Opportunities Outside the Classroom

The Edward R. Murrow program is an exchange program administered by the U.S. Department of State. The “Fellows” are international journalists selected by the U.S. Department of State for a three-week exchange here in the United States. This year’s participants hailed from Central and South East Asia—from places like Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, and more. The point is to expose these international journalists to the important role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democracy.

But the State Department can’t do this alone. So the department partners with leading schools of journalism and international relations to host the participants.

Fellows, administrators, and interns pose for a group picture at the farewell dinner. Photo by Jay Poudyal.
Fellows, administrators, interns, and PD students pose for a group picture at the farewell dinner. Photo by Jay Poudyal.

Enter: the Newhouse and Maxwell Schools.

Last week, Maxwell and Newhouse hosted the Edward R. Murrow Fellows here in Syracuse. As a Public Diplomacy (MAIR/MS PR) student and journalism nerd, this was a dream come true. Public Diplomacy professionals, at our core, are relationship builders. PD is a field based on two-way communication with the goal of promoting understanding and positive sentiment for the future. Hosting the Fellows in Syracuse was PD in action.

The only reason I was able to get involved with the Fellows is because of the opportunities afforded to me by the Maxwell and Newhouse schools. Maxwell houses the National Security Studies program, the Syracuse office with which the Fellows have the most interaction and where I am an intern. As an intern, I was able to assist in the execution of this program while still putting my studies first.

Journalists in ponchos--Fellows bused from Syracuse to Niagara Falls! Photo by Dhanushka Ramanayake.
Journalists in ponchos! Fellows travelled from Syracuse to Niagara Falls. Photo by Dhanushka Ramanayake.

Maxwell and Newhouse made sure that all PD students—interns or not—were involved in the visit, inviting us to dinners and workshops. We PD students were able to see first hand the direct impact our exchanges have on foreign publics and on the United States. Not only have these exchanges affected our world-views, but they have also allowed us to forge lasting relationships with foreign professionals that will undoubtedly extend into the future.

As cool and unique as this opportunity was, things like this are a common occurrence for a graduate student here at Syracuse.

So you want a Masters of Public Administration.

On the first day of Public Administration and Democracy, Professor Tina Nabatchi asked us students, “What is Public Administration?” The only thing you heard in the room was the humming of the AC as no one had a quick and definite answer to her question. As I approach the end of the semester, let us take the time to reflect on what I have learned about Public Administration and what this degree consists of!

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“So you want to change the world?”

Without hesitation, the answer to that grand question above is “Yes”.

But where could I learn how to do that? 119 days and counting, every day at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is affirmation that this is the best place to learn how to change the world for the better.

The Journey to Maxwell

A few months ago, I was a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago and newly engaged. My fiancé and I were feeling great about our chances to live and work in Chicago; yet, that plan vanished after nothing worked out like we planned.

Thankfully, we both applied to graduate school. While we weren’t able to attend the same university, we both could graduate within one-year. Believing in one another, we agreed to live apart for one-year as we both furthered our education and career opportunities.

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