Bruno Binetti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, where he specializes in China-Latin America relations. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in Washington D.C. He holds an MA in International Affairs with a concentration in Development from the Elliott School, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, and an undergraduate degree from Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires.
When did you realize you wanted an international career?
Probably when I was around 12 or 13 and started to watch CNN and read the international section in the newspaper. This was the time of the “War on Terror” and, soon afterwards, the Iraq War, which naturally made a huge impression on me and made me want to understand what was going on in the world. I did my undergrad in IR in Argentina and began working as an advisor on foreign policy at Argentina’s Congress. A few years later I began to look for opportunities to do a Masters abroad in D.C. I wanted to go where all those transformative decisions I read about the newspaper as a kid were made, a process that ended with me at the Elliott School.
What is your current position? What did the path look like to get there?
I am a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE). I study China-funded infrastructure projects in Latin America, with a focus on how recipient governments defend their interests in negotiations with Chinese actors. After finishing my MA at the Elliott School, I moved back to Buenos Aires (my hometown) and became a guest lecturer and an independent consultant. It took some thinking, but I eventually decided to apply for a PhD in the US or the UK and live abroad again. I was rejected from ALL universities on my first try, but reapplied a couple of years later and got accepted into LSE. It certainly hasn’t been easy to do research under Covid and it can be tough to set my own work schedule, but I’m really enjoying it.
What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for post-grad career?
I found the combination of academic and policy-oriented courses particularly useful. The flexible structure of the MA program allowed me to select courses I found interesting and to change my concentration from Conflict Resolution to Development in my 1st year. I also benefited greatly from choosing the thesis option instead of a capstone to complete my studies. This allowed me to work with the amazing Stephen Kaplan, from whom I learned a lot about China-Latin America relations. The process of writing my Master thesis provided valuable experience for my PhD a few years later.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are considering a graduate degree in international relations?
International Relations is a very broad field, and you will need to make your own path based on your interests and passions. Reach out to professionals who are doing things that seem interesting and ask them how they got there. Your interaction with professors and practitioners will hopefully give you valuable tools to think about your career options. It is fine to have a sense of where you want to go professionally, but stay open to change and unexpected opportunities! Make sure to take advantage of all the events happening at GW and around town, and try to do internships that provide valuable hands-off experience. Also, please avoid the cliché about D.C. people being overly-obsessed with their careers: enjoy yourself! Make friends from all over the world, attend the happy hours, get some fresh air at Shenandoah Valley and (in the summer) see a concert at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
What did you value most about living and studying in D.C.?
Living in DC allowed me to intern at some of the top think-tanks in the world, and later turned into a job as a research associate at the Inter-American Dialogue, the largest think-tank on Western Hemispheric affairs in D.C.
Washington is a great city with a vibrant cultural life and (pretty smart) people from all over the world, and the perfect place to be for those of us who are passionate about international relations. Every week there is an endless number of events and talks by some of the top scholars and policymakers in the world. You really feel at the center of global affairs. During my time in D.C., I was lucky enough to attend (in-person) events with then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos from Colombia, among many others. The absolute highlight was to attend the Steven Colbert’s interview with president Barack Obama at Lisner Auditorium. As they say, #OnlyAtGW
If you would be any type of food/drink, what food/drink would you be?
During the summer: An Aperol Spritz. During the winter: A Negroni. Ok, now I’m thirsty.
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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.