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MA Political Science, North Africa, Middle East

January 3, 2013

Throughout my education, profession, volunteer and personal experiences, I have been increasingly amazed with the sheer range of opinions and heartfelt political beliefs of the people I have interacted with, oftentimes underscoring the reality that while one person sees a particular viewpoint, and another adamantly sees a completely different perspective.  For example, a fellow student and I had two different experiences in which we were able to form educated opinions regarding the Middle East.  He took the opportunity to take Arabic courses and spend time with Americans at an embassy in WashingtonD.C.  For my part, I taught English in Chaffar, Tunisia for an entire summer in 2006.  While my colleague honestly believed that the Arabic world held negative views towards the Western world, I had come away from my experiences with a very different set of opinions, largely positive.  Yet, we were both intent upon similar career paths.

 This exposure coupled with my undergraduate Political Science degree has served to increase my desire to enter into graduate Political Science study with XXXX, particularly International Relations and Political Theory.  I would like to focus my research on how the US interacts with government and non-government actors in the Middle East, and North Africa.  Moreover, I am intent upon examining how the US uses different standards for dealing with secular (such as Tunisia), non-secular (such as Iran), and unofficial entities (such as Hamas or Hezbollah).   As a part of my program of study, I envision attending classes at a university in the Middle East, perhaps during my second year of graduate study, a time in which I would be conducting research to support my thesis.  In the most practical sense, this will also immerse me in the Arabic language of which I have already completed four semesters at XXXX University.

 Equipped with a graduate degree, and having completed research into these contemporary political issues, I will be more able to bring my career plans to fruition.  In order to bring about viable and sustainable policies that aid the US’ relationship and influence with the Middle East, there is a need to increase understanding, and forge relationships that are based on reciprocity, and less on policies that dictate.  Therefore, I see my career leading toward the US State Department, and a profession that includes aiding in diplomatic relationships between the US and Middle Eastern nations.  Additionally, my teaching experiences in Tunisia have left their indelible mark, convincing me that education does not simply teach concepts, and curriculum, but can be used as a jumping off point for introducing ideas that will mold students’ worldviews.  Thus, I foresee returning to the classroom in the future, as a professor, helping to dispel misconceptions and prejudice towards differing cultures and creeds.

 Indeed, I grew up in a family that is half-Asian, as well as having roommates from Colombia, Bolivia, Japan and Indonesia.  This combined with my teaching experience in Tunisia have increased my ability to interact effectively with people of myriad backgrounds and socioeconomic status, while celebrating the rich tapestry of people that our world encompasses.

 USF is my sole choice for graduate education and I look forward to continuing the academic relationship we have established, one in which I have proven my ability as a Poli-Sci Honors student with near-perfect GPA.  What is more, proof of the seriousness with which I will approach my graduate study is evident in my seeking out and procuring a communications internship with XXXX, working on XXXX gubernatorial campaign while working three jobs to support myself and my education.

 I have learned through personal experience how representing others through politics is a two-way mirror, a way to represent one group while also reflecting the unique needs and beliefs of others.  Political Science is the only field that has or ever could bring me the greatest personal and professional satisfaction and I look forward with great eagerness to my future with XXXX and my career in political service to others.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

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