James Garrison has been serving as an Officer with the United States Army for ten years so when he received the General Wayne A. Downing Scholarship for postgraduate study, he leapt at the opportunity to pursue a Master of International Relations (Advanced).
Being at the frontline of war zones, he was motivated to study International Relations to better understand the nature of conflicts.
“During my time in the military I have consistently been sent into situations where I've had to balance a diverse array of local and international interests in order to succeed. These types of environments reward preparation and mental agility.
“When I was offered a chance to study International Relations I saw this as an opportunity to improve my general understanding of the forces shaping the conflicts that I will be sent into in the future,” said James.
James is graduating with a University Medal for exceptional academic excellence, in particular for his thesis which explored Iran's relationship with Lebanese Hezbollah, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Palestinian Hamas.
But achieving academic results was not the only driving force in his university experience. Ultimately it was his passion and connection to the subject matter that led to his success in the program.
“Despite the often heated and emotional disagreement in expert debates, seminars and around-the-coffee-pot discussions between classmates, those involved in the study of International Relations share a common desire to improve the world and reduce violent conflict by gaining a better understanding of the forces which shape the contemporary environment. I think the optimism which underpins such efforts is laudable,” said James.
James says he’s come out of the program with much more than a qualification, but also a new perspective.
“I will return to my former unit in the United States military and hopefully approach the coming challenges with more insight and creativity than I would have otherwise”.