Veysel Indi on How NECR Enriched His Career in International Diplomacy

When I decided to pursue a master’s degree I looked into many programs. As a Turkish diplomat, I wanted to increase my level of knowledge in the field of conflict resolution and I wanted to learn skills in negotiation and mediation. I looked into programs both in Europe and in the U.S. Among many choices across the world, I decided on Columbia's program for numerous reasons. I was attracted to the course content, and I liked that the instructors had not only the theoretical expertise but also real-world experience. I also liked the fact that it is a smaller program which provided for a better faculty and student interaction. Moreover, I liked that the program was offered at Columbia University, one of the best universities in the world, located in the heart of New York City!

I truly enjoyed my time in the program. The classes provided a good balance between theory and practice, and I enjoyed the atmosphere of camaraderie and team spirit created among students. It increased my enthusiasm towards the program. Among the variety of classes I was able to choose the NECR’s interesting electives and courses in other schools at the university.  As a diplomat, I felt that I needed to be able to understand interdisciplinarity in order to be able to grasp different worldviews. Taking classes at other schools and hearing opinions on current events from students who come to Columbia from all around the world while still being a part of the NECR family was an incredible learning experience for me. The curriculum was well-designed. Some of the classes prepared me professionally and helped me increase my knowledge in my field of work; other classes were aimed towards self-awareness, which is invaluable. The program has helped me become skilled at understanding conflict from different perspectives. I continue to use the techniques that I have learned. The program impacted my professional and personal life in a positive way.

Since I love my line of work, I never considered any other position after graduating. In the post-graduation period I had the privilege of working at the Turkish Consulate General in New York and went to Africa afterwards. I currently work as a Deputy Chief of the Mission at the Turkish Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia where I handle political and economic relations as well as personnel related matters. In this position, I use the knowledge that I have gained from the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program every day.

My best advice to the prospective students would be to have a roadmap in mind even before starting the program. The field of Conflict Resolution is expanding in many areas, and it is up to the student how he or she wants to use it. It is useful to have a professional direction prior to entering the program so that they can apply the coursework to the preferred profession.