Afeeya Akhand

Research Intern, Foreign Policy and Defence Program

Afeeya Akhand

Afeeya Akhand

    Afeeya Akhand is a Research Intern with the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre.

    What is your educational background?

    I am currently studying a Master of International Security at the University of Sydney with a specialisation in Korean language. I previously completed undergraduate Bachelor degrees in Law Honours and Finance at the Australian National University. I also spent a semester in South Korea studying Korean language at the University of Seoul.

    What have you been working on in your time here at the USSC?

    I have worked on research tasks under the direction of various team members in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program. So far, I have researched the role of the US alliance in Australia’s sovereign long-range missile capability, Australian perspectives on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as costings associated with Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. For the academic side of the program, I am currently researching the extent to which the Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy interacts with, and contributes to, the US strategy of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region.

    How did the internship at USSC helped you in your career pathway?

    I originally became interested in international policy and national security through my experiences working in the Federal government and government consulting sectors. This was my motivation returning to university to study a Master of International Security. In particular, I applied for this internship to complement my previous work experience and current studies. Interning as part of the program has also helped me to fully appreciate the role that think tanks play in discourse surrounding current affairs and issues, whether that be through policy papers, op-eds or webinars. Interning in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the USSC has helped enhance my understanding of US foreign policy and the Australia-US alliance with respect to key issues such as capability procurement, AUKUS, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. I used this knowledge to inform my perspective when co-authoring policy recommendations for Australia’s first youth-led national security strategy. Furthermore, the internship provided me with practical experience in policy research. The research notes I prepared helped to hone my skills relating to finding credible sources, synthesising information, and writing clearly. After I finish my Masters, I hope to use my USSC experience to continue to build my career in the research and policy space.

    What are your thoughts on being a Global Voices Scholar, and what responsibilities does it entail?

    Being selected as a 2022 Global Voices Scholar has been a valuable opportunity to increase my experience in policymaking and international relations. Motivated by my brief stints in the Department of Defence and a government consultancy, I am writing a policy paper about increasing multicultural leadership in the Australian Public Service. As part of the Global Voices Scholarship, I will also attend the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC this October as an Australian youth delegate. I have been keeping an eye on news relating to the global economy, international development, and financial markets in preparation for when I sit in on various events and talks. One of my undergraduate degrees is in Finance, so I should probably refresh my academic knowledge as well!