Kanika Malani is the Summer 2018 Education Assistant. She is a rising junior at the University of Connecticut and is majoring in Anthropology and Molecular and Cell Biology. Eventually, she hopes to teach abroad and become a physician.
Kanika outside Fort Alila in Jaipur, India
1. When and why did you first show interest in global affairs?
During my sophomore year of high school I represented Ghana in my first ever Model UN. I went to the embassy in New York City and got to speak to ambassadors. Around that time was when I first started looking into and learning about a different country and how it played a role in world affairs. That experience opened me up to wanting to learn more about what was going on in the world. Later, I participated in more Model UN conferences, took some anthropology classes on the cultures of different countries, and now I’m planning to study abroad in Spain!
2. Do you have a particular area of interest within global affairs?
Humanitarian issues, like poverty, famine, and refugee crises, draw me in. I am really passionate about these issues because I value learning about and understanding people. I feel that learning about humanitarian issues helps one have empathy and allows one to see things from a different perspective. Without a doubt, these skills are invaluable, especially in our current environment. I actually hope to work with Doctors Without Borders in the future to alleviate some of the medical humanitarian issues around the world.
Kanika and her brother by Parque de Madrid in Spain
3. What do you do at CTWAC?
I am the Education Assistant for the summer. I mostly work on organizing the upcoming Model UN conference by writing background guides for the various debate issues, setting up meeting times with the embassies in New York City, and coordinating with high schools on their representative countries.
4. What do you do in your free time?
I really enjoy hiking and spending time outside, especially by the beach. I also like sketching and painting- I think abstract art is my favorite. Other than that, I’m always down to just relax, watch some Netflix, and SLEEP.
Kanika and her cousin speed-boating in Phuket, Thailand
5. Why do you think that global engagement is important?
I think often times people get trapped in their own personal bubbles and don’t care much about things that aren’t directly impacting them. It’s easy to say that I just don’t have the time to look into global affairs. But I think people need to remember that we are not isolated from the rest of the world. Everyone should be aware of what is going on around them so that they can learn from other people’s perspectives and develop a greater world view.
6. Do you have any tips on how to get involved in global affairs?
Try to read up on world affairs on news websites. Even spending ten minutes a day is a good start. Eventually, you’ll find something that you think is pretty interesting so try to delve a little deeper with it. It also helps to attend events in your local community about something you’re interested in or you want to know more about. The World Affairs Council organizes a lot of events like this, so be on the look out!