The Institute of World Politics continually emphasizes the need to understand and implement all of the instruments of statecraft in unison. Spencer Cresswell is a recent graduate who has not only studied this concept in the classroom, but has also had the opportunity to validate it in his work.
As a Program Officer at the Business Council for International Understanding, he has the unique task of “facilitating dialogue and action between business and government to promote international understanding.” He achieves this objective by helping international companies develop and maintain relationships with foreign and domestic officials important to their business operations, specifically those working in the defense and security sphere. A goal such as this is inherently tied to the numerous complications found in the crossroads of the public and private sector. To make matters even more challenging, international patterns and norms are also to be considered.
In reflecting on the nature of his work, Spencer remarked: “Our member companies regularly provide us with feedback citing how BCIU played a role in mitigating a problem, or in helping them secure new business. Hearing feedback such as this definitely is encouraging, and great motivation!”
Spencer found his interest in international trade and relations after amassing a host of experiences. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area exposed him to the cosmopolitan nature of our day. Training as an Officer Cadet in the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Galveston, Texas took him across the Pacific and back. He remarked, “While I enjoyed my time at sea immensely, I decided I wanted to have a career on land.” He graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Affairs concentrating in Europe.
After his undergraduate studies and starting work at BCIU, Spencer decided to enhance his skill set with a Master’s degree in his chosen field. “Without a doubt, I would say the concentration and prevalence of practitioners among the faculty, as opposed to career academics, attracted me to IWP.”
In breaking down how his education has helped him find his success, Spencer stated, “My studies at IWP really emphasized the entire diplomatic tool kit and gave me great exposure to all the different components of the U.S. government that deal with international affairs and trade. My work at BCIU has helped me further understand the importance of all these organizations’ roles in foreign policy and the importance of each agency working together in concert and unison. Not just with themselves, but also with U.S. businesses.”
Spencer’s body of knowledge is in high demand in many different fields of work. As his understanding grows from the roots of his experience and education, Spencer hopes to leverage this information to facilitate business interactions in a host of different areas. When asked about his goals for the future, Spencer stated, “I am very happy where I am at BCIU. Eventually, I would like to start my own political risk consulting firm.”