applying to the International Master Security, Intelligence & Strategic Studies
My name is Cassandra van Diemen, I am in the final semester of my BA in International Studies at Leiden University and I aspire to pursue a career in which I can address the often-overlooked issues that women face in conflict situations and work towards international gender equality. My main motivation for applying to the International Master Security, Intelligence & Strategic Studies is the opportunity to reconcile my long-standing interests in security and gender, and the unique opportunity to pursue a degree in an international multi-university environment. I am interested in pursuing Pathway A, which would allow me to follow elective courses on gender and political terrorism.
International Studies is an interdisciplinary programme which has provided me with a well-rounded education including courses on global history, research methods, economics, cultural studies, sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. This programme has allowed me to form a uniquely critical and socio-cultural perspective on security issues, in which I have further distinguished myself by pursuing my interests in terrorism and gender.
I have pursued my passion for gender in relation to safety and security issues in many aspects of my life. This interest originated with the books of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and has guided me in my academic engagements. I have written a research paper on the exacerbated effects of mining in the Peruvian Andes on women and I am currently writing my thesis on the role of machismo culture in Latin America in regional experiences of gender-based violence and femicide. Extracurricularly, I have also engaged in activities related to gender and women's rights. As an active member of our study organization BASIS, I was elected for the role of President of the North America Committee during my first and second year of university. With this committee I organized and coordinated several events including a discussion on the role of women in U.S. politics. In 2019, I volunteered in the organization of International Women's Week, organized by the municipality of The Hague.
During my studies I pursued the 'Historical Study of Terrorism' elective for which I wrote an essay on the Fuerzas Armadas (FARC) in Colombia. I have also produced a research paper on the philosophical justifiability of terrorism in the elective course 'Philosophical Perspectives on Global Issues'. Building further on these interests I have recently completed the minor 'Security, Safety and Justice', a collaborative programme between Leiden University and the Technical University of Delft. In this programme I completed and actively engaged in courses such as 'Terrorism and Counterterrorism', 'Security and Technology', and 'Research Methods in Crisis and Security Management'. It is during this programme that I experienced the value of a multi-university programme.
I have recently made the first step in my desired career path by doing an internship at Gender Concerns International. During my internship I assumed the title of 'Coordinator of the Women, Peace and Security Programme', in which I worked on several projects such as the construction of the fourth Dutch National Action Plan for the UN 1325 resolution on the rights of women and children in conflict situations.
My studies and extracurricular engagements have prepared me for a successful academic and professional career and the IMSISS programme would support me in my future career development by allowing me to specialize on the topics of terrorism and gender, and by providing me with the opportunity for self-development and enrichment that this international multi-university environment would pose. It would be a great honour to partake in the IMSISS programme and work towards the goal of gender equality.