Encounters with professors of various backgrounds expanded my international career.
Increased interest in Palestinian issues in political simulation games
The Global Studies experience that has the most tangible impact on my present trajectory is when I played the role of Palestinian president in the Global Simulation Gaming (GSG) course. In preparation for the GSG simulation day, I led my team to conduct extensive research on Palestinian history, society and politics. To complement the preparation, I also had the chance to have a conversation with respected Palestinian and Israeli scholars. One of them is Prof. Avi Shlaim, a renowned British-Israeli historian from Oxford, who happened to be in Kyoto for an academic seminar at that time.
My GSG experience has helped me nurture a strong interest in Israeli-Palestinian affairs, which later led me to write a bachelor’s thesis on this topic as well as eventually choosing to focus my master’s on Middle Eastern Studies and learn directly from Prof. Avi while studying at Oxford.
Furthermore, the experience also led me to establish Haifa Institute, an academic and media platform on Israeli-Palestinian affairs in Indonesia, my motherland. I currently lead the research department of the Institute and, in that capacity, have been invited to present my research findings on the topic in more than thirty seminars.
Political and security related research at a consulting company
Currently, I work at a political and security risk consulting firm in London. My main role is conducting research to assist clients' due diligence process on their counterparties, especially those based in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.
The process involves a targeted investigation of reputational and criminal issues, ultimate beneficial ownership, complex corporate structures, potential political and international sanctions exposure of the subjects under review. And over the course of the research, I have to consult archives of media reports, litigation databases, government records, and other primary documents.
While there are many other big names in the consulting industry, I find my current company most attractive due to its focus on politics and security — my field of interest. I also find it personally rewarding to assume a profession which tangibly contributes to furthering integrity-driven and ethical business conduct globally.
I have several options in mind regarding long-term career goals. However, notwithstanding which pathway I will eventually take — whether to remain in the consulting sector, to work for an international organisation or think-tank, or to teach IR-related courses as a university professor — I am determined to become a public intellectual who can share his experience and knowledge to the general public. I want to challenge myself to become a respected intellectual in my particular field of interest who is not only seen as authoritative among the circle of experts but also able to produce popular works that can benefit the broader populace.
Language proficiency, analytical writing, excellent professors ... everything helped
In my current job, I have to produce up to five investigative reports a week. It is very helpful to have written many papers from an early stage in the Global Studies. Had I not been this experience, I would’ve found the tasks in my current profession overwhelming.
Having learned Japanese and Hindi at the university and becoming familiar with their script and characters is also very useful for my current job. When reviewing companies and individuals against various international sanctions lists and criminal records, verifying their names in their original language can speed up the process.
The course of International Law, which I took at Leiden University as an exchange student was also meaningful. In this course, I had to act as an international lawyer representing a country in front of the International Court Justice. In preparation for the final oral pleading session, I had to go through various case laws and legal documents. This overall experience helped me prepare for my current responsibility, which involves summarising the litigation records of the subjects, as well as being more used to technical legal jargons.
Moreover, what is still a vivid memory about the course at Global Studies is when Associate Prof. Miwa Hirono invited a renowned scholar from Harvard to her course, “Modern China” to present about Chinese state-owned enterprises in China. The wide intersections between government and business sector in authoritarian countries are a recurrent theme in her course. This knowledge remains useful in my job, where I regularly conduct a risk assessment of political exposure on companies which are identified to be linked to government entities.
Looking back at my days at Global Studies, it is the people which make it very attractive. The university attracts visiting professors who have various professional experience and excellent students through its provision of merit-based scholarships. I have personally benefited from the this college’s effort and I really appreciate it.