Alden Leader is the 2017-2018 Fellow for the World Affairs Council. She was born in Las Vegas, NV and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. She just finished her degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where she studied political science and international studies, with a minor in psychology.
- When and why did you first show interest in global affairs?
It was during my first year of undergrad that I took a few international relations courses as part of my political science degree, and one was “National Security”. Hearing about my professor’s experiences working in the field, and learning about the theories of international affairs and the current challenges of national security certainly caught my interest. After that, I took many more foreign affairs courses, studied abroad, and started learning a third language.
2. Do you have a particular area of interest within global affairs?
International security is my passion. The relations between countries, the ever-shifting power landscape, and the challenges these things pose for security are what I enjoy. I am fascinated by the rise of the non-state armed groups as international actors, and how the presence of groups that operate outside of sovereign states changes the international arena. The structure of these groups is also an area of interest for me. I spent my senior year writing a thesis about the affiliate groups of al-Qaeda and their rational decision-making processes.
3. What do you do at CTWAC?
I am the fellow for this year, so I have a variety of duties. I help with program planning and event-coordination. I also work on outreach, social media presence, and PR. I also help with general program assistance, doing research and other tasks to help programs go smoothly.
4. What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I like to cook and bake, any and all types of food are fair game. I’ve been working on exploring the Hartford area (since I’m a transplant from the Midwest), so I’ve been doing some hiking and general exploring. I also do a lot of exercising, though I am not entirely sure if I like it. I also enjoy volunteering around the community.
5. Why do you think that global engagement is important?
I think that the world today is so globalized and connected that we cannot afford to not be tuned in to events in the world. We are all citizens of our own countries, but also of the world, and this is something many people forget. It is too easy to hear a news headline of something that happens in another country and ignore it because it’s too “Other”, something that will not directly impact our lives. It is important to engage with the rest of the world, there is a lot that we can learn from observing and paying attention to other countries, cultures, and people. It broadens our perspectives and gives us all new insights.
6. Do you have any tips on how to get involved in global affairs?
Start small. Read the “World News” section in your local paper, visit the World Affairs Council website, see if any of the events interest you. If you find a topic that you are intrigued by, do more research. Read a book on the topic, listen to a podcast. There are so many ways to get information from global sources, just make sure your sources are reliable. #NoFakeNews