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International Affairs Masters, Diplomacy, Africa

I feel strongly that I am a solid candidate for the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship because of my potential to contribute to the Foreign Service after completing the Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a focus on Conflict Resolution. An African man raised in Africa, I look forward to returning to Africa at some point in my career in a professional capacity.

I grew up in Ghana and have been in the USA now for 7 of my 29 years. An accountant with a Master’s Degree, I work for the Connecticut Department of Energy as an Accounts Examiner and also serve as an advocate for fair rates of electricity for citizens. I have worked as an Auditor with the New York State Department of Health and also the US Department of Health and Human Services. It is my current position with the Connecticut Department of Energy, however, that has proven to be the most formative for my career direction, since for some time now I have been reading widely in the area of sustainable and clean energy, on the one hand, and international politics and global affairs on the other. Frankly, I initially chose Accounting, instead of International Affairs, because as a black man and an immigrant from Africa I felt compelled by my circumstances to put a priority on economic security. Now that I have achieved that, I seek further growth and would like to now turn my attention to my innermost dreams and aspirations.

Being awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship will enable me to pursue my foremost passion, public service and the geopolitics of clean energy, so that I will be able to make my maximum contribution to society after earning the Master’s Degree, working for a government organization promoting clean energy, especially in Africa. Thus, I am well poised to excel in a critical area of global public service, promoting clean energy in the most sustainable way possible, by fostering it on the world’s poorest continent.

My short term professional dream is to go back to school and earn my second Master’s Degree as a result of being awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship. My long term professional goal is to work for a governmental agency such as the UN or the US Department of State dealing with energy policies around the world, creating equitable trade deals and also helping to create a conflict free world – to the extent to which it is possible to do so. Competition for energy sources has resulted in great bloodshed world-wide and this is one of the reasons that I am so pleased with the extensive experience that I have acquired in the energy sector, because it has served to prepare me to realize my central professional dream of having something of great value to offer to the Foreign Service community. For me, the Foreign Service is a lifelong calling resulting from a profound search of my soul. Working as a professional Auditor has been a fulfilling career so far, but I crave more, especially international engagement.

My father, my principal hero and personal role model, worked for the World Health Organization and this helped me to develop a global perspective and identity early on. Now a US citizen, in addition to 9 years in our native Ghana, I lived in the Republic of the Congo for 5 years and Zimbabwe for 1 year. I have also spent significant amounts of time in Zambia, Egypt, Turkey, Finland, England, Cyprus, Guatemala and Mexico. In addition to our native Akan and English, I am also fluent in French and learning Spanish.

My principle interests lie in energy policy, global electricity markets, energy deals, politics of access to water and issues of sustainability. Since Africa is the land of my birth, I have stayed abreast for some time now with energy issues in the Developing World – especially Africa. Ultimately, I would like to help African companies achieve energy self-sufficiency. My other, closely related, interest is conflict resolution. I witnessed a little bit of the Congo war first hand in the 90’s and this experience has left me hungry to study ways in which the UN Security Council might be able to more successfully intervene to prevent civil war and genocide. I look forward to an intense immersion experience in the history of U.S Diplomacy in Africa and the Middle East, in particular, and the role of the United Nations in conflict resolution and clean energy promotion.

I thank you for considering my application.

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