Ali FilipowitzAli Filipowicz, a student at The Institute of World Politics, is currently enjoying her last semester in IWP’s Statecraft and National Security Affairs program, with a concentration in Public Diplomacy and Political Warfare. Ali took the time to share with us a little about her background, as well as the ways in which her IWP education has been a unique experience. Originally from Philadelphia, Ali graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 2006. While taking a full course load at IWP this semester, Ali is beginning to look for jobs primarily within the State Department and other areas of the federal government.

When she was exploring graduate programs for herself, Ali looked for something that would not simply repeat what she had learned in her undergraduate program. After hearing about IWP through a friend who was also an IWP student, she found that the Institute offered a new, unique perspective on international affairs and also would give her the chance to study a specialty (public diplomacy) that had become both a passion of hers, as well as a likely career path.

Ali found that, “the obvious advantage to an IWP education is the faculty… There are very few, if any, graduate programs on international affairs in this country that offer the wealth of knowledge and experience that the IWP faculty possesses.” During her time at IWP, Ali has also found that, also unlike most programs, IWP professors make themselves readily available to their students. While, quite often, the “big name” professors at most schools are relatively inaccessible, and it is nearly impossible to enroll in their classes, Ali’s experience at IWP has been quite different. From her very first classes (including International Relations with IWP President Dr. John Lenczowski), she has been able to have contact with professors who have served, among other organizations, in the White House, the National Security Council, and the CIA.

Ali identified the most valuable part of her IWP education as “learning the “why’s” of international affairs.” She remarks, “In my undergraduate education, I learned the “how’s:” how laws are passed, how various government agencies are set up, what their power structures are, and so on. At IWP, the students learn why these things are the way they are and why we choose the policies we do.”

Ali also found that IWP enforces the idea that history is paramount – not only because it shapes our decision making, but also because we need to learn from it lest we repeat its mistakes. Faculty members have continually stressed to Ali and her fellow students that they want to produce well-rounded policymakers, and that, without a background in history, it is very difficult to succeed in creating prudent and effective policy. Ali feels confident that when she does enter the policy-making arena, her IWP education has given her the tools she needs to be a successful and productive member of the foreign policy community.

-published April 20, 2009