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From Uganda to IWP: Meet Patrick Ddiba

“Although growing up in Uganda had a major influence on my decision to pursue a career in the field of national security, 9/11 drove me finally to the conclusion that the best way to help my country was to contribute to its defense. I vividly remember the events of 9/11 – I was about to catch a flight from Burlington, VT to Boston, MA when suddenly all planes were grounded. The events of that fateful morning were surreal, inexpressible, and incomprehensible. The only superpower was helpless in the face of evil – at least temporarily. My life changed forever, I see the world differently, and the world will never be the same.”

Patrick DdibaIWP student Patrick Kluivert Ddiba came to IWP with a passion for national security – but also with a Master of International Affairs in International Security Policy, Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and extensive experience abroad. He was born and raised in Uganda – his first languages are Luganda and English. Now he also speaks Lusoga, Korean and some Lunyankole, French and Swahili.

Studies abroad

In his junior year of college, he spent about 18 months in Seoul, South Korea as a Freedman Scholar and as an exchange student at Yonsei University, Division of International Education (연세 대학교 국제 교육 학부).

“My time in South Korea cultivated my interest in East Asia, which is essential for the field of international relations and international security in particular. The experience definitely taught me a lot about different cultures, civilizations and ways of life… In terms of geopolitics, the courses I took provided me with meaningful insights. Asia contains the most rapidly growing economies in the world, the second largest economy and emerging military superpower in China, many actual and potential points of conflict, and has many rich cultures.”

This program was through University of Southern California, where he earned a B.A. in International Relations, with concentration in International Security, and a minor East Asian Languages and Cultures, and graduated Cum Laude.

Security policy internships

His passion for international affairs also led him to pursue several internships in the field. He worked as a policy analysis intern at the Department of Political Affairs, Policy Planning Unit at the United Nations Secretariat, where he worked on issues like terrorism and nonproliferation, helped draft official documents, and conducted briefings. He also worked at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Future Strategic Studies as a security policy intern. There, he investigated and researched U.S. military and defense programs, summarized various conferences for publication, and performed other research and editing tasks.

Even in his free time, Patrick is engaged with international affairs issues. Although he also likes to spend time outdoors with family or friends playing soccer, tennis, swimming, volley ball, hiking, he often finds that he spends his leisure time “reading a book on literature, international relations, international law, espionage, counterintelligence, diplomacy, war strategy, history (Roman Empire, Napoleonic Wars, and World War I & II), or philosophy.”

The IWP experience

With all of his previous international affairs experience, the IWP experience has not been redundant for Patrick. He feels that: “[My studies at IWP have] made me competitive – they gave me an edge. In addition, with the breadth and depth of knowledge I have acquired in this one semester at IWP, I feel more confident and competent in analyzing and talking about national security issues.”

Patrick has been described by one of his professors as “a young man who works extremely hard and one of my prized students.” Patrick came to the Institute with the following goals and expectations:

“I wanted to explore my intellectual passions, connect and network, and gather specialized knowledge from experts and practitioners in the security and policy areas. Connecting with people is something that gives me strength. Whenever I enroll in a class, I always make sure to get to know my fellow students. In just one semester at IWP, I have grown in terms of who I am and what type of person I want to be.”

Patrick’s interests lie in the field of counterintelligence. One of his favorite classes at IWP has been Case Studies in Counterintelligence Operations with Prof. Brian Kelley – a class that, for Patrick, “fits seamlessly into my long-term career goals.” He observes:

“Prof. Brian Kelley’s dedication as a teacher inspired me to worker harder. I looked forward coming to class every week because I knew I was going to learn from a professor who loves what he is teaching and who knows what he is talking about. I learned something new each day of class. I gained a large amount of knowledge and appreciation for the history of counterintelligence and public service in the US. Prof. Kelley provides more than adequate opportunity for students to excel in his class by allowing students to participate more often and integrating video clips and field trips into the course. Overall, I came into Prof. Kelley’s class having little knowledge of CI. Now I can’t stop telling my friends about CI.”

Defending our nation

Patrick will soon be defending his country through his professional life. He will begin to work full time in the national security field for two different U.S. government agencies mid-February. Patrick plans to graduate in May 2011 with a Certificate in Intelligence.