Alumni corner -- Katerina Rigas

Dukakis center medallion

After four years of intense deliberation about the subject matter of my studies at ACT, I realized that the core of International Relations is international politics and the subject matter of international politics is the struggle for power among sovereign nations. Predicated upon immediate developments, this view became rather crystallized, as the European crisis entered a new, highly dangerous phase in 2015, one that threatens its survival and questions the Union’s purpose. However, despite the deep misgivings about the future in the twenty-first century, as it became apparent that we are not far removed from nineteenth century politics or twentieth century warfare, it is important to study the world from the point most accessible to us.

My time in the Dukakis Center helped me realize that this point is in fact ones’ self and should anyone want to understand international politics, getting actively involved in public affairs and contributing to their communities is essential. And, while the diminishing capacity of the state to reorganize internally in an ever globalizing world is still difficult to deny, Dukakis Center events on civic engagement and public service, especially when the current political system is challenged, allowed me to weigh in the single human factor that is often downplayed in many respected scientific approaches.

Thus, after being given the opportunity to participate in various events and assist on projects, I consider my experience in the Dukakis Center to have profound influence upon not only on my studies but also on my person, as it forced me to reevaluate the impact of one’s civic engagement and personal contribution in political affairs. Having worked in the private sector in Greece, both in in wholesale and retail industry, I have experienced the consequences of practicing a civic disengagement that borders apathy towards public affairs. Though it may be an inadequate paraphrase based on Plato’s Republic, nonetheless the price of indifference to public affairs is in fact to be ruled by lesser men.  I received my BA with honors in International Relations on the 4th of July, 2016, and as I prepare for graduate studies in the US in International Affairs and Security, I know that ever since my time in the Dukakis Center, the point of departure in my studies has been ourselves and the subsequent impact of our engagement – or lack thereof  -- in international politics.


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