Alumni Spotlight: Saadi Bualaq

Photo Credit: Saddi Bualaq
Photo Credit: Saddi Bualaq
Tue, 10/19/2021 - 15:43

Major: Global studies
Minors: Political science, human rights and humanitarian affairs
Graduation date: May '21

What were some of your favorite memories of being at UNL and majoring in Global Studies?
My favorite memories of being at UNL were all the connections I made in Lincoln, Nebraska. Growing up in Lincoln, I didn't imagine that I'd be getting exposed to so much diversity from people around the country, let alone the world.

My favorite memory of majoring in Global Studies was my senior capstone class, it was the first time I took on such a large project that required lots of planning, and research. The exploration activities that were done in the course also helped me decide that grad school was the best option for me.

Involvement

  • On-campus, I was a part of the UNL African Student Association, as a student of Chadian descent, the association helped promote solidarity among students of African descent. We upheld the dignity of Africa and its people, combatted the forces of racial and human degradation, and encouraged cultural, economic, and technological cooperation between the people of Africa and the rest of the world. We also created events that helped promote those values and different perspectives to the UNL community.
  • Off-campus, I was privileged in interning for US Citizenship and Immigration Services for a year. It gave me a first-person perspective on how a large agency of the federal government operated, and what it meant to be a public servant. It helped to solidify my desire to work in the Civil/Foreign Service after finishing school.

What have you been up to since graduation?
After graduating in May 2021, I immediately went to grad school to do my Master's in International Affairs: US Foreign Policy and National Security at American University's School of International Service (AU SIS) in Washington, D.C. AU SIS was one of my dream programs, and it is a privilege to be attending an institution like AU SIS. I think the most interesting thing about applying the grad school was the intricacies of the application and the competitiveness of the programs. Especially during the pandemic, many of the top institutions were competing to get the top students. I found it interesting how that all played out. In the end, I made the right choice.

I'm also interning at the U.S. Department of State (DoS) at the Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources (R/PPR) under the scope of Public Diplomacy (PD). There, I've been working on projects that help focus on communicating US Foreign Policy (USFP) goals towards foreign audiences (obviously non-sensitive stuff). Things like American exceptionalism, democratic methods/institutions, etc. I've also been working on SOPs for U.S. Embassies on the uses of technology for PD that won't compromise national security. Last, I've been working on making memos for the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) on the uses of those technologies and how they help meet our specific USFP goals.

What is your advice for current global studies majors who aren't sure what to do after they graduate?
Whether you decide to go work, take a gap year, go grad school, or go to law school, take your time in making the decision and weigh your options. It's really important not to rush yourself, at the same time, it's really important not to wait too, because before you know it you'll be walking down the stage to get your degree without having a plan. Reach out to a friend, mentor, parent, professor, or alumni and ask for advice if need be. Take full advantage of the options presented in the senior capstone course.