Our students’ perspective – Jared Feldschreiber
The Master’s Degree in Security and Diplomacy Studies at Tel Aviv University broadened my understanding of world affairs in the most exciting, and interactive of ways.
Before I was accepted, my goal was to have the tools necessary to understand all of the nuances of world affairs, as a comparative tool for a working political journalist. Now, thanks to it, I continue to be fascinated by -but armored with- the academic skills-set necessary to continue reporting in a much more worldly way. Being an American Jew studying in Israel has always both a dream and a privilege. I have done it before as a freshman, but as a working journalist, being a student in this MA program was an empowering honor.
I can still recall our heated class discussions about the moral justifications of “torture” and “targeted assassinations.“ My opinions were certainly challenged by classmates from all corners of the globe; some of whom have worked, and continue to work, for the UN; some are soldiers in the Israeli and US armies; others have worked in world security and trade companies, and others are aspiring law students and diplomats. Candidly speaking, these experiences, and getting to know new friends, and classmates alike, with such a range of interests, and experiences, are the hallmarks of a great education.
Thanks to this MA, I enhanced my appreciation for understanding the social underpinnings of regional conflicts, using countries in the Middle East (particularly Israel) as its epicenter. While we learned about the Israeli Security Doctrine, for instance, we also needed to understand the complexities of Arab Affairs. While taking a course like Jewish International Politics may have reinforced my own deep-seated feelings for the country, and for being Jewish, I understood the greater need to be a more involved citizen, and for learning of the merits of participating in diplomatic and government organizations. This MA enabled us to go on field trips to security zones, in the north, south, and east of Israel. A trip to the Golan Heights, the Lebanese border and near Gaza (meeting military officials, and UN Observers along the way) gave us immediate and necessary access- and enhanced curiosity – to the dynamic plurality of Israel, for her security concerns.
For my final essays, I wrote about topics which oft-times challenged my pre-conceived thinking. They dealt with topics as diverse as international law, national defense and the international political economy. I even got to argue whether something like “truth” (how ever subjective) can serve as a guiding principle to govern world affairs. I also wrote about whether the United States will remain a hegemonic power in today’s ever-changing world.
The professors in this MA get “IT,” so to speak. While their academic credentials spoke for themselves, they are wholly accessible, and caring to their students‘ concerns. Their articles publish in both academic journals and the mainstream press. As a working journalist, it is nice to see that their mission as academics serves the whole world, and not just for a distinguished few. This is also why I so wanted to be accepted in this program; to have the academic skills necessary to better armor myself pragmatically as a working journalist.
Since this MA I continue to interview, and write stories about diplomats, dissidents, journalists, activists and government officials. This MA empowers students from all over the world the tools necessary to better understand the underpinnings of world affairs. For this very reason alone, I am entirely grateful to Ms. Shira Betesh and Dr. Azar Gat for accepting me, and recommend it whole-heartedly to future journalists, military analysts, academics, and diplomats alike who seek to change their world for the better.