I am Omar, a current Fulbright Scholar at the Keough School of Global Affairs, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame and my concentration is International Peace Studies. My particular areas of expertise are in conflict prevention, conflict transformation, and community dialogue design. Most recently, I worked at Search for Common Ground as a project manager for Bahrain and prior to that as a regional coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Common Ground Institute program.
I am writing to share my very brief experience with the Keough School of Global Affairs. A one-semester old experience that won’t definitely capture everything but I will try to be short and precise.
I believe the Master of Global Affairs is a unique program and here is why:
- Diversity, our cohort is 38 students from 22 different countries and this has been very helpful and very eye-opening to a degree I wasn’t expecting. Our class discussions are very rich given the different backgrounds present in the room. You can read about my colleagues here http://keough.nd.edu/students/
- Integral Human Development, a new subject and I would say a Notre Dame specialty. The centerpiece of the Keough School’s mission, is a positive vision of human flourishing articulated in modern Catholic social teaching and shared by several other religious and humanistic traditions. It centers on the idea that the dignity of the human person is expressed in work and economic activity — but also in cultural richness, artistic creativity, religious belonging, and spiritual practice. Most profoundly, human dignity is expressed in our relationships with, and obligations to, family, community, and all of humanity, around the globe. I enjoy how reflective this has been and how practical it is linked when it comes to ethical decisions in the field.
- Policy Seminar, in the policy seminar this semester we had a wide range of important speakers-decision makers that includes Mr. Denis McDonough, the former White House chief of staff for President Obama and Mr. James Clapper the former director of US National Intelligence. This exposure really helps when thinking through a peace lens.
- Wider scope, it used to be masters of international peace studies under the Kroc Institute, while now it’s still under the Kroc Institute but Keough School is a bigger umbrella. How can that help? from my opinion, a wider scope and a specific concentration can be very enlightening. We get to study a variety of courses weren’t included in the old program such as (economics, policy etc..) and this can add an additional perspective to the Peace lens and it certainly open doors.
- Pioneering, I am part of the first cohort and this can be seen as a risk while it can also be seen as pioneering and shaping the program. It’s not easy but I am very glad to be part of this experience.
- Funded, to my knowledge the program is fully-funded for this coming cohort so this is your chance.
- Academically rigorous, the program is very busy so this is something you need to be aware of. We are currently taking 15 credits but it may be less in the future. However, the program is strong and requires a lot of effort and time management.
- Healthy Environment, I appreciate the genuine connections with my professors and how everyone is trying to support.
- Integration Lab, a new component of the program where we connect literally everything we study and bring it to practice.
- 6 Months Internship, this is a unique component this program has and it’s really helpful to be 6 months instead of shorter versions. I think the more time the better integration with the organization. The internship takes place outside and inside the US.
Lastly, the program is currently focusing on creating a better connection between the 3 tracks: Peace Studies, Sustainable Development, and Global Affairs. I don’t think one track of these tracks can change the world and make it a better place without the support of the other two tracks. Thus, I think the Keough School is moving in the right direction.
The deadline is coming up soon so I would say go for it and I would be glad to answer any questions. Feel free to message me.
Here is a link for more information on the Peace Studies program that was published earlier here on PCDN (https://pcdnetwork.org/blogs/peace-studies-university-notre-dame-fully-funded-masters-program/)
You can also follow program updates here – https://www.facebook.com/KeoughSchool/
Photo by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame