International relations alum receives fellowship

By Nicolas Saravia/Staff Writer

An FIU international relations alum was selected to as one of the recipients for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, which includes $90,000 to pursue a master’s program, two internships, and three years of work in the United States Foreign Service.

“I am extremely humbled by the opportunity to join a community of Rangel Fellows that are currently serving all over the world,” said Abdel Perera, who became the third FIU student to be selected for the program.

Perera was among 20 candidates selected out of more than 200 applicants nation-wide for the Rangel graduate program, which this year had two FIU students in the finals.

According to Perera, he was meet with candidates from Harvard, Georgetown and American University.

Though he said he felt prepared because of his training with the University’s Center for Excellence in Writing.

The fellowship is a program that seeks to attract and prepare qualified individuals for careers in the Foreign Service in which they can “help formulate, represent and implement U.S. foreign policy.”

“The Rangel Fellowship was a highly competitive process, having national student talent from various Ivy League schools, it was inspiring to see that two of us from FIU made it to the final round of interviews,” said Perera. “I was ecstatic to be a part of the final group.”

The program, named after the U.S. representative from New York, gives a $90,000 scholarship for pursuing a two-year master’s degree in fields such as political science, international affairs and foreign languages.

The fellowship is also characterized by the opportunity of internships and work in the Foreign Service.

Perera hopes to for an internship with a member of Congress from Florida, particularly with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

He feels the congresswoman has “a strong presence in foreign affairs and she also graduated from FIU. But I’m open to anything.”

To prepare for the fellowship, Perera completed three internships with the Department of State, including one in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“I have a long road ahead in training to become a foreign service officer, but I am looking forward to continue setting the stage for future FIU students,” said Perera, who majored in political science and international relations while at the University.

Perera found out about the program through Hilarion Martinez, associate dean of undergraduate studies and former diplomat in residence

“FIU students should do what Abdel did. His interest in becoming an American diplomat was sparked in my diplomacy class,” said Martinez. “He applied for and was not selected for another int     ernational fellowship but that did not stop him. He then pursued the Rangel and won.”

“I received great guidance from Mr. Martinez, and from FIU alumnus Raphael Garcia,” said Perera.

Last year, political science alum Raphael Garcia received the fellowship, and is now studying at American University, in Washington D.C.

Perera is now awaiting acceptance into Rangel partner schools, and is considering the University’s Global Governance Program.

As part of his fellowship, he will do an internship in Capitol Hill and one abroad.

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