Five Minutes with: Preeya Saikia


***A note from Ms. Saikia: All views expressed are my personal views and are not necessarily the views or the position of the Administration or the Government of the United States of America. Thank you.


1. You have been working in the Office of Management and Budget and we wonder, when you first applied to the PSM program, where did you imagine your degree would take you? 

I pursued an MPA at The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership because it was my understanding that in order to advocate powerfully on behalf of the public I needed to further my education.

When I applied to the PSM program, I was two years out of my undergraduate program, during which I spent some time working at a human rights advocacy firm in Cambodia. I was inspired to make this trip because by the time I had my diploma I decided that a career in the public sector or social services would best fit my values. My training in economics prepared me to approach problems analytically, but I wanted to learn how to approach problem solving through a macroscopic lens.

My MPA experience certainly added to my ability to think critically, but it also taught me how to evaluate policy ideas and articulate abstract concepts, and it provided me with ample practice to hone skills to work well on a team, which is fundamental to my job.

2. You’re living and working in DC during a time of great change. Can you tell us a little about what that means for your department and the work you do? Can you tell us a bit about where you hope your current experiences will take you in the future?
My immediate plans after this Administration are to look at career opportunities at the local and state government level, as well as management consulting for public and social sector clients.
Advertisements

There Is No Military Path to Victory in Afghanistan

afghanistan_0

By Professor Rajan Menon (originally written for the National Interest, 9/12/2016)

Few will say it, but the facts are indisputable: America’s war in Afghanistan has failed. There comes a time when persisting in a lost cause amounts to foolishness, indeed irresponsibility. That time has arrived.

Washington’s minimal goals were to vanquish the Taliban, root out Al Qaeda and build a stable, effective government whose army and police would eventually fight the Taliban independently and successfully while maintaining law and order across the land. These objectives have not been meet.

Continue reading

‘The last 100 days’: How a lame-duck Obama presidency might play out

Amid apparent snubs in Asia, Obama ‘doesn’t have any leverage’ left but can lay groundwork for Clinton

china-obama-g20

The following article was originally run by http://www.cbc.ca/; written by Matt Kwong, Reporter

Spare a thought for U.S. President Barack Obama. Being commander in chief isn’t what it used to be.

The past week saw him being cursed at by the leader of the Philippines, leaving empty-handed on a Syrian ceasefire deal with Russia, and apparently being snubbed by China in a lapse of protocol.

It’s hard to say when, over the course of his second term, Obama changed from lion of democracy abroad to a lame-duck head of state. To scholars on presidential powers, though, a level of perceived discourtesy afforded to him during last week’s G20 summit in Asia was the clearest sign yet that his global authority is waning.

Continue reading

On Graduation

If you’ve never been to a CCNY graduation, you should come.

All graduations are joyous events; all graduations affect transitions between years of preparation and a world rife with new possibilities.  And, I’ll admit that it’s been years since I’ve attended a graduation that did not take place on a CUNY campus—but I still think our graduations are different.

I think they’re different because they’re filled with young people rewriting their entire family history.  When you wander around after a Colin Powell School graduation ceremony, you’re surrounded by parents who’ve sent sons and daughters into a world they didn’t understand and couldn’t explain to their children.  For many it may feel like a huge gamble: will their children grow unfamiliar to them, alienated from home and culture? Will the embrace of an education build walls, or create ladders? Will a child’s opportunity be a family’s loss? Despite the risks and doubts, or perhaps because of them, students and families arrive at graduation day as to a new continent they never thought they’d reach.  The air is spiced with their joy.

Continue reading “On Graduation”

In Memory of Elie Wiesel: A Message from General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

From the Facebook Page of General Colin L. Powell, July 2, 2016:

Elie Wiesel, one of the greatest humanitarians of our time and a dear friend of mine has died. Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, brilliant author, conscience of the world lived by the code “to forget the dead is akin to killing them a second time.”

He also faithfully served on the Board of Visitors of the Colin Powell School at the City College of New York. He loved youngsters. He will be missed, but his spirit will live on.

Alma and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife Marion, son Elisha and their family.

 

 


 

To learn more about the life of Dr. Wiesel, please visit:

The Elie Wiesel Foundation

Five Questions: Russia’s Goals in Syria and Ukraine (repost from Carnegie Corporation of New York)

Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science, and the author of new book, The Conceit of Humanitiarian Intervention, recently spoke with Carnegie Corporation’s Eugene Scherbakov about recent Russian actions in Syria, the state of U.S.-Russia relations and the way forward in Ukraine.

What are Russia’s strategic intentions in Syria?

Putin intervened because he concluded—as did Iraq and Iran, which together with Hezbollah allies were already helping Syria’s army—that Assad’s state was on the verge of collapse. By the fall of 2015, the Islamist resistance—which is the strongest component of the opposition, not moderates and secularists—had made major inroads into Aleppo and Idlib province and had also begun to move into the coastal zone, the homeland of the ruling Alawite minority. Had Assad fallen, Syria, as Putin saw it, would have eventually been ruled by Islamists bent on creating a caliphate. This he was not prepared to let happen. The Syrian war has already attracted thousands of fighters from Russia’s war-torn North Caucasus, so the possibility of a caliphate in Syria had internal ramifications as well for Russia.

For the full interview, please visit: Carnegie Corporation: Five Questions

Have you seen A New Light in Harlem?

Do you know a young person who wants to be a leader in public service? Get access to world-class preparatory coursework and field experience without amassing piles of debt? Are you a scholar, educator, or community organizer looking to break down walls between the Academy and the surrounding community? Who knows that in order to find better answers to pressing questions of the 21st century, we need to hear more voices? Watch and learn more about the mission of the Colin Powell School—”A New Light in Harlem.”

Our original upload to YouTube got over 600 views in just a matter of days! We had to do a *tiny* bit of clean-up, so we uploaded a new version (click below).

The film features interviews with General Colin Powell, Dean Vince Boudreau, and faculty, students, alumni, and board members, spotlighting the amazing community we have up here on the City College campus.

Do you know a young person who wants to be a leader in public service? Get access to world-class preparatory coursework and field experience without amassing piles of debt?

Are you a scholar, educator, or community organizer looking to break down walls between the Academy and the surrounding community? Who knows that in order to find better answers to pressing questions of the 21st century, we need to hear more voices?

Watch and learn more about the mission of the Colin Powell School—”A New Light in Harlem.”

 

Meet Usha Pitts, Diplomat-in-Residence

m-usha-pitts

For just over a decade, the City College of New York has held a privileged position among New York-area universities by hosting the Diplomat in Residence (DIR). Sponsored by the Department of State, the DIR spends two years on campus imparting their specific knowledge and experience as foreign service officers to students interested in foreign or civil service jobs, as well as various fellowships and internships through the State Department.

In addition to meeting with students for one-on-one advising and hosting informational sessions in the NY region (CT, NY, NJ, PA), the DIR also teaches a masters level class on foreign diplomacy exclusively through the Colin Powell School’s International Relations program.

Meet Usha Pitts, our incoming DIR. Here she introduces herself to the CCNY community, talks a bit about her foreign service career, and her new role as Diplomat in Residence. Connect with her on Facebook to get updates on scholarship applications, appointment hours, and events in your area. Continue reading “Meet Usha Pitts, Diplomat-in-Residence”