Graduate students in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations’ Master’s program are taking on high-level internships and preparing for their futures ahead of them.
Erick Agbleke, a second-year graduate student in the program, was an intern in the state department for the U.S. Embassy in Lome, Togo in West Africa. He said the goal of the office is to push economic development and sustainability as well as to improve things between the U.S. and Togo.
One of the projects Agbleke worked on was a sanitation and waste management project that targeted high school students and facilitated recycling for them.
Agbleke, who is originally from Togo, said it was great to go back and interact with locals and officials there. “For me, I’m all about service and serving people so wherever I’m called to serve that’s where I’ll go,” he said.
Agbleke explained that this experience has helped him achieve his goal of becoming a diplomat and policymaker and that the internship helped him in deciding what he wants to pursue. He added that the program at Seton Hall prepared him well for this experience, focusing on writing and constructive criticism. Agbleke said he credits Rev. Brian Muzas for his preparation, as he had him write a six to nine sentence summary on hundreds of pages of material, which helped him to write reports at his internship.
Muzas has been teaching at Seton Hall for more than 10 years, covering a variety of subjects in the diplomacy school. He currently teaches a course on graduate-level international relations theory as well as a level 3 core course on Vatican diplomacy, the League of Nations and the United Nations.
“I try to make sure that our students learn not only the substantive course material but also its history and its relevance to current events,” Muzas said. “Moreover, my courses tend to stress different forms of written and oral communication because the best ideas in the world are of no importance if they cannot be communicated effectively.”
Alexander Miller, another second-year graduate student in the program, worked as an intern and desk officer in Washington, D.C. He worked for the offices of Central and South Africa and spent the last two weeks of his work focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda.
Miller’s assignments involved preparing an ambassador nominee to the DRC as well as a U.N. ambassador for their trips. This included gathering various materials concerning backgrounds for important officials as well as civilian papers.
“It made me really think about a career in the State Department,” Miller said.
Patricia Zanini Graca, also a second-year graduate student in the program, was selected for the Sergio Vieira de Mello Fellowship and worked for 10 weeks at the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces in the Latin American and the Caribbean units.
“One of the activities I loved doing was to research and write fact sheets for Latin American countries,” Graca said. “These fact sheets comprise the security and justice context, perceptions of insecurity, security and justice institutions, security and justice entry points, the international community and nonprofits initiatives.”
As a result of this experience, Graca said she changed the scope of her master’s project and now wants to advocate for gender equality.
Daniel D’Amico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.