Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Enthusiasm and thoughtfulness: a winning combination

Meet Christina Politi.

Christina recently graduated from SAIS Bologna and, like most Bologna Center students, will be spending the second year of her master's program at SAIS Washington starting in August.

Consider Christina's background. She was born in Athens and outside her native Greece has lived in Australia, Brussels, Tokyo and the United States. She received a B.S. from Georgetown with a GPA of 3.9 and also a Certificate in International Business Diplomacy.

In the summer of 2009, she interned in Athens for the National Center for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS”. She was on the Board of the Georgetown International Relations Club and was also active in the school’s Hellenic Association. She speaks Greek, English, French and Spanish, and received a fellowship from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to attend SAIS.

The range of Christina's experiences and her accomplishments speak volumes about the kind of student who decides to come to SAIS. We are looking for individuals who want to make a difference on the international stage and who are equipping themselves with the tools to do so.

Christina won one of three C. Grove Haines awards for academic excellence that were given out last month at SAIS Bologna graduation. I thought you might be interested in reading the work that won Christina the prize.

Christina Politi receives her
C. Grove Haines award from
Prof. Mark Gilbert
Before showing you the winning essay, a word of background. Christina wrote the paper in a course taught by Prof. Mark Gilbert entitled, "Europe in the Cold War". Here is a thumbnail description of the course, which is part of the European Studies concentration:

Beginning with the outcome and consequences of World War II, this course will examine the major trends and developments in the politics of Western Europe during the Cold War (1945–1991). Topics treated include the Stalinization of Eastern Europe, European integration, decolonization, the events of 1968, democratization in the Mediterranean, the transatlantic relationship and Europe’s role in the shaping of East-West relations. The course concludes with the great events of 1989-1992 in Central (and Western) Europe. The course is taught partly by illustrated lectures, partly by discussion of articles, books, original documents and films.

Christina reaches a sobering conclusion in her 14-page essay, entitled, "American Intervention in Greece 1946-64".

: "...[T]he United States had without a doubt, through passive and active involvement, a profound impact on the political, economic, and military development of Greece."

How is this relevant today?  "In fact, the roots of the current crisis [in Greece] are to be found in the immediate postwar history of the country.... Patronage and corruption have continued to plague the country, inhibiting economic growth as well as deeply needed structural reform of the socio-economic and political system."

In the words of Prof. Gilbert: "Christina Politi's essay was the work of a student who was able to research and write dispassionately on a subject she deeply cared about. I hope that future students will show the same enthusiasm and comparable thoughtfulness."

Here is Christina's paper as she submitted it to Prof. Gilbert.

Enjoy. Feel free to send in your comments.

Nelson Graves