#WeAreElliott: Nazrawith Tibebu

#WeAreElliott: Nazrawith Tibebu

Nazrawith Tibebu smiles, wearing a beige fur coat with a patterned neck scarf and a white head scarf. Nazrawith Tibebu, M.A. in International Development Studies, 2024

Nazrawith “Nazri” Tibebu is a first-year master’s student in the International Development Studies program at the Elliott School and plans to concentrate on Gender and Conflict. She received her bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and Peace, War, and Defense with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021. Nazrawith is originally from Ethiopia, speaks Amharic fluently, and is conversational in Turkish. Her area of interest is in the Middle East and Africa. She is particularly interested in working on refugees and gender and equality. This past summer, Nazrawith received the ARIT Summer Fellowship to study Advanced Turkish Language in Istanbul, Türkiye. She hopes to use her language skills in her future job opportunities. Nazrawith loves traveling, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures.

When did you realize you wanted an international career? What led you to choose the Elliott School?

Being originally from Ethiopia, a country in transition in its development progress, I always have been interested in this area. In high school, I was officially introduced to global issues and real-world problems through books and talking to experts. I took Global Issues and Systems and Global Cultures and Minorities classes taught by a wonderful teacher, Matt Cone, in Carrboro, NC. The books and the discussion we had in class were very enriching, and I got interested in this area and wanted to learn more and make an impact. Moreover, my dad is also in this field, and hearing about his work and field trips have impacted my childhood and sparked an interest in me. I choose the Elliott School because of its diverse and renowned professors and their rich experience in the field. In addition, it allows me to engage with students passionate about making a difference and bringing about positive change in the world.

Where would you like to be, career wise, 5 years from now?

In 5 years, I would like to see myself working for an international organization working on gender related work. My goal is to use the skills and knowledge I gained in graduate school and beyond to make impact in the real world. I hope to work on projects that will make impact in mitigating gender-based violence and addressing challenges refugees are facing.

Describe the pros and cons of being a full-time/part-time student at the Elliott School (balancing classes, work, internships, social life, etc.)

I am enjoying my time at the Elliott School as a full-time student. I think the benefit of being a full-time student is to be able to take more classes in a semester that might complement each other and find the correlation between them. Also, the Elliott school offers classes in the evening, so it is accommodating of people who have work to be able to take classes at convenient times.

What advice do you have for incoming students who are starting to think about internship and work opportunities?

My advice for incoming students is to connect with people and network as much as possible. When you meet people, you will find out about an organization, program, or project that you might be interested in or one that you never knew existed. Another thing is don’t get discouraged by the number of applications you submit and don’t hear back or interview you get and don’t get an offer. Take it as a learning experience and continue applying because it will happen one day. Also, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. It is an interesting space, but sometimes you can connect with hiring managers/HR people and learn about new job opportunities as soon as they are posted.

What are 3 books everyone should read and why?

Born a Crime is written by Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, writer, television host. It is a fascinating story from Trevor’s life growing up in the final years of South Africa’s apartheid. It is filled with intriguing, funny, sad and uplifting stories of his childhood. It is also a celebration of the women in his life, especially his mom. Her bravery, spirit, and resilience in tough times is inspiring.

10 Minutes 38 seconds in This Strange World is written by Elif Şafak a Turkish-British novelist. It is a powerful novel about a sex worker in Istanbul in the first minutes following her death. This is a great novel and a story that dives deep into social issues that affect women, sex workers, and more. I enjoyed it a lot because it also touches on friendship and acceptance.

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze is written by Maaza Mengiste, an Ethiopian-American author. It is wonderful novel about a family in Ethiopia in the wake of the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974. It is an extraordinary book that tells the stories of many Ethiopians through the powerful characters Maaza assembles. I loved it because it is a history that is not explored as much and a time I enjoyed learning about.

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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.