  Geographically, I will be focusing on India, China, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

 My approach would be two-pronged: firstly, determining the positive aspects and ability of research to be conducted regarding teacher development in the developing area, what the costs are and how effective such efforts would be.  To determine the sustainability index of such a program, systemic empirical research would need to be conducted, and then an educated analysis of the proposed and “hoped for” impact on future educational policy. 

 Secondly, even before research is conducted, I would first design and implement guidelines for formal and informal interviews to be implemented at the village or district level, interviewing initially people who are well-versed in the social and cultural aspects of a given area, as well as the structure of the existing school system, if there is one.  Once this is done, I would conduct talks with parents, teachers and the girls themselves, individually and in groups, explaining the importance of education at higher levels.  Furthermore, I would identify what the pay-offs are in the group’s or area’s ideals for not educating their girls.

 As with any business or philanthropic venture, a feasibility report would need to be scripted in some fashion, incorporating the following: costs of transporting students to school(s); books; uniforms (if regionally expected); identifying the anticipated costs to families to send girls to school (i.e. loss of income due to lost labor); identifying what girl’s domestic expectations and roles are; community expectations or beliefs about schools and or education in general; determining social and or cultural expectations of girls’ roles, perceived abilities, and whether it is perceived advantageous or not for girls to be educated in that region; determining accessibility to schools, overcrowding or simply distances to school(s); identifying alternatives for girls such as apprenticeships, training programs; identifying, considering or catering to special circumstances such as HIV/AIDS status, pregnant girls, girls that are engaged, or girls with children.

 My reasoning is more than just having exhausted every path of opportunity and challenge at my current academic level.  As a campus recruiter, I often traveled to India and China’s top schools, recruiting exceptional, top students, and yet, invariably students from very wealthy families.  More than once, en route back to my hotel, I saw children begging for money or sleeping on the street.  I questioned the unfairness, why the privileged few could reach the highest tiers of education while children, simply because of where they were born, are culturally and/or sociologically barred from education beyond the absolute basics, if they ever receive education at all.

 My urgency is fueled by these realities and my strongest beliefs that all children deserve the opportunity to receive a decent, basic, free education.  Schools not only provide children with textbook facts, but soft skills that lay the foundation for teamwork, leadership, morality and integrity, the building blocks of contributing citizens.

 From all I have seen, researched and heard from people I respect in the field, your MA program offers a breadth, autonomy and relevance of curriculum no other school can offer, unprecedented access to resources, stalwart faculty and dynamic international student body.

 The work of the Ford Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund have truly impressed me and, post-graduation, I plan on increasing my professional exposure within a non-profit, NGO or similar organization that focuses on educational development in emerging nations.  Upon developing my practical abilities, body of experiences, acumen and professional contacts, I am intent upon setting up schools in emerging nations, offering girls the opportunity to succeed personally and professionally and setting a sustainable model or body of research that can be used or mirrored in other nations by similarly inclined groups.

 XXXX offers me the chance to develop my relevant skill set, confidence and exposure to faculty who are not just theoretical thinkers, but professionals who are active in their fields.  While I have traveled and crossed so many shores around the world, I am most interested in the shores I have yet to reach, the ones of my dreams.  Through the expert guidance of XXXX faculty, ideal curriculum, and experiences of accomplished international student body, I can bring my raw passion for my work to focus, to bring about practical solutions to the most pressing real world problems of our contemporary lives.

 I would like to take this opportunity to explain that what I lack in academic background, I more than make up for in practical and professional work experiences, work that has taken me around the world and in contact with people of numerous nations.  Working for Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs is solid evidence of my maturity, seriousness, ability to build and sustain professional relationships with colleagues and management everywhere, and real world experiences in two dozen countries across five of the world’s continents that will aid me invaluably in the graduate classroom, and enhance the experience of other students.

 Moreover, my extensive, decorated volunteerism is proof of my commitment and passion for philanthropic work.  Indeed, my volunteerism in the US and Africa, mentoring orphans, charitable fundraising, teaching English to children physically and mentally disabled children in Kenya, feeding the homeless in New York, women’s educational and professional rights in developing nations, all has given me extensive insights into the very organizations I aim to offer my services to post-graduation.  I feel that my experiences provide me with the focus for my own professional goals, and ambitions, as well as an appreciation for the assorted international issues of emerging nations.

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