A new year has begun. How will you make 2018 matter?
In international affairs, 2018 holds much peril. Senior officials repeatedly argue that North Korea cannot be deterred, hinting that war may be in the offing. We’ve got boots on the ground in Eastern Syria, in the middle of a tangle of competing factions. We continue to back a Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen that has created a humanitarian crisis – including the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded. A high defense budget helps drive the national debt to dangerous new heights, even as expansive global commitments strain the military. Wars are initiated and U.S. troops put in harm’s way with barely a word to Congress. Our foreign policy seems to be adrift – and drifting toward new dangers and into new entanglements. Worse, many of these trends did not begin with the current occupant of the White House: even shock electoral results like 2016’s don’t seem to change the broad outlines of our foreign policy. And with China on the rise, North Korea armed with nuclear weapons, and advanced armaments proliferating around the globe, the potential costs of an unrestrained global approach continue to grow.
That’s a clear indicator that we need a new generation of leaders throughout the foreign policy space, leaders who understand the many alternatives to a hyperactive global strategy. How can you make a difference?
There are two paths: you can become one of those new leaders, or you can help those who are becoming new leaders.
Aspiring future leaders:
Make 2018 the year you take ownership of your career path. Make a New Year’s resolution that will move you forward.
Maybe it’s a daily habit. Check the world news page on a major newspaper or wire service. Listen to a podcast in a foreign language while walking to class. Read a few pages of a relevant book or paper.
Maybe it’s something more long-term. Build deeper connections with your favorite professors in the discipline. Write more. Go to office hours. Look at job boards even when you’re not looking for a job. Do one networking thing a month.
Don’t do all of those things at once, of course – it’s easier to give up. Set modest goals, but hold yourself accountable.
And, of course, get more involved in your JQA Society chapter. Launch one if you don’t have one on your campus already. Take a leadership role or volunteer to help your chapter officers. Deepen the chapter’s network on campus. Your work for your chapter is more than a strong line on your resume: it’s a way to hone leadership skills, make new connections, and learn more about foreign policy. It’s a crucial springboard to an impactful international career.
Help us build the next generation:
Maybe you’ve already got your feet under you. You can still make a difference in the Society! If you’re in a foreign-policy-relevant career, we’d love to match you with one of the Society’s rising new stars for mentorship.
And no matter what, you can help us reach more new leaders, and reach them more effectively. I’d urge you to keep the Society in mind in your giving. It’s fully tax-deductible and can make a big difference in students’ lives. Just over a year into the Society’s existence, we’ve seen top members find thesis topics, secure relevant jobs after graduation, and land prestigious internships that they found out about through the Society. We hope to make 2018 even more pivotal for students, with more chapters, better programming, and new opportunities.
You can support the Society online here or by mailing a check to us:
The John Quincy Adams Society
P.O. Box 17337
Arlington, VA 22216
2018 is shaping up to be a crucial year in American foreign policy. The year ahead holds much cause for fear. Yet the students and young professionals growing under the Society’s wing should give hope: a better global approach is possible in our lifetimes.
This content comes from the JQA Society’s weekly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.