Thursday, November 1, 2012

One man's circuitous route to SAIS Bologna

Students follow different paths to SAIS Bologna. Some come right out of undergraduate; others have heaps of professional experience. Today Tony Bonanno describes the circuitous route he took to end up at the Bologna Center after law school, military service and an international career.

I first learned of SAIS in 1965 when applying to attend Dickinson College’s junior year abroad program in Bologna for the 1966-67 school year.

Dickinson of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, had a very close relationship with SAIS at the time, with Dickinson classes conducted at the Bologna Center and Dickinson students like myself enjoying taking some SAIS courses.

Tony Bonanno
We were made to feel part of the SAIS community even though we were Dickinson undergraduates. For me the year in Bologna was transformational for my later life and career choices, and SAIS contributed to that. Besides learning about a different culture and beginning to learn the language, I loved the total Bologna experience and dreamed one day of returning to Bologna.

Soon thereafter, the U.S. Army intervened to delay my law school plans. I enlisted in the U.S. Army (it was the time of the Vietnam War) and to my surprise, because of my experience at Dickinson, SAIS and Bologna, I was stationed in Vicenza, Italy, for two years in 1970 and 1971. I made sure to take trips back to Bologna.

After law school in Washington, DC, I practiced law in Washington until 1983 when I transferred to my law firm’s office in London, where I practiced international tax law until my retirement at the end of 2010.

I was then faced with having to decide what to do in my retirement. The idea of returning to Bologna and SAIS seemed a good idea. My wife was very supportive, and I was excited about pursuing my life-long interest in international relations studies. I learned that SAIS had an MIPP program (Master of International Public Policy) which seemed to suit my desires exactly.

Returning to SAIS and Bologna as a retired lawyer was a great decision, and I highly recommend it for the “mature” student like myself.

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