Hello everyone, I am Karli and I am EPIC’s new spring intern. I have a Master’s degree in International Relations from Webster University’s Global Master of Arts program and a Bachelor’s in Political Science.
My interest in Middle Eastern policy began while I was studying abroad. When I moved to London to study at Regent’s University in 2010, I was planning on studying Shakespeare and finally getting my political economy requirement so I could graduate. A class I took on a lark would however ignite my desire to know more about Iraq. While this class was called Politics in the Middle East, the focus was largely on the history of Iraq and how their past has led to their present. We talked about the importance of the region to the world and how Iraq’s relationship with its neighbors had allowed the region to grow but also weaken under the pressure of conflicting ideologies.
Throughout my graduate studies, my focus was concentrated on the reconstruction of countries that had dipped into troubled times, be it from natural disasters, war, religious tensions, or economic downturns. Iraq was an obvious topic to study. I often wrote about Iraq and how its relationship with its neighbors had impacted its course in history. Iraq was a case study I looked at to see how outside factors and internal conflicts had led it to where it was now. It wasn’t until speaking to a friend that was serving in the military in the region that I began to look at the problems in Iraq as more than academic.
A friend from home had just begun his second deployment in Iraq and he would tell me the changes that had occurred between his first time in the country and his second. He talked about the human side of the matter and it made me think about what I wanted to do with what I was learning. These conversations played a part in my decision to shift to policy initiatives in struggling countries. My hope is that that one day struggling countries will be able to safeguard themselves against outbreaks of violence and conflict so that the suffering can hopefully one day end.