On November 7th, Mike Rogers and Lisa Monaco headlined the Women's Foreign Policy Group's Autumn Gala Dinner and offered insightful analysis on the threats to American citizens during a conversation on national security. Ambassador Cathy Russell, former US Ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues, moderated the discussion, which was held at the beautiful home of Ambassador Ray and Shaista Mahmood.

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As a recent graduate, who just moved to the city, I was very excited to attend the career panel, Where Do You Start? Careers in International Affairs, on August 11th. The panel included a group of incredibly successful and accomplished women in the field of international affairs—Dawn Calabia, consultant on statelessness, displaced populations, resettlement, and asylum; Sandra Pepera, National Democratic Institute; Ambassador Linda Jewell, retired from the US Foreign Service; Andi Gitow, UN Information Center in DC; and Patricia Ellis, WFPG. They each spoke briefly about their careers and what led them to choose to work in their respective areas. I was surprised to learn that they each had very unique, non-linear, paths to their careers. While in college, I was led to believe that each field has a very specific checklist of requirements and qualifications needed to be successful. Yet, it was encouraging to hear that many of the panelists either stumbled into or discovered their passion for international affairs at a later age. Following the opening remarks, the panelists proceeded to discuss many important topics, but a few points that I found to be especially valuable included finding a sponsor, doing the wonder woman pose, taking risks, and creating a five-year plan.

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The International Women of Courage, selected by the U.S. State Department each year for their trail blazing activities, give hope and inspiration to all of us. This year’s recipients hail from countries as diverse as Bangladesh and Belize, Malaysia and Mauritania. Over a dozen women are in the United States to receive the award and then travel to American cities with stories of their work to improve life in their countries. I had the opportunity this week to meet with the 2016 international women of courage and to work with them on preparing for interviews and public diplomacy.

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