#WeAreElliott: Lydia Kiros

#WeAreElliott: Lydia Kiros

Lydia Kiros smiles wearing a tan blouse, standing on a mountainous terrain overlooking Lake Chamo in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. Lydia Kiros, M.A. in International Affairs, 2024, #WeAreElliott

Lydia Kiros is a first-year Masters candidate in the M.A. in International Affairs Program at the Elliott School. She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Pepperdine University. She has an interest in sustainable development and gender equality with a focus in East Africa. Lydia has a diverse working experience ranging from working with international airlines to working in the education sector. In the past she has also contributed weekly blog posts to Amplify Africa on topics relating to African affairs. She hopes to utilize her breadth of experiences in a future career empowering local development in Ethiopia. Lydia enjoys traveling, catching sunsets, and enjoying a cup of coffee in a local coffeeshop.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you pick the Elliott School?

I have always had a love for global affairs, cultures, and languages. I find great joy in travel, experiencing new parts of the world, and immersing myself other cultures. In particular it was my travels to Ethiopia which inspired to me to pursue a career in international affairs so that I could one day work to further development in the country. Since I am transitioning into this field, the route that made the most sense to accomplish this goal was to obtain an education in international affairs and development. So, I decided to apply for my M.A. in International Affairs at George Washington University. I was particularly drawn to the Elliott School because of its prime location in Washington D.C., its faculty who are active in their respective fields, and its Institute for African Studies.

How has your involvement with student organizations shaped your experience at the Elliott School?

It’s been very helpful to have student organizations available with amazing resources and connections for students. I really valued the opportunity I had to go on a site visit of Chemonics, an international development consultancy firm, with Young Black Professionals in International Affairs. It provided me with a unique pathway to learn more about the organization and connect with leading professionals. Events like these are also a great way to connect with other students with similar interests.

Where do you currently work and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I currently work as a substitute teacher and I hope to incorporate my experience in education to improving educational development in East Africa. In five years, I hope to be working in sustainable development in Ethiopia. In particular I would love to work with women to foster economic empowerment and local development, and improve educational access to youth.

Think of where you were when you applied to the Elliott School. What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now, as a student?

If you are leaning on the fence about starting a new (and maybe scary) chapter in your life, lean all the way over. Yes, there are challenges, obstacles, and learning curves, but you learn so much more in the times of discomfort and change. What you learn and the experiences you gain are worth taking the leap of faith into something new, invigorating and inspiring.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at the Elliott School?

I have been learning a lot about disasters and gender intersectionality which is an entirely new field to me. However, it has helped me to view global and local events in a new light that is sensitive to gender dynamics and the impacts to well-being. I am excited to apply this knowledge and the research skills I’m learning in the field one day.

What is your favorite place in DC to enjoy reading a book or sipping a cup of coffee?

The Coffee Bar is one of my favorite spots in DC to enjoy coffee. It’s nestled in a cozy neighborhood in NW DC and has a very warm environment. Their outdoor seating is beautiful place to sit on a warm day!

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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, 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.