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Northeastern University

Observing the global scene

July 12, 2011

As part of a co-op with the NATO Defense College, in Rome, third-year international affairs major Miguel de Corral penned four editorials on the Arab Spring, encompassing the recent wave of political protests and demonstrations that have swept through Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia.

The editorials analyzed controversial topics ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the role of Arab states in defusing the civil war in Libya. Europe’s World — an independent policy journal in which political figures such as Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs make regular contributions — published two of the articles.

“To get published shows that my ideas are respected by a larger community,” de Corral said. “It also won me a lot of respect with my colleagues, who included me in meetings related to the Middle East and encouraged me to contribute my own ideas like everyone else.”

The NATO Defense College is a major center of education, research and outreach for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 member states and its partners. The experiential learning opportunity with the military college, de Corral said, has convinced him to pursue a career in international security and politics.

He credited Northeastern’s international co-op program for giving him the opportunity to find his calling. As de Corral put it, “Getting the co-op with the NATO Defense College in Italy had a huge influence on me. It’s critical to live in and work in the countries you study in the classroom.”

He backs up his words with action.

De Corral — who completed two Dialogue of Civilizations programs in Egypt and Geneva, Switzerland, last summer — is currently on a Dialogue of Civilizations program in the Balkans, where he is studying conflict resolution and peace building. In August, he will begin a second international co-op with the Geneva Forum, a disarmament initiative created by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

The Spanish-born student might be apt to call himself a global citizen. As a kid, he often traveled to Dublin, Ireland, and Vienna, Austria. At Northeastern, he developed an appreciation for people and cultures from far-flung parts of the world.

“I’ve been able to get a good grasp on a lot of different issues in many different regions in the world,” de Corral said.

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