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  • Mohsin 2:26 pm on June 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    what’s in a title? 

    a lot… turns out.

    good bye, research intern, hello graduate student research assistant! why yes, that is and has been my title. and i must say, i love it! i’ve been very lucky to have worked at brookings this whole time, and the prospect of continuing with the Center for Universal Education has me really excited! i’m glad i have this rigorous research experience while i’m still in grad. school as most people i work with have phds, or are already done with their ma’s. therefore, this learning experience has been great for me.

    i’m off to plan my birthday trip to istanbul and athens. life is good. 🙂

    be in peace-


  • Mohsin 10:23 pm on May 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    i had the opportunity of having lunch with my director last week. it was very nice to be able to sit down with someone like her, who has a lot of experience in the field. i feel extremely lucky to have worked with her, and what’s even better is that she’d like me to stick around! yes, that’s right. i’m hoping another project that relates to conflict comes up soon, so i’ll be working on it.
    this is perfect preparation for my thesis!!

  • Mohsin 10:19 pm on May 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    sometimes, you have to make tough choices in life. i had to, very sadly, pass on the opportunity to work in Pakistan this summer due to several reasons. i consulted several people on my project itself, and one of them was very helpful in pointing out some serious red flags. therefore, this project will have to wait until next summer. 😦
    i’d much rather wait and plan this thoroughly than actually waste my time on ground doing something shortsighted.

  • Mohsin 7:33 pm on April 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Read, read, read… 

    These past few weeks have been a bit slow, so I’ve been focusing primarily on getting my class readings done (it’s been a while since I accomplished that).
    However, something very interesting happened while I interviewed someone as part of my research: I was offered a summer job! In Pakistan! I know, everyone’s reaction has been the same: why in the world would you be excited at the prospect of traveling to Pakistan in the blistering heat. Well, for those who would like to know why, here are my reasons at accepting the offer:
    1). I haven’t been to my homeland in ten whole years. I miss it a lot.
    2). It would be nice to work at the nation’s first liberal arts university!
    3). I’d get to run my own workshop on faculty development.. I’m very excited to incorporate ideas of peace and conflict resolution in an educational setting, that’s been all my work in the past few months anyway, why not put it to good practice now?
    and 4). it’s my homeland. i miss it.

    Even though the funding still needs to be secured, and a couple of logistical things need to be sorted out, I am very excited because my proposal was accepted!

    Now, I’m back to work… wish me luck!

    • Jessica Beasley 1:24 pm on April 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats on the job offer!!

  • Mohsin 5:39 pm on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    the final stages of the report. YES

  • Mohsin 5:38 pm on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Ah, spring break… 

    I was in Costa Rica for Spring Break, but that doesn’t mean I got away from work completely. In fact, I was researching teacher/student attitudes towards extremism and militancy… by the pool of course. 🙂

    Unfortunately, not a lot has been done on this topic, so my sources are limited. However, that does give me the urge to do some on ground research, so I am considering a summer abroad project. I am very glad this work venture has opened so many doors. Can’t wait to see the results! Time is short, so I have to work on the proposal now (one of many). Wish me luck!

    P.S. Research interviews are still hard to schedule due to scheduling conflicts!!

  • Mohsin 8:18 pm on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: America, Diplomat, , Pakistan, , Woodrow Wilson Center   

    Yes, I’m definitely still around 

    It’s been a while since I posted, I’ve been running around as the semester finally picked up, so the workload for classes is keeping me in the company of books, books, and more books. Oh, and I forgot: research: my passion.

    Right now I’m still continuing research on the one report we’ve been working on, I’m making a lot of progress, and it’s been interesting talking to people from the foreign policy sector. I sat down for coffee with a former ambassador from Pakistan to the US and currently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. She was so interesting and down to earth! I was so enamored to be in her presence, she has amazing credentials but her opinions and overall demeanor blew me away. Once again, what started as a research interview turned into a lively and engaging conversation. I definitely learned a lot more about foreign policy, education and future career prospects (I always make it a point to seek advice from experts).

    • FB 1:09 pm on March 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What was it about her “opinions and overall demeanor” that “blew you away?” Something unexpected?

      • Mohsin 11:18 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Her candor, she was very open about her opinions, and even though I had this in mind before I left (that their opinions are somewhat impacted by their jobs), I was very pleased to see her speak outside that capacity altogether.

  • Mohsin 2:03 am on February 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Grievance, ,   

    Thank You, Mother Nature 

    Thanks to all the snow, all my work appointments/meetings/events were canceled or postponed. Not one to be dejected, I decided to work from home. That’s right, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    I conducted a research interview with a former permanent representative to the UN from Pakistan, and our discussion was an interesting, lively conversation as opposed to a research interview. He was very friendly and keeping in mind this interview was off the record, he was more open tosharing his personal insights. From a development perspective, however, I’m not sure if it was all that conducive to what I wanted, but he did touch upon two very interesting concepts I’ve been thinking a lot about recently: grievances and mindsets.

    I think the two are interrelated; grievances can shape the way one thinks (in this example; i.e. Pakistan, negatively). They can tailor one’s mindset into being destructive, and since extremist activities are at the epicenter of my research, I’m trying to understand and delve more into how one can become susceptible to terrorism (I have to be careful here, terrorism can be defined in several different ways). What are the main grievances? How can they be addressed? Are they primarily with the government?

    • FB 3:16 pm on February 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting! This really seems like a terrific internship for you. Do you think you would have done this research interview if you were working on your own paper as opposed to being with an organization?

      • mohsin 11:35 pm on February 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think so, I’m not sure I would’ve somehow been this resourceful had I not been enjoying the work I was doing.

  • Mohsin 5:35 am on February 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    So excited to meet another expert in the field! 

    I’ve been very busy doing interviews for an upcoming report that I’ve been working on… working around the schedules of extremely busy folks can be very hard! But, once I get to sit down, I have the opportunity to ask them interesting questions and usually the conversation is more than just an interview, it becomes a knowledgeable exchange of useful information.

    Next week, The Brookings Institution will be hosting an event launching the UNESCO report by Brendan O’Malley that focuses on violence against educational institutions, students and teachers.

    Once again, I am very excited to be part of an event that will release new and important information concerning those who work in the field of education. Moreover, I’m curious to find out how/why students and teachers in several countries are targeted specifically for striving to advance in this sector. Clearly, there is a real problem here, an emerging pattern almost. One that sadly indicates that we still have people in the world who would like to hold others back. And they are willing to do this at the cost of innocent lives. So, an attack on a school/teacher/student isn’t just any other random act of violence, to me, its more than that. It symbolizes the level of ignorance and disrespect towards higher learning.

    Also, I’m excited to view this event from an IPCR perspective. If, in fact, education is under attack, then how can this field be used for peace? How do we transform violent and destructive mindsets? Do we simply provide them quality education? How? Where?

    • FB 7:58 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Will the things you’re learning from these interviews be helpful for any of your academic work? And just think, these are people who you can return to in the future when you’re job seeking! And someday, they may come to you, as well!

      • mohsin 11:36 pm on February 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I’m actually planning on using all this knowledge for my thesis later. I’m very lucky to be working for some of the best known scholars in the field of both conflict analysis and education development!

  • Mohsin 10:52 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Education in a Conflict/State Fragility Situation 

    I’ve been researching the state of education in Pakistan (my birthplace, I’m also a Pakistani citizen but have only lived there on and off for approximately 4 years). Given the current situation in Pakistan, it’s been very interesting to read how education can fuel conflict and instability.

    (More …)

    • Ashley Bradford 2:35 am on January 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Mohsin!
      Great blog. Love hearing about your internship. Keep up the posts!

    • ashley 5:59 pm on January 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      lovely. really appreciate your sharing your unique perspective 🙂 the kind of thoughtful reflection we need right now..

    • FB 7:20 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Very insightful. There is always a need conflict resolution and reconciliation. There will always be a need and if you follow the teaching path, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use conflict resolution. This reflection is a really good example of how internships help us look even more deeply at our personal, not just professional selves.

  • Mohsin 4:53 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brookings, , , ,   

    Mohsin’s Introduction 

    I’m a first year M.A. student in IPCR (International Peace and Conflict Resolution) with a concentration on International Development. I’m currently working for the Center for Universal Education at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. My primary work duties include conducting intensive research and representing CUE at events around the city.

    • John Charles 10:34 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Mohsin: Glad to hear you are at Brookings. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • FB 7:15 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What attracted you to Brookings? How did you get your internship? Have you attended a favorite event?

      • mohsin 11:38 pm on February 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I was obviously very much attracted to the high quality research reputation that Brookings has, and because I enjoy satisfying my intellectual curiosity by looking into things more analytically, this seemed like a perfect fit for me! When I was interviewed, I was very excited to be speaking with someone who had worked/written on education so of course I had questions for her. All events I attend are amazingly insightful!

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