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Sample SOP for the MA in Political Science, Israeli Fighter Pilot

It was winter 1991, the first Gulf war.  I was flying a F-15 fighter jet for 6-9 hours per day. My thoughts were keeping me awake during 1AM patrol missions, as I helplessly watched Russian-made ground missiles launched from Iraq penetrate the stratosphere, targeting our city centers in Israel. Now, in hindsight, I see how I was a small cog in a giant wheel of an ongoing and longstanding, multi-national political conflict, one that is still with us. At that time, I was a businessman and an ex-Deputy Squadron Commander called to active duty as a n emergency reservist in order to defend civilians against Iraqi attacks. Over the course of the last 26 years since 1991, the intensity of my introspection and examination of the multinational conflict surrounding the Israel-Palestinian issue, has grown exponentially and I have pursued in-depth studies of a broad number of political ramifications of this conflict.

Many of the reasons why I hope to begin graduate school in Political Science, aiming towards Ph.D., can be traced to my first major human, civic, and professional endeavor, my time spent in the Air Force and later in my years as an international business leader. I was also influenced by full time volunteer roles, 3 years, for example, as a leader, teacher and mentor for postgraduate students.

Making the most of hindsight, my sense of urgency is provoked because of the prevalence and propagation of volatile political conflicts. I have lived through six armed struggles between Israel and its Arab neighbors. For decades perceived as a unique “impediment for world peace”, now, following 35 years of Israeli peace with Egypt and Jordan and recent Islamic-led upheaval in both countries, the Palestinian issue “deteriorated” to be just one-of-many alarming buildups of localized violent battles spilling over across borders. I watch events in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq very closely, with Iran apparently hiding its agenda and seeking a return to something like the days of Cyrus the Great. Driven by refugees and “Brexit”, I watch with trepidation the way in which the politics of Europe change in response to demographic factors fed by xenophobia. My sense of timing for my academic career in political science is driven further by the fact that the USA is now led by an administration that defies what many of us Americans have always believed about democratic constitutionalism. Our new leadership seems to seek insulation from international cooperation and responsibility, obscuring hidden chauvinism. I feel that I am now at the top of my game, able and eager to collaborate in mature scholarly thinking, researching and mentoring processes. 

I embraced various cultures and governance modalities as a leader of organizations in 6 countries on 3 continents, serving as Executive Chairman, President, CEO, and Owner of private and public corporations in the USA, Germany, UK, India, Canada and Israel. I have acquired proficiency in beneficial transformations of international multi-cultural organizations, which I hope to draw upon for perspective at Columbia, leveraging the most of my analytical background in mathematics, deep learning algorithms, and crowdsourcing techniques.

I see global security as imperiled by the evolution of fanaticism on all fronts, from a standpoint that emphasizes the importance of inalienable human rights, and the sustainability of civil freedom.  I never meet my paternal grandparents. My father was a holocaust survivor and I was born a first-generation child in a democratic, Jewish Dstate. Now, I find myself troubled over the extent to which and the manner in which my country, Israel, is either Jewish or Democratic. Thus, I wish to study the challenges of democracy in the era of resurging religious undercurrents as well as the manipulation of faiths as political tools that undermine democratic ethics. My attention is focused on fragile separations between church and state in forms of governance long prevalent in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and West Asia; as well as the manipulation of religious against atheistic identities, inherent in the structure of political struggles for more egalitarian economic models or structure, incipient since the 18th century and re-emerging nowadays. I like to explore the way in which “fake-truths”, “post-truths”, and “alternative facts” are propagated through ubiquitous social media channels, causing an inherent dormant paradox in democracies to re-surface with an omnipotent vigor. Are democratically elected officials leading or manipulating the common people? And, are they true to their election-winning declarations, or just following shortsighted lobbying groups, religious controlled constituencies, pseudo libertarians, economical power brokers,etc.; hence, knowingly or unwittingly involving themselves in deceptions and contributing to the erosion of democratic governance? 

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Introduction to Graduate Study in Political Science at UCSB

I plan a future that empowers my ability to teach and mentor while exchanging and co-developing ideas and insights. An avid bibliophile, I love to write and have spent the majority of my leisure time since adolescence reading biographies of leaders, statesmen, and businessmen, interlaced with political literature.  Although I have never studied Political and International Relations in a formal academic setting, I have educated myself in the relevant literature for decades.  The time is now for me to pursue the M.A. Degree in Political Science at XXXX University/GSAS. I see your MA Program as an opportunity to prove myself worthy of continuing on to study at the doctoral level. I am applying only to XXXX because I feel there is a synergy between my background and your academic culture, as I perceive it, especially with some elective analytical work in QMSS and complementary policy exposure in SIPA. 

Your syllabus is a multi-disciplinarian instrument for the research that I wish to undertake concerning the evolution of religions as public-opinion-manipulation-tools, and the use of political instruments in cyber-based societies that serve to intensify contradictions between defending democracy on the one hand, and freedom of speech on the other. I close with my motto, in the words of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi: “Research is to see what everyone else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought”.  Thank you for your consideration of my application.

Why major in political science? What is political science? This Pizza and Politics series lecture addresses the fundamental questions and concepts associated with the study of politics.

A Day in the Life of a Political Science Major at UCLA! (Follow Me Around)