Angara pursues international relations career after semester in Geneva
Smriti Angara entered Georgetown University’s program in international conflict resolution after graduating from Cornell in 2007. She wants to address conflicts over scarce resources such as oil and fresh water, and hopes to one day do research for a think tank or other non-governmental organization in Europe.
Her path was inspired largely by an undergraduate semester in Geneva, Switzerland in a program sponsored by the School for International Training. During the program she studied Tibetan refugees, as well as the differences between Switzerland’s German and French regions. She also interviewed a range of key officials for a research paper on potential conflicts over oil in the Middle East and Central Asia.
“The research really opened my eyes,” she says. “I got to talk to a lot of experts and found that an American view is often very different from a European view. American officials I met are very straightforward about issues — they don’t see the layers of complexity and all the players involved.”
Angara initially studied math and physics at Cornell, but realized during a summer research project on elliptical curves that she wanted to make a more tangible difference on social issues. She says her background in math has helped her a great deal in a field where statistical analysis is critical.
Meanwhile, her politics courses gave her opportunities to write research papers on ethnic conflicts, humanitarian law, the World Trade Organization, and intellectual property rights. And after spending time in Geneva and Washington D.C., Angara says she appreciates Cornell all the more.
“I’m really glad I got a liberal arts education from a small school,” she says. “At Cornell you’re not just another number among 10,000 faces.”