Congratulations to Chaniqua D. Nelson – 2020 recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies

The Walter Roberts Endowment and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) is proud to congratulate Chaniqua D. Nelson for being the recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies for 2020.

In Tokyo

Each year, the Walter Roberts Endowment grants $1,000 to a GW graduate student who shows exemplary performance in public diplomacy studies, and has aspirations for a future career in this field. Ms. Nelson, a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellow, shared that she had always wanted a job that involved building relationships between the United States and other countries. After her commencement, Ms. Nelson will launch her career as a Public Diplomacy Officer with the U.S. Department of State.

Here’s a short interview with our 2020 Walter Roberts PD Studies award recipient:

What experiences motivated/ inspired you to choose this career path?

In 2012, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). That volunteer opportunity led me to meet some amazing Foreign Service Officers who were working to assist the next generation of African Leaders. I remember interacting with both YALI participants and U.S. Foreign Service Officers at a reception hosted at the Meridian International Center, thinking: ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life’ – assisting with expanding and strengthening the relationship between the United States and other countries. Later, I had lunch with the Diplomat-in-Residence at the time, Ambassador Eunice Reddick. She shared her story with me, of what led her to the Foreign Service and encouraged me to take the Foreign Service Officer Test and apply to the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship. It took a couple of years after my encounter with Ambassador Reddick, to decide on pursuing a career in the Foreign Service. I honestly thought that I didn’t have what it takes to be a Foreign Service Officer – I didn’t know a lot of foreign languages and I didn’t participate in prestigious fellowships/scholarship programs like the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program or the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. However, it wasn’t until I participated in the Overseas Development Program for civil servants at the Department of State, where I served as an office management specialist in the Public Affairs Section at U.S. Embassy Beijing, that I realized that I could do this as well. I was extremely fortunate to have supervisors who cared about my development. So, when I got the courage to ask Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs Lisa Heller and the now Director of the Office of International Visitors Program Anne Grimes to write me a recommendation for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, both immediately said yes. I am extremely thankful to Ambassador Reddick, Minister-Counselor Lisa Heller, Director Anne Grimes, and a long list of others for their encouragement. Their belief and support had inspired me to apply for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship and attend the George Washington University!

What have you enjoyed about your graduate studies at GW?

I have enjoyed learning about the intricacies of public diplomacy on a micro and macro level. What is special about the George Washington University, in particular the Global Communication program, is its ability to merge theory with practice. In Dr. Patricia Kabra’s Public Diplomacy class, we did everything a public diplomacy practitioner would do including writing speeches, press simulations, and developing a public diplomacy strategy for our embassy. In addition, I have also enjoyed learning about becoming a more compassionate and effective leader through my elective courses at the Department of Management within the School of Business.

What will you be doing after graduation?

After graduation, I will join the Foreign Service as a Public Diplomacy Officer. As of right now, I am unsure where I will be stationed. However, I am excited to explain U.S. history, cultures, and values to foreign audiences and promote educational and culture exchange abroad.

Support #publicdiplomacy

Dear Friend,

Thirteen years ago, the Walter Roberts Endowment was established with generous contributions from Dr. Roberts and the Roberts family. The Endowment was to ensure continued support for public diplomacy through higher learning and research, recognition of leadership and shared best PD practices.

The Endowment has assisted in funding activities of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) at the George Washington University.

The Annual Walter Roberts Lecture for 2020 will feature Dr. Joseph S. Nye, who, 30 years ago, originated the term “soft power” in describing the persuasive approach in U.S. foreign policy. The Lecture will be held on January 30, 2020, at the Elliott School for International Affairs.

The Endowment continues to support IPDGC’s Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy, which honors members of Congress who have been consistently supportive of public diplomacy throughout their careers. These awards support public diplomacy micro-projects in institutions situated in the member’s state or congressional district.

The Endowment also encourages GW graduate students to excel in public diplomacy studies. Hence, to move ahead, we are trying to increase the size of the Endowment to allow us to provide grants to graduate students who could not otherwise afford to study public diplomacy at GW.

We encourage you to join with the Roberts family in continuing to support the vital public diplomacy outreach work that the Endowment underwrites.

2018: Laura Brendle

Laura Brendle, 2018.

Each year, the Walter Roberts Endowment grants one student in the Global Communication M.A. program $1,500 for accomplishments in public diplomacy-related work and future career aspirations in the field of public diplomacy.

This year, the Endowment is thrilled to award Laura Brendle as the recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies! A second prize of $500 was awarded to Riker Pasterkiewicz.

Laura’s plans post-graduation is to continue her work in communications in the D.C. area. While at GW, Laura was the program assistant at IPDGC.  She previously worked in the United Kingdom as a freelance producer and production manager, where she produced a number of award-winning short films. Laura earned a BA in film production at the Arts University Bournemouth.

Riker Pasterkiewicz, 2018.

Riker is with the non-profit New America, as the senior communications associate for the International Reporting Project, and has also worked at the U.S. Department of State in strategic communication and public-private partnership management in Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

His master’s degree in Global Communication had a focus on international marketing and public affairs management.

Laura and Riker join the distinguished group of Global Communication alumni who put into practice the teachings they received in public diplomacy while at GW and in their careers as public diplomacy professionals.

2017: Alison Bartel

Alison Bartel, 2017.

Each year, the Walter Roberts Endowment grants one student in the Global Communication M.A. program $1,500 for accomplishments in public diplomacy-related work and future career aspirations in the field of public diplomacy. This year, the Endowment is pleased to award Alison Bartel, a second-year student, as the recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies! A second prize of $500 was awarded to Twila Tschan.

Twila Tschan, 2017.

Alison and Twila join a distinguished cadre of Global Communication alumnae who emulate the teachings they received in public diplomacy while at GW and in their careers as public diplomacy professionals. A Masters graduate in the Global Communications program, Alison is also a Program Associate and Digital Media Team Leader at Meridian International Center, where she plans and implements U.S. State Department professional exchange programs. Career highlights for her include groups in the United States focused on issues of refugee resettlement, ending gender-based violence, and media freedom. In the future, she plans to continue her efforts to build bridges between the US and Asia in both the private and public sectors. In addition to her Masters in Global Communication, Twila serves full-time as the Communications Coordinator at PeaceTech Lab, a nonpro t that works for individuals and communities affected by conflict, using technology, media, and data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts.

The other recipients of this award are:

2016: John Melville

John Melville, 2016.

John Melville is the 2016 recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies. A second year Master’s student in the Global Communications program, he also works as the speechwriter to the Ambassador at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea where he helps communicate, advocate, and explain South Korean policies to American audiences.                                                   

John’s interest in public diplomacy stems from his background in both strategic communications and working with international audiences. Before his job at the Embassy, John worked at a speechwriting firm and as an English teacher in South Korea, where he quickly learned the importance of understanding foreign perspectives when communicating cross-culturally. His coursework at GW has strengthened both his theoretical understanding of issues in Public Diplomacy and his practical skills in cross-cultural persuasion.

 

After graduation, he hopes to either become a Public Diplomacy Officer in the US Department of State or continue his career in international speechwriting and strategic communications.

The other recipients of this award are:

2015: Iris Froeba

Iris Froeba, 2015.

Iris Froeba is the 2015 recipient of the Walter Roberts Award for Public Diplomacy Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Global Communication with a focus on Public Diplomacy at George Washington’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Taking classes at night allows her to work as Program Manager for the Transatlantic Dialogue Program of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom during the day.

Originally from Germany, Iris moved to Washington, DC in 2011. She discovered her love for the United States, intercultural exchange and transatlantic relations during her year as an au pair in Washington. Based on her experiences abroad, she decided to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Intercultural Management at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. In addition, she spent a semester abroad in Spain on the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program and gained substantial work experience in the field of public diplomacy with her internships at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main, the American Institute of Contemporary German Studies, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

 

Upon her graduation, Iris plans on taking the Foreign Service Office test in her native Germany.

The other recipients of this award are:

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