MA in International Affairs

What drew you to AUP? 

I made the decision to apply to graduate school after three and a half years of working in international development. It was very fulfilling work, but I wanted to expand my horizons and gain both a deeper understanding of global issues and a competitive edge. After reviewing my choices and consulting with my sister, Hibaq, an alumna of AUP’s MA of Global Communications, I learned that AUP was the best choice for me. The course material is rigorous, challenging students to probe further and think bigger. The MA in International Affairs was especially appealing because of the Ecole de Guerre Practicum and the opportunity to write a thesis on a topic I love. 

Tell us two favorite moments – one academic, one extracurricular

I enjoyed studying conflict resolution with Dr. Hall Gardner. I gained applicable insights into the field and learned about various ways to navigate intractable conflicts – something that’s particularly important given the numerous protracted conflicts around the world. It was very interesting to learn about how conflicts arise and the necessary steps to achieve and maintain peace. This class inspired me to look further into the field of peace theory – something I now draw on extensively in my thesis. Outside of my studies, my stand-out moment was serving as Graduate Student Council Vice President. I enjoyed the opportunity to ensure that student voices were heard, to orchestrate student senate meetings and to support the senate in passing budgets for student activities and clubs. Being connected with people all over AUP was an incredibly rewarding experience. 

What are you up to while finishing your thesis? 

After completing my coursework at AUP, I travelled back home to the United States to complete my thesis and continue my career. Being a student at AUP helped me gain a stronger understanding of topics surrounding democracy, civil society strengthening, poverty and social justice. I know this is what I’d like to do in a professional capacity. I now work with Democracy International – an organization based out of Bethesda, Maryland, that helps make politics, governments and societies work for people around the world. I currently serve as Program Officer, supporting programs in Bangladesh, South Sudan and El Salvador. 

We are pleased to announce that, since graduating, Bileh has been awarded a 202122 fellowship from the Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy for his work with Democracy International. Congratulations, Bileh!