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Building My Expertise on US Foreign Policy

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Pablo Solar
Master of Arts in Global Policy, '21

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?
A: I wanted to apply to SAIS for a long time, having heard about it among my colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and knowing several diplomats who attended the school. They always seemed to have excellent backgrounds and were particularly savvy in international politics. You could see a difference among diplomats who attended SAIS, in terms of profound expertise and a more analytical mindset. I wanted to acquire that kind of education myself. At SAIS, I found what I was looking for – a program that combines deep instruction in international relations theory with application and policy building. It also brought together people with a lot of experience working in different areas of international relations. When it came to deciding where I wanted to pursue a master’s degree, SAIS was the obvious answer.
Q: What were you doing prior to attending the school?
A: I have a background in psychology, and for about a year worked in the private sector – but then decided to move into international affairs. I applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile in 2012 to complete training to become a diplomat. I then worked at the Ministry in the Directorate of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. After that, I moved to my first position at the Chilean Embassy to Trinidad and Tobago, where I had a chance to work on different issues ranging from consulate affairs to political and economic affairs. I moved to Washington DC in 2019, where I’m currently working at the Embassy of Chile to the United States.
Q:  How do you see your education helping build your expertise and expand your network? 
A: I think the tools I’m receiving from the MAGP program at SAIS will help me to better understand the foreign policy of my own country and where we stand in the world arena. I want to contribute these tools to foreign policy building in Chile, tackling issues that are important for us in the multilateral and bilateral levels. Networking through SAIS has been helpful both in terms of learning from others in diverse areas of the field and offering contacts with whom I might again engage with at some point in my professional life. Our shared background from this academic experience will help us to understand one another’s views and approach to foreign policy.
Q: What has been one of your favorite classes at SAIS? 
A: One of my favorite classes has been Contemporary Issues in American Foreign Policy. The course was very interactive, involving current international political issues affecting the US and how they connect with and are relevant at different levels, including internal politics. It helped me to understand how US federal offices engaged with foreign policy work and communicate with one another, along with how they influence US foreign policy strategy. The class promoted engaging debate reflecting different positions on how to approach contemporary challenges.
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?
A: After graduating, I hope to put into practice the tools that the school has given me throughout this MAGP program. I plan to continue working for Chile, bringing with me an expanded knowledge and skillset in foreign policy theory and application. Specifically, I want to be more involved in policy building regarding environmental issues, along with energy and security.

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