The requirement is as follows: The Statement of Intent accompanying the application should describe your areas of interest and experience as explicitly as possible and should list the faculty with whom you wish to study.
The genesis of my intense quest for peace studies, which has now evolved into a firm conviction, dates back to September 2008 when I was assigned to look after peacekeeping and peacebuilding in the United Nations as Bangladesh delegate. While dealing with intergovernmental process, I had been involved day and night negotiations for devising appropriate mandates and effective operational guidelines for successful peacekeeping operations. I, however, noted that the success of the UN mediation and peace enforcement has been blemished by devastating failures in many post conflict countries. In countries such as Angola in 1993 and in Rwanda in 1994, severe and tragic violence happened after the negotiation of the peace agreement. In fact, roughly 50 percent of the countries that emerged from war had lapsed back into violence within five years. I was searching on how the efficacy of about US$ 8 billion spent in a year for peacekeeping is being translated for establishing sustainable peace in conflicting zones. In searching for answer to that question, I started doing research on peacebuilding. I have gone through most of the literature to find an unequivocal response to the need of post conflict countries. I was perplexed to see that both political and academic realms are divided into two clubs-one prioritizing on security and political aspects while the other is confined within the development activities. The proponent of security agenda concede that once security umbrella is set, any microscopic development would add value towards sustenance of peace. Without security, all exercises will be futile as the unsecured or perceived unsecured parties will resort to violent means for their short term benefits. On the other hand, the proponents of development work align themselves with the proverb "A hungry man is an angry man" and therefore, they believe that without development support, people will resort to whatever means they have for survival. They focus on the bottom line of Abraham Maslow's need hierarchy that people look for physiological needs first, then safety and security and then others.
I felt that the sustainable peace could be established by adopting an equilibrium approach in which the security related work and developmental activities will be addressed simultaneously. The protagonist of the approach will be community level or grass root people supported by international and national institutional framework. The interaction among international community and between international and national actors would yield conducive environment for the grass root people so that they can mobilize the embedded social capability to address their security and developmental needs with minimum assistance from national and international actors. In other words, it would be people centric model which will focus on inherent communal bond by mutually reinforcing needs of each other. Under this approach, a social stake for all will be created that would elevate their opportunity cost for involving into conflict and thus higher level of stake will work as strong deterrent to avoid relapse into conflict. The approach will start with initial group formation for immediate economic interests that would ultimately transcend over other basic necessities including health, education, sanitary, employment generation and security.
The research work for developing such model will be buttressed by my experience of voluntary community level work in Bangladesh, formidable academic achievement in accounting, human rights and international relations, and professional experience as a diplomat. In Bangladesh, I established two NGOs that have been working for rural distressed people. My first hand experience of community work suggests that if the dormant aspire of better could be roused among isolated community members, they themselves come forward to resolve their problems be it developmental or security related. Under those two NGOs, rural distressed people particularly rural women are now running household farms while arranging private security arrangement to protect livestock from burglary. In addition to that, I have had practical experience of working methods of other world famous NGOs such as Grameen Bank, BRAC and ASA.
In the realm of academic experience, Business studies at the Dhaka University have taught me about how to make the project self-sustaining and income generating, while the diploma on human rights and legal aid has educated me about the supremacy of inalienable rights of all human being. This academic knowledge was further strengthened by my Master of International Affairs from Australian National University that has taught me about different approaches of intergovernmental relations.
The voluntary experiences coupled with formidable blend of academic excellences have further been complemented by my professional experience in the field of diplomacy both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as in the United Nations at the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN, NY. In the Ministry, I have worked on implementation of financial rules and discipline, bilateral political engagement and multilateral desk for economic and political cooperation. I have also work on regionalism through the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN). In the UN, I have negotiated 2010 and 2011 reports of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34), I have been chairing the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Caucus in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and peacekeeping budget negotiations. I led the negotiations of NAM for 2010 review of the PBC architecture. At present, I am leading the NAM group on reviewing international civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict.
My interests in the Ph. D programme of Notre Dam peace studies emanated from my interaction with the professors of Kroc Institute in Oslo while attending a course preventive diplomacy in 2009. Their approach in peace negotiation, reconciliation and resolving conflict and the prominence of the institute and its faculty impressed me. Should be admitted, I would be interested in majoring Political Science and Peace Studies so that I can fit the people centric development approach into political process for establishing sustainable peace. I will be interested in working with Professors Robert C. Johansen, Alexandra Guisinger, George A. Lopez Daniel Philpott and Jessica Collett so that I can blend my project giving due emphasis on peacebuilding by addressing social inequality and causes of conflict.