Student Success

Green School faculty, Advisory Council members share advice with new M.A. in Global Affairs students

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By Maria Gil

Every year, students starting in the Master of Arts in Global Affairs program are welcomed to the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs with a dinner and reception. This year, the new students also got to learn from successful professionals who shared their sage advice with these budding leaders during a panel conversation at the dinner.

The panel featured professors David J. Kramer , former senior director for Human Rights and Democracy at the McCain Institute for International Leadership and now a senior fellow for the Green School's Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy , and Carleen Vincent , the associate chair for the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice . Among the panelists were also two members of the Green School Dean's Advisory Council : Ed Glab , professor and founding director of the Green School's Global Energy and Sustainability Forum , and the Honorable Maria Elena Toraño , a former member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy.

Shlomi Dinar , director of the M.A. in Global Affairs program and associate dean of the Green School's Office of Graduate Studies and Innovation, who moderated the discussion, asked the speakers to share their journey, how they reached success and tips for students beginning the program.

The panelists' key take-away point was to keep a broad mindset and not be afraid to deviate from set life plans.

“Don't look back, always look ahead. And keep your mind open to possibilities,” said Kramer.

Speaking from experience, Glab said taking advantage of opportunities that might not seem to pertain to your field sometimes leads to even bigger opportunities.

After earning his doctoral degree in political science, Glab stepped outside of his comfort zone and landed a job at ExxonMobil, the oil and gas company. The unexpected opportunity allowed him to grow as a professional and resulted in his working in public affairs for the company for more than 25 years.

“This is a program of service,” said Glab. “You need to be prepared to grasp the opportunity and do not be afraid to fail and keep going.”

According to Toraño, who was the founding chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Institute, leadership and empathy are the two essential skills necessary for success.

“Leadership applies to everything, even space,” said Toraño. “Also, know a little about everything. That way, you fit in anywhere.”

The professional M.A. in Global Affairs program is committed to educating and creating leaders.

The two-year program offers tracks in global risk and corporate responsibility; globalization and security; and an online international crime and justice track.

The M.A. in Global Affairs program was recently named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 40 programs in the world for policy careers in international relations.

“Our mission at the Green School is to encourage and develop leaders who will make the world a more just, peaceful, and prosperous place,” said John F. Stack, Jr. , founding dean of the Green School. “You are all here tonight because you are committed to excellence, to learning and to making a difference in the world. And that is what will propel all of you to accomplish incredible things while you are here.”

To learn more about the M.A. in Global Affairs program, visit