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Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Applicatipn Statement of Purpose, Foreign Service Officer, Diplomacy, Middle East

Energy policies and competition for energy sources have resulted in climate change and great bloodshed worldwide. The demands of the growing global population and the repercussions of climate change will present major challenges to the United States and international community with respect to the way in which climate change informs economics both domestically and internationally.  My expertise and background in the energy sector can contribute to finding solutions to global issues, motivating me to realize my central professional dream of joining the Foreign Service.  I believe that I am well poised to excel in this critical area of global public service, and the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship will allow me to fulfill my potential to serve my country in a meaningful way. My father, my principal hero and personal role model, worked for the World Health Organization in countries such as Congo, Zimbabwe and South Africa. During these years, I was exposed to diverse peoples and cultures. This cemented my interest in international affairs and helped me to develop a global perspective and identity very early on.

Since I have been living in the US, my life has read like a blueprint for the American Dream for an African immigrant; but I feel unfulfilled in my career. Frankly, I initially chose to study Accounting rather than International Affairs because, as an African man, I felt compelled by my circumstances to put a priority on economic security. However, my true passion lies in International Affairs so I seek further academic and professional growth that would prepare me for a career change so that I will be well trained for a career in Foreign Service as a result of being awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship.

I grew up in Ghana, and have been in the USA now for 14 of my 29 years. As an accountant with a Master’s Degree, I work as an Accounts Examiner with the Connecticut Department of Energy and also serve as an advocate for citizens. I have also worked as an Auditor with the New York State Department of Health and at the US Department of Health and Human Services. It has been my position with the Connecticut Department of Energy, however, that has proven to be the most formative for my career direction, since I gained experience in the areas of sustainability and clean energy, among the most pressing issues in international politics and global affairs. I also gained crucial writing and quantitative skills by drafting interrogatories, briefs and memos, and also analyzed natural gas trading portfolios.  I have also assisted in conducting cross-examination of company witnesses on financial exhibits submitted in cases.

My principal interests lie in energy policy and negotiations, global electricity markets, the politics of water, and issues of sustainability. I am also very much engaged with the literature on conflict resolution, inspired by the fact that I witnessed a little bit of the Congo war first hand in the 90’s.  Government resistance to relinquish power due to the discovery of oil reserves led to the conflict in the Congo. Conflicts involving energy, environment and resource security in the 21st century including demand for greater energy supplies will only increase. The lack of clean water globally will lead to conflicts over access and challenges as well as opportunities related to efforts to the conservation of water. I am very interested in dealing with energy policies around the world, creating equitable trade deals and contributing to the creation of a less conflictive world. I look forward to an intense immersion experience in the history and practice of U.S Diplomacy in Africa and the Middle East, in particular, and the role of the United States in conflict resolution and clean energy promotion.

I have already taken the Foreign Service Officer Test in preparation for my career in this area. Being awarded the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship will enable me to pursue my foremost passion as an aspiring Economic Officer, to give me a platform from which to help promote national security through economic security.

I thank you for considering my application.