Moises Benhabib may have graduated from The Institute of World Politics only recently, but his career development has found solid foundations since well before his commencement.
After his honorable discharge from the Naval Reserve in 2011, he interned at the School Board of Miami-Dade County, The Republican National Committee, and the office of Senator Marco Rubio. However, his preparation for government employment had begun long before this.
During grade school, Moises’ favorite daytime television programs were to be found on C-SPAN. There were times when he would be glued to the screen in Miami, Florida as his mother scratched her head, wondering why any child would want to watch coverage of a Senate defense budget debate. Unbeknownst to either of them, this interest would serve him well years later, as he assisted a Presidential hopeful with his work in the Capitol.
Moises stated that his experience on Capitol Hill was enhanced by attendance at The Institute of World Politics: “The Intelligence and Policy course taught by Dr. Thomas allowed me to understand the issues that our intelligence officials would speak about in the Armed Services Committee. Furthermore, the Foreign Relations course taught by Dr. Fontaine aided me in writing any papers that I would submit to the aide I was assigned to.” On the Hill, he also found himself part of a network of IWP students and alumni who were working on similar issues.
Some of his most rewarding tasks during this internship included times when he was able to help veterans ensure accessibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thanks to his hard work in these capacities, Moises was able to land a position with the State Department soon after.
In reflecting on the role that the Institute has played in his development at the State Department, he remarked: “What IWP has really helped me with is to get in the mind of what a policy maker or senior official has to deal with on a day to day basis. Knowing that you are able to tailor information so that they are able to do their jobs with the timely, accurate information they need to make informed decisions is indispensable.”
He attributes this insight to his Professor S. John Tsagronis. Professor Tsagronis has held high-level positions in the U.S. government and is always sure to inform his students of the deluge of papers greeting a senior official every morning. If a subordinate has important information to communicate, he must be concise in his writings to ensure that the information will be digested accordingly. Students in his class are required to write mock national security memos in order to hone this skill.
Moises’ experience reflects the very backbone of an IWP education. The Institute is designed to provide students with the tools they need to improve the workings of the federal government. It is this practical approach to education that drew Moises to the school in the first place. It was the small class sizes and scholar-practitioner faculty that eventually “sealed the deal” in his search for a fitting graduate degree program. “You really can’t get that anywhere else,” Moises said.
The small class sizes and intimate IWP campus provide an ideal setting for networking with fellow students and reaching out to the faculty. This level of access facilitates the tight-knit network that is employed to great effect throughout the government at large. The school also fosters an environment of discussion between students of varying backgrounds. Recent graduates, entry-level professionals, mid-career professionals, and even senior level employees all can be found in the various classes offered.
Moises has earned a Master of the Arts degree in Statecraft and National Security Affairs in May of this year. He has set the bar high in his pursuit of success and hopes to hold a position in the next executive administration. He has even entertained the thought of eventually running for office. He signs off his emails with a motto learned in the Navy: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” This attitude perfectly describes his exuberant personality and relentless work ethic. When he is not striving towards his goals, he may be found scuba diving, white water rafting, shooting, traveling, or courting his enthusiasm for fast cars and motorcycles.
He is the latest in a cadre of alumni whose character and drive will positively affect the future of the nation.
Top photo: Robert P. George, IWP Chairman Owen Smith, Moises Benhabib, IWP President John Lenczowski.
Second photo: Moises with classmates at the IWP-Oxford Study Abroad Program.
Third Photo: Members of the Class of 2015.