Exchange Matters / November 17, 2021

Q&A with Olivia Rovin

By Olivia Rovin

Editor’s Note: Olivia participated in the 2021 Emerging Leaders Program and interned with World Partnerships, Inc, a Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member in St. Petersburg, FL. This interview is part of a series of interviews with Emerging Leaders Program alumni highlighting the impact of the program on their careers. Learn more about Olivia below, and meet more participants of our 2021 cohort of Emerging Leaders here.

Tell us about your project. Why this topic is important and how did you share it with your community?   

For my Emerging Leaders’ Project, I wrote a research paper and a policy memo detailing why and how President Biden should use cultural diplomacy to mend transatlantic ties with our allies as part of an independent study. This topic is extremely important for the United States and its relationships with its allies. It was especially relevant when I began in the Spring of 2021 as President Biden had just been inaugurated and was working on diplomatic relations. Diplomatic relations with other countries are often highlighted when these countries are considered adversaries; however, looking at mending ties with allies is not been studied. I found that cultural diplomacy is an essential element to mending ties with our allies and laid out some suggestions for how President Biden could highlight this tool in his approach. I held a discussion at the end of the semester where I shared my work and had an open discourse with other students.  

How did interning with your CBM and participating in the Emerging Leaders Program help shape your career interests, and what’s next for you? 

Interning with my CBM opened my eyes to the importance of cultural diplomacy. It also allowed me to gain perspective on the value of cross-cultural connections and how important they are for our globalized world. The Emerging Leaders Program allowed me to make connections with like-minded peers and to learn about other career options in the international relations space. My career trajectory shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic when the issue of racial justice was highlighted on a national scale. I decided that I wanted to enact change through civil rights law. I am currently pursuing a legal career and am waiting to hear back from law schools. International law is something that interests me, and I will carry the valuable communication skills and perspective I gained about the value of different opinions and ideas from my CBM and Emerging Leaders experience with me.  

Olivia (left) presents her research findings outdoors on the beach. Photo provided by Olivia Rovin.

What stands out as a highlight of your work with the Global Ties Network?  

A highlight from my Global Ties Network experience is when I helped my CBM design and implement a program for a group of law enforcement officials from Mexico that was sponsored by Global Ties U.S. I really enjoyed the process of researching and crafting the program’s itinerary, meeting the participants, and seeing the whole program through.  

Why do you think professional development programs like the Emerging Leaders Program is important? Any advice for those just starting out in the field? 

I think it is important to find internships and/or programs to get connected with people in the international relations space. The youth of this country are such a valuable asset. By cultivating a group of diverse, talented, and globally focused young professionals, the United States is investing in its future leaders, scholars, and professionals who will ultimately be in charge of the country’s future.