The Graduating Class of 2020: Mohamed Abufalgha chosen as class speaker | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
LBJ MGPS graduate Mohamed Abufalgha, the 2020 class speaker
LBJ student Mohamed Abufalgha (MGPS '20), the 2020 class speaker.

 

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.

 

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.

MGPS student Mohamed Abufalgha (second from right) with his team from the Deloitte Case Challenge in fall 2018
Mohamed Abufalgha (second from right) and his team in the Deloitte Case Challenge in
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.

MGPS student Mohamed Abufalgha with his fellow students in Adm. McRaven's class
MGPS student Mohamed Abufalgha with his fellow students in Adm. McRaven's 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.