I'm an academic and political analyst based in the Gulf. I spend my life between Switzerland and the Middle East.
My studies in Switzerland
Originally, I studied mechanical engineering, math and physics at the ETH in Zurich and the University of Bern. Then, I realized that what really attracted me were international relations and not so much numbers. So, I did a degree in political science at the University of Geneva.
Going to Oxford
I first went to Oxford to do a self-funded MPhil in International Relations and was based at St Cross College. I had applied for a Berrow Scholarship but was unsuccessful in securing the grant. I then returned to Geneva and started my PhD in international relations. After six months in Geneva I was convinced by one of my former professors at Oxford to apply for a DPhil, which I did. I also applied for the Berrow Scholarship that I received this time. Although it was very difficult to secure funding for my MPhil, I managed to do it by winning a series of small grants. This dedication paid off as when I re-applied for a Berrow Scholarship to finance my DPhil, I was awarded it. Sometimes you have to try hard and harder. Don’t give up.
My degree at Oxford University
I have two degrees from Oxford, MPhil and DPhil, both in International Relations.
Life as a Berrow Scholar at Lincoln College
My life as a Berrow Scholar was a bit different than my other fellow Berrow Scholars because by the time I started my DPhil at Oxford I had already spent two years there. So, Oxford was not new for me but Lincoln College was as my original college was St Cross. The first year of the DPhil was a blast. As my formal workload was lighter since I had already fulfilled all the formal requirements and passed all the tests through my MPhil, I could really benefit from all the advantages that Oxford provides in terms of education and personal development. I took classes (in hard sciences or philosophy) that were not related to my field of study but that helped me to broaden my horizon. I also joined several students’ clubs that provided fantastic opportunities to socialize with various people. The uniqueness of Oxford is its attraction power. Famous people in politics, science, arts, or cinema want to go and talk in Oxford. So, your chances of mingling with them are very high. The University of Oxford besides the excellence of the education it provides is also a fantastic hub for networking. The Berrow Scholarship is part of it as its members are from very diverse backgrounds. Over the years the Berrow Scholarship has created a very broad and solid alumni community that cover all disciplines of study.
Upon leaving Oxford
After a year of DPhil, I left Oxford to conduct fieldwork research in Scandinavia and Continental Europe. My formal time in Oxford was over. After completing my DPhil, I kept the open-mindedness that my studies at Oxford had provided me and I kept on working abroad.
My life today
Through my area of expertise on small states’ security, I was hired at a University in the United Arab Emirates and then in Qatar. I now have two regional areas of expertise: Europe and the Middle East. My life is therefore divided between these two regions. The demanding quality of education and mentoring I received at Oxford, and the subsequent critical thinking I developed, have allowed me to adapt very quickly to new challenges. I’m very grateful to the Berrow Scholarship without which all this would not have been possible.