#IncomingElliott: Benjamin Souza

#IncomingElliott: Benjamin Souza

Benjamin Souza is from Billerica Massachusetts, just 30 minutes outside of Boston. He studied political science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a concentration in international relations and a minor in history. While at Lowell, Benjamin was President and Teaching Assistant for the university’s Model UN team, competing internationally in Europe. Ben also has held an internship at the Washington, DC based think tank, The National Interest Foundation, where he focused on humanitarian law and international security. Benjamin is a published writer at the NIF and is now working as a contributing writer for the institution.

What has been your most rewarding academic or professional experience so far?

Traveling with the model UN team at Umass Lowell. We attended conferences in Belgium and Scotland, meeting students from around the world and learning to solve the most pressing problems the global community has and currently does face. I held leadership positions as TA and president teaching my class and ensuring we all traced safely and enjoyed our time. Not only learning the academic knowledge in international relations, the Model UN team taught me a multitude of personal and life skills to use in my career as well as everyday life.

What made you interested in the M.A. in Security Policy Studies (SPS)?

The SPS program at GW provides me with not only connections due to the location and faculty but also the perfect course of study for my areas of interest. With concrete teachings in the world of international affairs and national security, it offers courses tailored towards my career path. Classes such as rules of engagement are integral to a fundamental understanding of international affairs, which the SPS program will teach me.

If you could be a paid intern anywhere in DC during your program, where would you want to intern and why?

I would intern at USAID. Their work in ensuring the U.S. provides aid to struggling areas is one I personally feel a calling to. Using my national security background I would tie in my philosophy that aid is integral to U.S. national security at home and abroad to the mission of USAID. The work would feel rewarding and offer further connections across the US foreign policy apparatus as well as other nations.  The internship would be more than just an internship to put on my resume; it would be my calling.

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

I chose the Elliott school due to the many connections the college gives and its worldwide reputation as an elite International Relations school. The school’s location allows me to be in the heart of DC where I can become increasingly exposed to the work of the national security apparatus. The Elliott School’s commitment to learning with a purpose with the goal to train professionals is one I personally felt made the school a perfect fit for me. It’s more than just an elite education, it is career development.

What famous person do you hope to run into in DC and why?

If I can run into one famous person, it would be John Kerry. I have followed his work as the climate Czar, Secretary of State, and senator from Massachusetts closely. My professor and mentor at Umass worked on his campaign for POTUS in 2004 and he was always a politician my family has admired. The JCPOA, although now the future of it is uncertain, was a monumental international deal, which holds its place in diplomatic history as a fundamental lesson in getting hostile sides to the negotiating table. I have always looked up to his work in public service therefore the opportunity to run into him would be exciting. 

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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.