I chose the MA of Political Science in Security and Diplomacy at TAU primarily because of the broad course selection, the security field trips, and the wide range of extra-curricular offerings that the university and Tel Aviv present. This program enables students to immerse themselves very deeply in both the academic and the professional applications of security and diplomacy, far more so than other similar programs. For a student interested in the nexus between security and the Middle East, being in Tel Aviv and specifically within this program presents an unparalleled opportunity. Having spoken during and after the program with many students in other MA programs at TAU and other universities in Israel, it is quite evident that the opportunities this program offers are both more numerous and more meaningful. The quality of the faculty and administration greatly contributes to the available opportunities and makes the program highly engaging.
Socially, this program is undoubtedly the most diverse among TAU’s MA programs. The quality and scope of this program has generated a reputation that attracts students from the far corners of the world (from Israel’s perspective!) – as nearly every continent (save for Antarctica!) is well represented. Combined with Tel Aviv’s robust international atmosphere, this makes for a social scene that is on par with the biggest and liveliest cities in the world. Academically, the program is both challenging and rewarding, giving students the opportunity to see first-hand the subject matter of their academic inquiries. This hands-on approach is also quite helpful in pushing students to pursue relevant internships that contribute toward bridging the academic-professional divide while enhancing their professional attractiveness.
I was encouraged and assisted by the department administration to pursue multiple internships during the program, and during the program I worked at a private geo-political risk consulting company as well as the TAU-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies. Both of these internships directly complemented the nature of my studies in the MA program (e.g. covering security developments in Northern Africa at my internship while simultaneously writing a seminar paper on similar developments in the region). I can confidently assert as well that without these practical and complementary experiences that I would not have been hired at my current position – as they contributed significantly to the quality and robustness of my résumé.
Thanks in large part due to my experiences, I am now currently a Trade and Development Officer at the Israeli Economic Mission to the Southern United States in Houston, TX, covering the Energy and Security and Defense sectors – some of the largest in our mission. Our office is part of the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Foreign Trade Administration and manages a significant part of Israel’s business operations within the Southern US. This position incorporates a lot of material that I learned in the MA program – from studying International Political Economy with Dr. Tal Sadeh to studying political history of the region and international law with professors Uri Shavit and Robbie Sabel respectively. In fact, there is something applicable in my current position that I learned in each of the courses I was enrolled in at TAU. All in all, this program is perfect for any student seeking to study or even begin a career with a focus on the Middle East, Israel, international politics, security studies or diplomacy. While that sounds like a broad mandate for a single program, my experience suggests that this was the perfect path into any such career path. And to do this this all in one of the world’s most dynamic cities made for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I greatly cherish.