What is your favorite memory from your time at the LBJ School?
Some of my favorite memories have been participating in the crisis simulation for the MGPS program and getting so immersed in the negotiations and even heated a few times. Another great memory is the Bollinger trips with my fellow international students to Chicago and Miami, where I got to see other parts of the U.S. and to know my classmates better.
Thanks to the @TheLBJSchool and the US @ArmyWarCollege for hosting the Sudan/South Sudan crisis simulation. I got to represent Egypt alongside a fantastic team. Thanks to my teammates and my colleagues for making this simulation a memorable experience. pic.twitter.com/SQvL4CTY2Y— Mohamed Abufalgha (@MAbufalgha) Feb. 10, 2020
Luckily the @daily_diplo did not see the friendly encounter I had with the head of the Ethiopian team @SamMichaelLee in which we exchanged warm-hearted threats to (almost) go to war over the Nile water. Egypt, being the AU chair and the "old sister" decided to preserve peace tho. https://t.co/gKXaVJR4F5— Mohamed Abufalgha (@MAbufalgha) Feb. 9, 2020
The William and Judith Bollinger International Student Enrichment Fund helps international master's degree students experience a bit of American culture. Thanks to this fund, a group of 9 LBJ masters students headed to Chicago to get a taste of life outside of Austin. pic.twitter.com/InXIjVxRVp— The LBJ School (@TheLBJSchool) Dec. 6, 2018
What is the most unexpected thing that happened to you during your time at LBJ?
I certainly did not expect to meet this many scholars, experts and government officials. In my first semester, for example, I met both Secretary John Kerry and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In the second semester, I met leaders and intellectuals from Central American countries. I also did not expect the diversity in our classrooms. I met students from all around the U.S. and the world with fields of interest that cover almost every policy domain one could think of.
"I certainly did not expect to meet this many scholars, experts and government officials. In my first semester, for example, I met both Secretary John Kerry and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In the second semester, I met leaders and intellectuals from Central American countries." —Mohamed Abufalgha (MGPS '20)
Tell us about your next steps.
I am moving to Washington, DC, once the country opens up. Earlier this year, I accepted a job offer from Princeton University. I'll be joining their Arab Barometer project as a senior research specialist. I will be working on analyzing and reporting survey data on public behavior and attitudes in the Middle East and North Africa.
fall 2018. Left to right: Harshal Zalke, Tahar Hichri, Angela Yu, Abufalga and Andrew
Robison. (Photo courtesy of Abufalgha)
What is your advice to the incoming class?
The first year might be stressful, but your classmates could always lend you a hand. Ask others for help and help others when asked. Don't forget to enjoy LBJ, UT and Austin while you are here.
"The first year might be stressful, but your classmates could always lend you a hand. Ask others for help and help others when asked. Don't forget to enjoy LBJ, UT and Austin while you are here."
—Mohamed Abufalgha (MGPS '20)
What class or experience left the biggest impression on you?
Several classes and interactions come to mind. I had the privilege of learning from some of the most experienced, smartest professors around, people like Adm. Bobby Inman, Professor James Galbraith, Adm. McRaven and Professor Jeremi Suri and others. Yet, despite their experience, knowledge and fame they were all very humble, generous and kind to me. I learned a lot just from observing the way they act, let alone what they taught in class.
(Photo courtesy of Mohamed Abufalgha)
You experienced an unprecedented change to your school experience this year. What was the most unexpected thing you discovered about yourself during this time?
I was surprised by how unbothered with the change and quarantine I was. At first, it was difficult to keep myself motivated to work, but I am adapting well to the situation.
Mohamed's family wouldn't have been able to come to graduation from Libya because of the travel ban, but now that it's virtual they can see him be our CLASS SPEAKER!!!— Charlotte Gorman (@charagorman) May 18, 2020
I'm not crying, YOU are crying https://t.co/GissDL7ODB