Mina Rizk, graduate of Leadership for Education and Development Program (LEAD) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), has been selected for admission to the master’s degree program at the prestigious Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University, USA. The Kroc Institute is one of the world’s principal centers for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace. It educates undergraduate and graduate students from around the world in the theory and the practice of strategic peace building.
At AUC, Rizk was able to acquire rich experience as a LEAD student, including rigorous academic study, extra-curricular activities and internship programs. “I believe that the undergraduate era is the time to develop one’s personality. Four or five years at the university can direct your entire future,” said Rizk, who majored in political science with a concentration in international relations and political economy.
Rizk served as chair of AUC’s Student Senate, participated in the National Model United Nations in New York, and interned with Industrial Modernization Center, Al Masry Al Youm newspaper and the USAID-funded National Book Program. He was nominated by the LEAD Program as the student with the best leadership skills and was granted a semester abroad in SUNY New Paltz, where he studied a full course in the United Nations in spring semester 2007. “Leadership and innovation in work are the type of skills that extra-curricular work enriches in one’s personality,” said Rizk.
LEAD program retreats gave him the opportunity to go to all the Egyptian governorates discussing their developmental challenges. He also worked for four months in Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation, where he researched South-South cooperation initiative, visited Egyptian ministries to document their cooperation with other southern countries, founded a database to gather the Egyptian contributions to the south, and explored successful examples for south-south cooperation in other countries.
Rizk decided to attend the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies as it aligns with his academic interests and career objectives. He chose to focus his study on policy analysis and political change. “The program tackles significant issues like how to enforce strategic peace building in places where political stagnation or civil wars and brutal atrocities destroyed any features of statehood,” explained Rizk. “Academic substance is actually synthesized with field experience, where we travel to work for a relevant NGO for duration of six months in South Africa, Philippines or Uganda,” added Rizk.
As a fan of the Model United Nations, Rizk also joined the Notre Dame Model United Nations Club. After some sessions, and because of his previous experience in such models, he was encouraged by the club board to represent the team in the American Model United Nations held in Chicago this November. In addition, Rizk is working with former AUC professor, Emad Shahin on creating an international encyclopedia about political Islam.
Established in 2004, the LEAD program offers full scholarships and accommodation to 57 public school students – one male and one female – from each of Egypt's governorates. LEAD is a joint program of USAID, the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation and AUC and provides distinguished Egyptian students graduating from government schools to attend AUC.