Monterey Institute student Heather Bessette landed an internship that combines her focus on renewable energy projects and development, as well as her French language skills, at a non-profit organization founded by MIIS alumna Mary Graham Bliss.
Miriam Fugfugosh: Monterey Institute “Family” Connections Extend to Geneva
August 13, 2013
Miriam Fugfugosh (MAIPS ’03) says that one of her favorite things about the Monterey Institute is the atmosphere of warmth and welcome that she felt throughout her time there—“from the first day of orientation to graduation.” She appreciated the closeness with other students, and the staff and faculty who found time to interact with the students as individuals. “We were all recognized for who we were and valued for it,” she says and adds that this sense of family has extended to her life in Geneva, Switzerland, where MIIS faculty and staff bring the alumni community together for interesting conversations when they are in town.
Miriam came to MIIS after serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa, looking to build on her experience and build a career promoting peace internationally. While on an International Professional Service Semester assignment in Geneva during the spring of 2003, she met her future husband Jan. Together they travelled to Bolivia to volunteer for an NGO in El Alto for most of 2004. Since April of 2005 Miriam has worked at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), realizing her dream for a rewarding and challenging professional career.
“I am fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work on myriad projects, with various colleagues, and in different locations including Mali, Jordan, Guinea-Bissau, Belgium, Slovenia, Austria, and of course Switzerland,” she shares happily. Her work at GCSP, an international foundation funded mainly by the Swiss Confederation, has involved training mid-career government officials working in the field of security policy. “I am pleased to have found a post in which I interact directly with the beneficiaries of our projects and get to work towards international peace and security through training of decision-makers.”
Miriam and Jan live in downtown Geneva with their two sons, Ahkyan (3) and Ezekiel (1). Some advice Miriam has for young professionals, is to take care to nurture networks and people skills: “These are as important as the academic tool kit!” She also encourages students to master the non-required practical skills such as using Excel and statistics, and says she has seen promising newcomers held back at times for not having those basic skills.
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