Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SAIS: One campus with a global presence

Earlier this week, SAIS Europe welcomed Dean Vali Nasr who travelled to Bologna to meet with students, faculty and staff. Below, Chelsea Boorman, a first year MA student at SAIS Europe, tells us what she came away with.
Chelsea Boorman

Dean Vali Nasr’s visit to Bologna on Monday showed that, though we students are oceans apart, SAIS is truly one campus with a global presence.

Speaking in front of this year’s class, Nasr shared his goals for the future of SAIS across its three campuses in D.C., Bologna, and Nanjing.

As a new SAISer myself, navigating the waters of adjusting to grad school, hearing his ideas left me optimistic and even more excited to be a part of this global program.

Studying in Bologna for the first year provides a distinctive experience by exposing students to contrasting European and U.S. perspectives on global issues.

SAIS Europe, at the time called the Bologna Center, used to be the hub for European Studies. Over time, the Center has diversified its curriculum and now represents every policy area as well as concentrations in the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.

This broadening of the curriculum is important, according to Nasr, because it allows students to integrate academically once at the D.C. campus.

Dean Vali Nasr
Whether by bringing European scholars and practitioners to campus, or through our coursework and discussions with students from all over the world, it is easy to see how studying in Bologna teaches us to think about world affairs in a new way. Combining this unique knowledge with the experience in D.C. sets SAISers apart in the job market – a top priority for us all.

Nasr opened the floor to questions about foreign affairs, which ended up focusing on the Middle East given his expertise. Students from the U.S., Pakistan, Serbia, and the U.K. focused not only on the role of the U.S. in the region, but also of Russia, China, Jordan, and Lebanon.

This showed to me what SAIS is all about: training future leaders to address global problems from multiple perspectives. And where better to do that than at an American graduate institution in an international setting?

Chelsea Boorman
(SAIS Europe 2015)

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