The Virtual Student Foreign Service is full of internationally focused students such as myself. I had the pleasure of meeting one of my colleagues, Faris Alikhan, through the program. His work with the US Mission to NATO is very interesting, as it deals with Afghanistan. I invited Faris to guest blog about his project:
My friend, fellow intern, and crosstown college rival (Go Bruins!) Kate probably has been telling you about her internship with the U.S. Mission to NATO. Since September, both Katharine and I have been working with the State Department and the U.S. Mission to NATO on Public Diplomacy programs. Kate's focus is mainly on Europe, but mine is on another part of the world, one you might not immediately think of when you hear about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization--Afghanistan.
2001 was the first time NATO's Article 5 was invoked, and since then, NATO member nations including the U.S. and partners like Australia and Uzbekhistan have provided invaluable support to Afghan efforts to secure and rebuild Afghanistan. Unfortunately, beyond history lessons on the Cold War, quite a few people on both sides of the Atlantic are unaware of the vital role NATO plays in Afghanistan.
As part of my internship, I will be producing (along with directing, filming, editing, and being that "key grip" guy you always see in the credits) a video interviewing ordinary students here at UCLA (sorry USC). I hope that, by getting ordinary college students like myself interested in NATO's role in Afghanistan, I can show audiences on both sides of the Atlantic--and in Afghanistan--that ordinary college students care about the world around them. Hopefully, I'll be able to share the opinions of my fellow college students with their college counterparts at universities in other NATO member countries and in Afghanistan. I'd like Afghan audiences to see that American college students are committed to and care about, well, a world not their own.
I'll be finishing up my History degree at UCLA and graduating in June, but in the meantime I'll be filming and key-gripping my way through this video, and hopefully you'll all get to see it soon!