My experiences with Seeds of Peace, beginning in 2005 as an American camper and later as a peer support and counselor, profoundly challenged my understanding of global issues and inspired me to engage in bridge-building as a student and a scholar. I learned how to listen actively, compassionately, and with an open mind, and became more reflective regarding my own life experiences and as the grandson of Holocaust survivors.
My involvement with Seeds of Peace contributed to my desire to conduct research and influence policy in the realm of international politics and international development. Moreover, it pushed me to understand the importance of complex human relationships, social and political contexts including power asymmetries, and conflicting historical narratives and conceptions of justice. The passion and insights I cultivated at Seeds of Peace continue to motivate and inform my research.
My relationship with Seeds of Peace proved to be a transformative experience that directly affected my choice to pursue my undergraduate studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and to focus on the study of international politics as my career path. It fueled the topic for my honors thesis “Reaching and Breaching Peace: The Failings of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreements, 1995-2000.” It led me to create a Living Room Dialogues program on campus. It motivated me to participate in President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge and to work at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. And it inspired me to work in and conduct research on post-conflict politics, authoritarianism, and state-society relations.
How are you impacting your community?
I am a joint PhD student in Public Policy and Political Science and Weiser Emerging Democracies Fellow at the University of Michigan. I study political development and mobilization and the effects of aid conditionality and foreign democracy, human rights, and governance assistance in competitive authoritarian regimes in the Global South, particularly Southeast Asia.
I previously worked on issues related to electoral reform, civil society strengthening, and legislative accountability at The Asia Foundation and the National Democratic Institute in Timor-Leste and Cambodia. I also served as a foreign policy advisor to Governor Martin O’Malley during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
While pursuing my Master’s degree at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, I studied International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and contributed to a research project, which seeks to develop a new paradigm in conflict resolution that incorporates non-Western perspectives.
BS in Foreign Service, Georgetown University 2012
MA in Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University 2016
PhD in Public Policy & Political Science, University of Michigan 2021 (expected)
“I learned how to listen actively, compassionately, and with an open mind.”