Future diplomat and Baruch alumna Andreea Ursu (’05) was selected as a recipient of a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship. The two-year fellowship covers the cost of her masters degree program in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and ultimately leads to her dream job as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State.
Ursu is among 20 awardees of the nationally competitive fellowship, which begins in May 2008. She will participate in two internships, one on Capitol Hill, and the second at a U.S. embassy overseas. Fellows are mentored by Foreign Service Officers during the program’s duration, and agree to a minimum of three years service in the State Department upon graduation.
Through various internship and study abroad programs as a Baruch undergraduate, Ursu has been to Italy, China, Egypt, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The former corporate communications major was one of the College’s first Colin Powell Fellows in 2004, and currently works as an economic policy program assistant for the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., a hybrid think tank-foundation, on a project led by former U.S Congressman Jim Kolbe that seeks to make economic aid more effective in sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world.
An admitted economic policy wonk with a love for travel, Ursu was a co-founder of the Baruch campus chapter of AISEC, the international study abroad collegiate organization, and credits mentors in the College’s Weissman School of Arts & Sciences with helping her find her calling.
“There are so many wonderful people at Baruch that help students find unusual career paths and opportunities,” Ursu notes.
Ursu’s internship experience as a Colin Powell Fellow crystallized her burgeoning desire for a career in foreign affairs and deepened her understanding of the vital link between democracy and economic stability. At State Department headquarters in Washington, DC she assisted in civil society outreach efforts for Iraq, participating in interagency meetings on political affairs and economic development with the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Witnessing tangible results of policy initiatives cemented her fascination with diplomacy and love for the region.
Administered through the College’s Weissman Center for International Business, the Colin Powell Fellowship in International Diplomacy is a summer internship program that enables two Baruch undergraduate students with a strong interest in serving the United States to work for the Department of State either at home or abroad. The program was founded by Baruch alumnus, Carl Spielvogel, who served as the United States Ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2000-2001, and has awarded fellowships t nine students so far.
Ursu’s belief that democracy can only flourish in a stable economic environment stems from firsthand experience with just the opposite. Her family fled the Communist regime of their native Romania during the revolution in the late 80s, escaping as political refugees to New York when she was eight years old. Although her parents were engineers and relatively well-off in their homeland, “There was no opportunity for economic empowerment or entrepreneurship,” she explains. “We had money, but couldn’t do anything with it.”
She hopes to continue working on economic policy issues affecting the Middle East and North Africa, although her foreign service duties may take her elsewhere. “I may end up in Russia, there’s no way of knowing,” she explains. “I will serve wherever my country needs me.” Regardless of location, Ursu plans to continue examining how private sector development and economic efforts, including free trade agreements, can complement U.S. foreign policy interests and enhance relationships with people around the globe.
For more information on study abroad opportunities available through Baruch’s Weissman Center for International Business, visit: http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/centers/weissman
For more information on the Rangel Fellowship, visit: http://www.howard.edu/rjb/rangelprogram_old.htm
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