George Vladimir Leaua is a first-year graduate student pursuing an M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy. George is a recent graduate of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. As a Romanian international student, his main areas of focus during his undergraduate studies have been European and Eurasian international politics and security, political philosophy, and during his senior year space policy and astronomy. He volunteered for the Romanian Embassy in Washington DC and took on a position of advisor at the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations, focusing on disarmament, security, global politics and space affairs. Currently, his research interests include the ethics of space exploration and space commerce, space law, and international cooperation between European states and the United States on new emerging technologies.
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?
Growing up in Romania during its Nord-Atlantic and European integrations has made me interested in the field of international affairs. Furthermore, the concept of globalization was instrumental to my formative years. When developing an understanding of the world, I did not focus just on my neighborhood, city, or country, but rather sought to encompass other countries, with their own histories, languages, and politics into the equation. During my undergrad years, I understood that the field of international affairs is very broad, and I knew I should look for a niche on which to focus. After finishing most of my requirements, I took every space-oriented course offered by the university. Those classes (astronomy, space policy etc.) convinced me to focus my future studies on the international relations of outer space, a rapidly evolving environment as more and more countries pursue different developments in outer space.
What are you looking forward to about starting your MA program?
I am excited to be studying more thoroughly the space-related issues of today and the challenges of tomorrow. However, I am most looking forward to connecting with my fellow students, many of whom are already accomplished professionals working for important institutions and companies of the space industry. It is exciting to be part of a group of students interested in studying space, and who will most likely become future space leaders all around the world.
Is there anything about moving to DC/starting grad school that you’re nervous about?
As a continuing student of GW, I am lucky to not have to experience a difficult transition into the environment of DC. When first moving here for college, I had a somewhat difficult time adapting to the local culture, especially the food. Now that I am starting graduate school, I am nervous but at the same time excited about the academic challenges, including more extensive and deeper research of highly complex topics (such as space economy and law), and the capstone program. However, I know from my undergraduate experience that my professors and peers will be of great help through these challenges I’m about to face.
The #InocmingElliott series highlights incoming Elliott School graduate students and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. 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. For more information or to submit questions, e-mail email@example.com.