Student Spotlight: Meron Semedar, MAIS

…I know already my education at MAIS is playing a crucial role in growing and impacting more lives.

Meron Semedar speaking on country condition at the 11th United Nations Youth Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Meron at the 11th United Nations Youth Assembly in New York – United Nations Headquarters.

My experience as a Master of Arts in International Studies student at the University of San Francisco by Meron Semedar

Having done significant advocacy work in a number of areas including human rights, refugee, migration, and youth empowerment, among others, I was actively seeking to find a program that would broaden my knowledge in these areas and expand my knowledge around world issues. After searching, I came across the Masters of Art in International Studies (MAIS) program at the University of San Francisco. An interdisciplinary program that was the closest to perfection that I could find. What I also appreciated about the program was that they are not just fixated on GPA but they take a holistic approach by also considering a lot of other criteria such as your involvement with organizations, articles you published, awards, speeches you gave, traveling experiences, places you lived among other societies, and even your outside interests (mine was running marathons for a cause). This made me even appreciate the program more because we all know students are more than merely an academic GPA. This also allows for an entering class that is comprised of students from a broad range of different backgrounds.

As a MAIS student, I am in class no more than three days a week. This provides the opportunity to hold a job, participate in extracurricular activities, or spend more time on my research interests. But, most importantly, most classes have less than 15 students in them. The program is very engaging and you learn not just from the readings or your professors but greatly from your peers. The program increased my knowledge in the areas that I was already doing advocacy. While I am in the program I still continue to publish articles at The Huffington Post, the G7G20, and other media outlets, but this time with more knowledge and a point of argument to make. Additionally, I am able to take that knowledge and to appear in and around the Bay Area as a panelist on different topics.

Meron speaking at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok, Thailand

MAIS was also supportive and helpful when I needed to go and speak at an international summit called One Young World in Bangkok, Thailand during school term. At the event I spoke about the current refugee crisis to delegates of 1300 young people from 196 countries (United Nations recognized and non recognized countries) and among world leaders such the former United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan. I know this is just the start with more opportunities and challenges to come across in the future and I know already my education at MAIS is playing a crucial role in growing and impacting more lives. This program was the best choice for me. I appreciate its critical perspectives and engagement in social justice. After all it is at a university that believes you can “Change the world from here.”


Click here to watch all of Meron’s talk from the One Young World Summit: “The Root Causes of the Refugee Crisis”


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