Nathan Webb, who is originally from Waco, Texas, has always held an interest in international relations. However, recent world events such as the Syrian conflict and the resulting refugee crisis turned what was once a hobby into a passion. As a graduate student, Nathan aims to understand the roots of conflict and how diplomacy can be used as a tool to help prevent future crisis.
Let’s meet Nathan and read more about his experiences with the Global MA program at Webster University!
1. What is your current city, and what is your next stop in the program?
We’re currently in Geneva, Switzerland and we’ll be traveling to Beijing, China for our next term in March.
2. What has been your best experience so far in the GMAIR program?
My best experience so far has been actually contributing to the field of IR. Right now, I’m working as an intern at the Permanent Mission of The Maldives to the United Nations as a Human Rights Council Advisor, doing research and drafting issue statements to be delivered at the UN. During my last job, I wasn’t always sure if my work was contributing to society in the right way, so working at the UN and advocating for human rights around the globe is a really cool privilege.
3. Which city has been your favorite so far in the program and why?
I would say Athens, Greece has been my favorite city in the program for a mixture of reasons. The staff members at Webster are incredible, the city is beautiful, the beaches are great and easy to access, and most importantly – the food is amazing.
4. What has been your biggest challenge as you adapt to different cultures during your travels?
The lack of Internet access and communication in Cuba was definitely the most difficult for me. We’re spoiled today with constant connectivity, and when it’s taken away you realize how dependent you are – for news, research, basic communication, and most importantly – Instagram. At the same time, there were benefits to the isolation. I spent much more time in actual books than I would have in any other location with access to Google. We weren’t receiving constant push notifications about the latest Washington scandal or unearthed gossip – day-to-day life felt slower and a bit less hectic.
5. Is there any specific topic in international relations that has sparked your interest?
According to the UNHCR, there are over 10 million people around the world who are stateless – denied a nationality, often because of discriminatory reasons or gaps in legislation. As a result, these people have a hard time accessing things like healthcare, employment, or freedom of movement. My migration and refugee movement class allowed me to do research on the causes and effects of statelessness, including what the international community is doing to create solutions and guarantee every person’s right to a nationality. The UNHCR has a lot of great information including a campaign to end statelessness by 2024 (called #IBelong) that everyone should check out.
6. What are your plans for the future after you complete the Global MA program?
I’ve always been jealous of people who knew exactly what they wanted to do from an early age; spoiler alert – I’m not that person. Working with the United Nations this term has opened my eyes to incredible work being done all over the world in migration, development, security, human rights. I have a hard time narrowing my interests, so for now I’m shooting for them all. I do know that I’d like to get into the field. Whether it’s relief, development, or security work – understanding what things are like on the ground is crucial to creating practical and effective solutions.
Thank you for participating in Webster’s Global Blog, Nathan! Continue doing the great work and keep us updated with your journey!