I gained a lot of new perspectives and ideas about my professional and academic goals. It has reinvigorated my passion for academia as a transformational opportunity
Daniel Robert Soucy
MA - major Social Policy for Development (SPD)
Name: Daniel Robert Soucy - USA
I completed my Bachelors in International Relations and Political Science in 2018. During my time at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, I studied Hindi in India and ended up accepting a job working for the Aga Khan Foundation as a William J. Clinton fellow. These experiences, in combination with my university’s primary focus on utilizing academia as means of questioning the hierarchies, hegemonic ideas and policies that shape our world, led me to prioritize working with those individuals who are often viewed without nuance or humanity. Across my development endeavours in India, connections with homeless youth in Philadelphia, refugees in New England and farming communities in rural US society, I saw a need for policy that takes their voices, individuality but also fundamental connections into account. I felt that ISS would prioritize this in both its scholarship and community.
What major are you in and why did you choose this major?
I am in Social Policy for Development. Given my background interests in agriculture and immigration, I originally thought I would want to explore the GMD or AFES majors. However, I noticed that across all my research and work experiences, I was driven by an interest in the variations between the impact of policies and the various justifications for them. I therefore wanted to be in interdisciplinary and intersector spaces that were critically analyzing things like policy, methodology and interpretative frameworks. SPD has given me the chance to learn and apply these skills with students from an extremely wide variety of backgrounds. It has complicated how I think about broader social structures of inclusion, exclusion, marginality and provisioning which I am extremely appreciative of.
Why did you choose to study at ISS?
I was drawn by the institute’s focus on prioritizing voices from the ‘developing’ world. Many other institutions I was looking at were predominantly made up of students from purely academic backgrounds as well as from Western societies. I wanted a more diverse learning environment with practitioners from a variety of NGO, government and academic spaces. In this regard, ISS has far exceeded my expectations. Furthermore, I wanted practical courses that would prepare me to do research and potentially work in new environments outside of the social provisioning sector I worked in in the US and India. Finally, the Hague was a really appealing location for me to live and study!
What are your future plans after you have graduated?
I would love to pursue a PhD but I have always been hesitant regarding the practicality of doing so. I have received a lot of encouragement at ISS so being here has brought this idea back into my long-term vision. However, I would also love to work for international governance bodies like the UN or in foreign diplomacy conducting policy analysis and research.