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National Security Fellowship Briefs USAID at the Request of State Department  

Capital BuildingThe National Security graduate research team traveled this past May to Washington, D.C. to brief USAID.

The National Security Fellowship (NSF) graduate student research team briefed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday, May 10, as their final presentation concluding their yearlong project for the U.S. Department of State. This was the first time since the fellowship had begun that the program presented to USAID.

NSF is mentored by Seton Hall University alum and National Security Fellow, Mohamad Mirghahari (B.A. ’02/ M.A. ’04). The team of students spent the entire academic year researching and writing an informative paper and presentation designed with policy recommendations on how the U.S. Department of State can enhance the U.S. strategic relationship with Pakistan despite the rise of great power competition in South Asia, particularly from China. Additionally, the NSF team researched ways in which the U.S. could address relations between Pakistan and India, as well as pursuing U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

In late April, the NSF team traveled to Washington, D.C., to brief the U.S. Department of State’s Office of South Asian Affairs, Department of Defense Joint Staff, and Directorate for Intelligence (J2). While presenting to each agency, the team identified five key elements to center their recommendations around in the sectors of strategic messaging, public diplomacy, security, climate/sustainable energy, and the economy.

The National Security Fellowship team was then referred to USAID from the Department of State to present their research and findings. The National Security Fellowship team briefed Diane Ray (Officer Director for USAID/Pakistan), Nikolas Foster (Senior Advisor for Economic Development for USAID/PAK), and Kyle Beaulieu (Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs (OAPA) - Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization - Office of Transition Initiatives (CPS/OTI) on their research and recommendations to support USAID’s mission and goals in Pakistan.

After the presentation, the NSF students engaged with the USAID leadership on follow-up questions and discussions, where they received positive feedback from members of the organization for their in-depth analyses and comprehension on the programs that USAID already has established, as well as how these programs can further be built upon for improvement.

According to team leader, Bradley Kaufman, “To deliver a brief on the subject where the audience was very knowledgeable about the topic, Pakistan, is not easy. The data analytics portion of the brief was formulated using data about USAID’s foreign aid disbursements. I believe we got a very positive response, and I’m proud of the team for meeting the high expectations placed upon us.”

Second-year graduate student Alexis Turek also remarked saying, “Presenting to USAID was an excellent way to end my experience with the Fellowship. As several of our recommendations mentioned work completely with USAID, the team was nervous about their reactions initially. However, the positive feedback that we received assured us that our research and recommendations were on the right track.”

This year's research team was composed of eleven graduate students from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Team leaders Jocelyn Anderson and Bradley Kaufman lead Linda Adebola, Ahmad Choudhary, Chimdi Chukwukere, Matthew Enterline, Brent Findon, Christina Grossen, David Marina, Allison Risewick, Peter Roberto, and Alexis Turek on the project.

Throughout the year, students had the opportunity to gain further insight on their topic due to guest speakers and experts whom Professer Mirghahari invited to share their areas of expertise and knowledge about Pakistan. Speakers throughout the year who displayed a wide variety of professional experience in defense, academia, the intelligence community, and private sector, included: Senior DOD Officer Dr. Kevin McGrath, National Defense University Scholar Dr. Hassan Abbas, Vice President of External Affairs for PepsiCo Kenny Thompson, Jr., FBI Special Agent Patrick McMonigle, Senior Defense Intelligence Expert Angela Marie Silicato, and Lobbyist Keith Pemrick.

Learn more about the National Security Fellowship here.

Categories: Alumni , Research

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  • Elizabeth Halpin
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