Raquel Esther Jorge Ricart is a Fulbright grantee who will start her Master’s program in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School this fall, concentrating in transnational security. She recently graduated with a Master’s in African Studies and International Relations after double majoring in Sociology and Political Science, both in Spain. She is interested in bridging the security gap between public policies and on-the-ground reality, and in the improvement of risk scenarios forecasting for better crisis management. She has professional experience in consulting services in the United Kingdom, where she analyzed humanitarian/security risk scenarios in Sub-Saharan Africa through quantitative data. She also interned at the Spanish Ministry of Defense, working closely with high-level military members as an analyst on organized crime and maritime security in Northern Africa. She was also an intern at Elcano Royal Institute, a Spanish think tank on international affairs, in the areas of private security and energy security. She enjoys going to art galleries and bookstores.
What made you interested in your undergrad field of study and how, if at all, did that contribute to your decision to go to grad school?
I studied in Spain a double degree in Sociology and Political Science, mostly focused on humanitarian issues. Once I lived for a year in Paris (France) due to a student exchange program, I discovered the thrilling world of security risk management and new ways to address national, regional and global issues which turn into common challenges. I decided to focus my career on the refinement of risk scenarios forecasting in order to improve crisis management. Data is not fully shared, security and development programs are conducted separately or sectorally, and societal cleavages are perpetuated. This underutilization of information misguides existing and potential possibilities for political restabilization, economic development and the creation of new narratives. It turns into needless duplication of efforts, overlapping of peace and security projects and possible disregards for specific population groups.
What are you looking forward to about starting your MA program?
I just recently finished a Master’s on African Studies and International Relations, whereby I have learned a large specter of theories, problem-solving and critical alike. This program has allowed me to get a truly crosswise outlook, personally and professionally. In that sense, what I expect from the SPS program is to fully complete those security skills which every analyst needs. Especially, I look forward to increasing the knowledge of evidence-based tools, parametric techniques and the means of management and evaluation of security policies, to provide in my professional life with better practical recommendations.
Furthermore, I come from Europe, a continent in which companies have not yet succeeded in the definition of optimal tools to develop a security mindset and its integration within their risk analysis. Instead, the United States offers a landscape in which dozens of organizations which are based in manage monitoring programs with impeccable methodologies. By improving theoretical skills on detection of vulnerabilities, needs analysis and assessment and operationalization of adaptation will allow me to learn, not only from practice-oriented courses but also to go deeper into skills based on response speed, change adaptation and cost-benefit analysis of political risks within conflict areas in order to forecast best future action scenarios for future clients.
Is there anything about moving to DC/starting grad school that you’re nervous about?
It will be my first time in the United States, so I am more than happy to enjoy this unique experience in a city such as DC! The best thing about new adventures is always the fact you are really eager to begin it, and at the same time, you do not know what you will find in that place. So that leaves you a slight touch of mystery. I consider that, when moving to another place, you should not have any expectations. Discovery is better: herein lies its virtue. And especially in DC, a city with a bunch of opportunities in all aspects.
If someone was writing a biography about your life so far, what would the title be?
“Hygge and retrouvaille”: Hygge is a Danish word which means the mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality, to give courage, comfort, joy. Retrouvaille is a French word which I really virtue, as it means the joy of reuniting with someone after a long separation.
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