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My fascination with foreign affairs can be traced to a series of experiences in my childhood. Coming of age in New York City, I have been privy to many experiences which would have remained foreign to me had I grown up in suburbia. En route to my preschool, I strolled past the United Nations on a regular basis, and I remember being fascinated by the patterns of the world’s flags and the vivid native dress of the African delegations.
As a strong-willed first grader, I would consistently plant myself on the classroom bean bag and stare at a map of the political world. The map was beyond my physical reach, and thus I could not see the minutiae representing rural farming villages and Polynesian island nations. However, national capitals were written in a bold and imposing font, and were always marked by a crisply-pointed star. I was soon able to proudly recite the capitals of countless nations from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Amidst the crunching sounds of Count Chocula cereal, I consistently defeated my challengers during snack time geography games.
As a young child, my mother’s job at a travel agency allowed me to witness the world firsthand; I was exposed to exotic architecture, cuisine, and lifestyles – from the Grand Place of Brussels to the bewildering, buzzing bazaars of Istanbul. I gained a deep appreciation for other peoples and other nations, and gained a strong desire to expand upon my touristic experience. My family’s gatherings have always featured intellectual discussions regarding everything from the Oslo Accords to the long-term ramifications of Reaganomics. My parents grew up in Israel, and thus conversation was often geared towards the Middle East. I was soon browsing through the pages of the Jerusalem Post, and obtained a greater fluency on issues facing Israel.
As a young adult in New York City, it is commonplace for me to discuss the civil unrest in France with a waiter at the corner bistro, and listen to a Pakistani cab driver expound upon the strained relationship between Muslims and Jews. These formative experiences constantly stimulate my desire to further comprehend the intricacies of the geopolitical arena; they have readied me for my future forays in diplomacy, working specifically on behalf of Israel as well as on broader issues affecting the world stage.
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