New York City Career Trek- Elliott School Grad Life

For 12 Elliott M.A. students, spring break brought a special opportunity: a journey to Manhattan for the second annual New York City Career Trek. In Manhattan, they met with industry professionals at coveted employers to gain insight into opportunities in the Big Apple.

“This trip is really interesting and a good way to explore various career opportunities,” said one student.

Among the sites where students met with potential employers were The Century Foundation, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, Eurasia Group, IIE, and Acquis Consulting. They heard about the organizations’ roles in the international affairs sphere and learned of updates on current work they are accomplishing. Many  employers had advice for the students on how to make the most of their studies and leverage their resumes and experience to launch ideal careers.

The group also toured the United Nations and a chance to peek into the “Women in Power” press conference being held in the iconic U.N. General Assembly. Viewing incredible relics of history such as the original Nobel Peace Prize and a statue that survived the Nagasaki atomic bomb, the Elliott School students were inspired to join the ranks of the international leaders who walked the very same halls.

In addition to the tours and employer site visits, students were able to enjoy a reception in Times Square with Elliott School alumni, who shared their individual stories of life at Elliott and beyond as they mingled with current students.

“I always feel proud as a member of the Elliott School community, and I appreciate it more for the helpful networking,” one student said. “This site visit brought me eye-opening experiences and helped me make close bonds with Elliott Fellows.”



Remembering Rwanda: Elliott School Photo Exhibit Marks 25th Anniversary of Genocide

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, where more than 1 million people lost their lives in just 100 days.

A photo exhibition called, “Kwibuka Rwanda: Commemorative practices of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” currently on display in the Elliott School’s second-floor atrium reflects on the genocide, telling stories of survivors’ loss and trauma.

“[The exhibit] is a space for reflection, recollection, meditation and communication in which survivors share stories and memories of often immense pain and loss with extraordinary generosity, trust and faith in the capacity of the viewer to empathize, and ultimately — one hopes — to act in solidarity with survivors and in affirmation of their human rights, particularly their right to reparative justice,” said Dr. Noam Schimmel, visiting associate professor of ethics and international affairs at the Elliott School.

The exhibit also gives voice to those who work at genocide memorials, where they honor the dead by cleaning and preserving their remains. It raises awareness and understanding of the way Rwandans commemorate and memorialize their dead, showing how survivors are rebuilding their lives through creativity and resilience. Additionally, it demonstrates survivors’ determination to come to terms with a violent past, and the role genocide memorials and human remains have played in this process.

Based on Dr. Julia Viebach’s research on memory and justice in Rwanda over a five-year period from 2009 and 2014, the exhibit was curated in consultation with members of the Ishami Foundation, the Rwandan community in Oxford, the Pitts Rivers Museum and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.  

“I hope that this exhibition can be an educational opportunity to promote understanding of and empathy for the suffering of ‘the other’ in times of heightened xenophobia and fear of otherness and difference,” Viebach said.

Albert Gasake, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and attorney with the Rwanda Bar Association, also spoke about the legacy of the genocide at GW’s Textile Museum on Wednesday, April 3.

Sports Diplomacy —Then and Now

Sports create a common language and a shared culture, if only on the playing field. It can be a useful diplomatic tool to facilitate people-to-people relationships and to build trust between countries. At the global level, sports often become an important avenue for cross-cultural communication, says Tara Sonenshine, a former U.S. under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, who is now a senior career coach at the Elliott School. The State Department, for instance, dedicates significant resources to sports exchanges among teams in the United States and around the world.  Through these sports-focused dialogues, Soneshine explains, the U.S. has a powerful way to disseminate American values internationally.

In many ways, it is a story that reaches back thousands of years— to 776 B.C., when a Greek King offered respite from war by promising safe passage to citizens for “games” to be held amidst conflict. From this ancient truce grew the modern-day Olympic games.

Major global sporting events allow host countries to showcase their nations’ points of pride — and to convey the desired national image. Today, hosting a world-class sports event has become a global stamp of approval, conferring world-class status on the host nation.

Psychologically, a powerful win on the sports field enhances a nation’s sense of self worth. It is partly for this reason that President Vladimir Putin was willing to go to great lengths to ensure that Russia garnered the most gold medals during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games — even to the point of tactics that the International Olympic Committee special commission called the “systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system.”

In recent times, sports diplomacy is conducted on a personal, as well as a governmental level, says Elliott alumna Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff, B.A.’99. A global communications and sports specialist and Executive Committee member of the sports club Sport & Démocratie, which focuses on sports diplomacy, Krasnoff, consults with high-level organizations to leverage sports for diplomatic purposes. Social media has been a game-changer, she says, enabling individual athletes to tell their own stories. She says the nature of sports diplomacy has evolved from a predominantly traditional government to government approach of cultural exchange to include many more informal people to people exchanges — predominantly through social media. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube allow individuals to tell the stories as they see them and not simply accept the messaging as it is presented to the public in formal government sponsored exchanges.

With sports diplomacy taking place at all levels, from the global to the individual, there is vast opportunity for major sports events to bring about greater understanding among nations and peoples. Sports have indeed become a force for the good in our conflicted world.

Thanks to Tara Sonenshine, senior career coach at GW’s Elliott School, and Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff, global communications and sports specialist and member of the advisory council to the Elliott School’s Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative, for contributing to this article.


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