Guided by a genuine passion for intercultural exchange and diplomacy, Nicholas Shafer is committed to pursuing a career centered around service and international relations. He is graduating from University of California, Berkeley with dual B.A. degrees in Anthropology and Arabic Language and Literature with minors in Public Policy and Global Studies, and has spent his final year dually enrolled at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad in Amman, Jordan, where he completed advanced level Arabic coursework as a David L. Boren Scholar. He is also a proud graduate of Foothill College, where he focused on political science and anthropology, and is deeply passionate about destigmatizing community college educational pathways in American society.
Coming from a monolingual household in Menlo Park, CA, Nicholas discovered his passion for languages and international relations through Spanish and has continued to study Arabic, French, and Hebrew. He has spent three of the last six years living in Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Israel, and Jordan. While at UC Berkeley, Nicholas has advocated for the campus transfer student, anthropology, and Middle Eastern studies communities. In addition to serving as the President of the Anthropology Undergraduate Association and the Director of External Relations for the Re-Entry and Transfer Student Association, he has held leadership and mentorship positions at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Center for Jewish Law and Israeli Studies.
Concurrently with his on-campus activities, Nicholas has also pursued his interests in international relations, global education, and effective diplomacy through internships with the State Department in Algeria, the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, and the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco. Additionally, since 2018, Nicholas has served as a program manager and trip leader for the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Program in the Middle East and has led more than 50 undergraduate students on month-long educational trips to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Oman, and the UAE. In recognition of these activities on and off campus, he received a UC Berkley Leadership Award and the McCown Prize, given to the most outstanding member of the Anthropology graduating class, and was also a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in Fall 2019.
Ultimately, Nicholas hopes to explore the role of innovation in diplomatic statecraft and promote a nuanced, fresh foreign policy towards the Middle East in a shifting international landscape. He aspires to serve in the trenches of American diplomacy and foreign affairs and hopes to complete graduate studies in public and international policy. As a Gardner Fellow, he is hoping to get an understanding of the policymaking process and to directly work with an organization that focuses on coalition building, peacebuilding initiatives, and innovative approaches in foreign affairs.