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Sample Personal Statement of Purpose for the MA in International Affairs, African Applicant

The MA Program in International Affairs at XXXX University’s XXXX School is my first choice for a variety of reasons, especially the fact that your program has an Africa Track, allowing me to focus much of my studies on my continent of origin, Africa. I hope to return to Africa as a professional diplomat at some point after earning my Master’s Degree. I look forward to developing a cutting-edge grasp on the issues that affect Africa and how they are grounded in history. I appreciate the focus of your program on security, as I seek to become not only an expert on the security of African countries but also the many complex ways in which the security of Africa affects the security of the USA – and the rest of the world. Immigration, refugees, and human rights will be my three long-term devotions to which I look forward to giving my all for the balance of my professional life.

My mother tongue is Kinyarwanda; I am also a near-native speaker of both French and Swahili. I knew very little English when I came to the USA in 2012, at the age of 21; but I have given it my all. It is not quite as good as my French but continues to improve rapidly. I see my future unfolding in French and Swahili as well as English, since they are the three foremost languages of commerce and interaction in Africa.

A Tutsi originally from East Congo, my first memories are of fleeing political violence in the land where I was born. In the events surrounding the genocide in Rwanda of 1994, both of my parents disappeared, one at a time, presumed deceased. The bodies of my two oldest siblings were recovered. We had sought refuge in a refugee camp fleeing violence against Tutsis in the Congo. I subsequently grew up in the refugee camp in Rwanda, reading everything that I could get my hands on. I was resettled to the USA in 2012 along with my two surviving brothers. Now 26 and a US citizen, I hope to serve my country.

I am especially excited about the prospect of studying under the direction of professors XXXX and XXXX. Dr. XXXX has written extensively about African conflicts. Since I am especially interested in “Conflict Resolution” as a response to the refugee crisis, I also see the work of Dr. XXXX on the African diaspora to be especially relevant to the research that I hope to undertake in the future. Finally, GWU is also the perfect location as a result of the wide range of internships available.

The generosity that the United States has showed to me is a powerful motivating force that drives me to excel as a student of International Affairs, preparing myself for a career with the State Department, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services, or the United Nations.

I thank you for considering my application to the XXXX School.

All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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Master's International Relations Sample Statement of Purpose, Chinese Applicant with background in Finance, Humanitarian Initiative

International Relations have, since borders were created millennia ago, been a vital area of study if conflicts are to be avoided or quickly terminated and trade encouraged. However we live in particularly ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese describe such eras of potential conflict and tension, as that in which we find ourselves living today.

I recognise that this age in which knowledge of other cultures, peoples and attitudes is almost instantly available, there exist unique opportunities and challenges that are entirely new in the world of diplomacy and I want to be a part of a ‘new diplomacy’ that will be required to fully exploit this situation and to identify and overcome its challenges.

Like most young people, I have always wanted to spend my life ‘making a difference’ rather than merely making a living but this ambition was rather vague and unfocussed until I took up a post at an INGO called Saferworld.  Although my role was financial, I worked alongside dedicated and highly trained people whose goal is to prevent violent conflict and build safer lives for those affected, or potentially affected, by war. I was inspired by their idealism and enthusiasm and this fired a desire in me to work to the same or similar ends.

I have recent experience working as a volunteer with a local NGO in Cambodia whose goal is to encourage development and effective local government. I assisted the NGO in the design of effective fundraising campaigns, assisting in the improvement of financial procedures and controls and improving local staff English Language skills. This first-hand experience of seeing the cheerful and determined way in which enormous challenges are faced was highly inspiring and totally confirmed me in my ambition to work in the field of international relations. I have also made several visits to my parents’ home country of Pakistan and travelled in Europe and North Africa.

A background in Finance may be atypical for applicants for this course but I believe that this specialist knowledge will enable me to ‘add value’ to it and to provide specialist input in a future career in such matters as the financial controls necessary for effective provision of aid and in countries struggling against the scourge of corruption. I would be very interested in assisting in research related to effective means of combatting corrupt practices during the course or some other finance related project.

I have happily worked, studied, served and socialized with people from many cultural and social backgrounds. I enjoy meeting new people and sharing experiences and cultural knowledge and I have a well-developed sense of humour. I have experience of effective report writing and of designing and providing interesting verbal presentations. I am an enthusiastic amateur writer and I ‘unwind’ by boxing which also keeps me fit and calls for high level tactical skills and self-discipline.

I greatly look forward to interacting with students and a faculty who share my enthusiasm and passion for this area of study and can promise to apply exceptional enthusiasm and diligence during the course.

Thank you for considering my application.

International Relations is a multi-disciplinary major that draws from politics, history, economics, law, sociology, psychology, philosophy, ethics, and geography. You'll be dealing with foreign cultures, languages, worldviews, and values. The study of foreign languages is a necessity, as is a sense of empathy, compassion, and good will.

The Paradox of Humanitarian Aid

As someone with a PHD in Religion and Social Ethics, I am especially engaged with the study of  those aspects of international relations theory which concern the extent and scope of ethical obligations between states in an era of globalization. I will help with creative ideas for your statement as we work together as a team forming and eloquently expressing the most important part, your long term goals. A world traveler who has gotten to know Asia and Europe personally throughout decades of study of politics and history, I could be a very valuable asset to your endeavors.

International Relations & Ethics

Leading schools of thought that serve to articulate an ethical posture for International Relations include Cosmopolitanism and anti-Cosmopolitanism, Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism. These are all ethical traditions that conceptually address moral issues in international relations. As a historian of the Cold War, in particular, I understand the historical background of IR, especially as concerns the Developing World.

Development Studies, International Relations, and Obstetrics