Summer Beames (Lower Sixth), who is one of our Academic Scholars, took part in an International Affairs Forum earlier this week. She reflects on the experience below:
‘Taking part in the Career in International Affairs Forum hosted by the Global Diplomatic Forum was a superb opportunity and I would highly recommend it to other students with an interest in this field. Over the course of the two-day virtual forum, there was discussion around a range of careers in politics, medicine, economics, humanities, foreign aid, communications and more. The speakers spent time de-bunking common misconceptions, such as the need to wine and dine your way into a career in diplomacy. The forum provided useful insights to those of us hoping to pursue a career in international affairs.
Ted Whiteside (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO) discussed the benefits of being a polyglot, with Arabic and Mandarin getting a special mention. There was also advice on job applications that can be universally applied. A number of the lectures highlighted the importance of volunteer work with NGOs, internships and youth programmes in gaining extra leverage on applications in the sector.
My favourite speaker was Christian Tanja from the Schwarzman Scholars – a programme for a fully-funded one-year Master’s program at the Tsinghua University of Beijing – which is designed to deepen mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world. It was also interesting to hear about the work of the British Council, who help provide English education across the world, but who also run creative enterprises such as dance shows, musical performances and workshops for those with disabilities worldwide. It was fascinating to gain insights from the wide range of organisations attending and contributing to the forum.
Whether you are looking to pursue an academic or creative career path, I highly recommend this forum. It expanded my knowledge of the current and future opportunities available, as well as giving me more accurate expectations of a career in international affairs.’