By Pierce Lowary (class of 2021)
Pierce is studying Computer Science (planning an individually-designed major in cyber and international security) and minoring in Iranian Studies. He is currently interning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Washington D.C.
There are a few experiences in your life which you can confidently describe as life-changing; whether they change your views of the world, your perception of yourself or others, your outlook on your life, your plans for the future, etc. Certainly, if an experience or event has an indelible impact on one of these elements of yourself, it is memorable; perhaps, if it impacts more than one, it is unforgettable. But it is very rare, I would contend, for an experience to impact all of these, where what you do speaks so strongly to who and why you are that you are changed for good. Yet in Washington this summer, after only three full weeks, I can assuredly state that my experience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is doing just that.
I had always known that half of my family hailed from Iran. Yet, having never been to Iran, it was difficult to conceptualize the present situation in the country; trapped as it is underneath a stiflingly repressive, unyielding regime that brutalizes and plunders its own people. Through my work assisting Prof. Karim Sadjadpour, I have had the chance to research the country’s Supreme Leader, its domestic situation, as well as its relations with the United States in a time of unprecedented pressure. In only three weeks, I have learned much about everything from the Islamic Republic’s origins, ideology, and its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to Iran’s present-day economy and American relations with the country in the midst of a moment of great change and uncertainty. Yet even as I have learned so much, it has also at times been quite difficult to continue reading when the topic turns to, for example, the regime’s rampant corruption and heinous crimes against its citizens. Still, I am grateful for the opportunity to work at the Carnegie Endowment under Prof. Sadjadpour and contribute to a better future of peace, liberty and prosperity between the United States and the Iranian people.
There is nothing more motivating than being able to wake up every morning in the commission of a higher cause, realizing that, though great challenges lie ahead, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to confront and confound them. I am eager to continue exploring once I return to campus and to employ what I learn here in a future of service.