Investigating Small State Diplomacy
If one word could sum up our visit to Portugal, it would be transcendent. From the moment we landed at Lisbon Airport on March 4th to our return to Seton Hall on March 13th, our intimate group of Diplomacy students was forever changed by our myriad of experiences.
What started out as a class on Portugal and Small State Diplomacy turned into an experience beyond what any of us could have imagined. During the week, our delegation met with former President Sampaio at the Gulbenkian Foundation, Ambassador Katz at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, executives at the Port and Maritime Institute, the Delegation of the EU/European Commission in Portugal, officers at NATO Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon Headquarters, and former President Soares at the Mario Soares Foundation among many other memorable meetings held throughout the week.
While the meetings during the day were informative and eye opening, a large majority of our cultural experiences took place after business hours.
- Driven by Natalie’s love of food, we ventured through parts of Lisbon only known to locals to find the most authentic Portuguese cuisine.
- Alex’s enthusiasm for soccer directed us to Estádio da Luz to cheer alongside thousands of Benfica fans at a Europa League match.
- At the recommendation of our tour guide, Antonio, we enthusiastically participated in the Loures Carnival Parade, and to experience the beauty of Lisbon from the sky, we walked up cobble-stoned streets to Castelo de São Jorge at sunset for an incredible view overlooking the fusion of pastel buildings throughout the city.
The most memorable part was witnessing the Diplomacy delegation single-handedly rejuvenate the Portuguese economy with its new-found love of espresso and pasteis de nata.
Heading back to the U.S., bags filled with cork souvenirs from Evora, queijada from Sintra and enough pictures from our week long adventure to fill the Catholic University of Portugal’s library twice over, our exhausted Diplomacy delegation had smiles on our faces, a new group of friends, and a slew of unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
-Sarah Husseini, M.A.'12