Matt Kirwin, who earned his master’s degree in international affairs from Ohio University and now works at the U.S. State Department, will be the keynote speaker for “The International Studies Professional in Today’s World” event.

Matt Kirwin, who earned his master’s degree in international affairs from Ohio University and now works at the U.S. State Department, will be the keynote speaker for “The International Studies Professional in Today’s World” event.

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Center for International Studies alumni, including U.S. State Department official, to speak on Athens Campus


An upcoming special event will bring several Ohio University Center for International Studies alumni, including one U.S. State Department official, back to campus to speak with students and offer advice.

On Friday, Feb. 17, the Center for International Studies will host “The International Studies Professional in Today’s World” from 1 to 5 p.m. in Baker University Center. The day’s events will begin with the Alumni Panel from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center Multipurpose Room. It will be followed by a reception from 2:30 to 3 p.m. in the Honors Collegium.

The keynote address, which will begin at 3 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom A, will feature Matt Kirwin, Ph.D. He is the division chief of the Division of Africa and the Americas, Office of Opinion Research, Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. State Department.

Kirwin began working for the U.S. State Department in 2010 and has covered the Sahel and Nigeria as an analyst. He has been awarded the Superior Honor and the Meritorious Honor for his work.

He earned his master’s degree in international affairs from Ohio University, his Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University and his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University. He also conducted fieldwork in Burkina Faso as a Fulbright Scholar and is fluent in Hausa and French.

The Alumni Panel will feature four additional outstanding OHIO graduates who will discuss their careers, provide advice and answer questions from students.

The panelists will include:

  • Richard Kraince, an associate professor of cooperative education at Antioch College, where he concentrates on the role of the university in social change as both a scholar and an educator. He conducts research on the relationships between social movements and educational reform in Indonesia, Malaysia and southern Thailand. He recently held posts such as research professor and academic coordinator at El Colegio de México, where he taught graduate level courses on contemporary movements, social research methods and the political sociology of Islam.
  • Jocelyn Probasco, a volunteer specialist at the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. The 2014 OHIO graduate served as an Americorps member in 2014, collecting stories from Ohio residents whose lives were impacted by Medicaid and the healthcare policy changes. She currently helps impoverished Columbus residents regain food eligibility in compliance with state law while using cultural competencies to encourage clients to advocate for themselves.
  • Abukar Sanei, the founder and acting director of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CfPAR), based in Columbus, Ohio. Abukar earned his master’s degree in international studies from Ohio University and his bachelor’s degree in international studies from Ohio State University.
  • Sonita Uijt de Haag, a human resources liaison at Ohio University, where she serves as a strategic human resources business partner for the Provost's office, President's office, Office of Information Technology and University College. She previously spent more than 10 years at technology start-ups, including serving as the director of operations and human resources for Ecolibrium Solar, which grew from seed to $30 million in sales in five years.

All of the events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Center for International Studies at 740-593-1840 or International.studies@ohio.edu.

This article was provided by the Center for International Studies.