BY LAMA ABDEL BARR
We have all faced the daunting question of what we are going to be when we ‘grow up’. After picking our respective majors and finishing our four years of education, we are let loose into the real world. The Independent investigates life after AUC.
Meet Kareem Mokhtar, known as ‘KMokhtar’ on Twitter. Mokhtar graduated in Spring 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a double concentration in international relations and public and international law, and a double minor in history and theater.
Mokhtar now works in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is an international tribunal based in The Netherlands. It deals primarily with the prosecution procedures for the four political figures that were assassinated in Lebanon in 2005, most notably ex-Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
He explains that he got the job by sending out his CV everywhere until he got an internship in the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), which is also based in the Netherlands.
Mokhtar believes that AUC was a great asset when it came to acquiring research skills. “My work at STL is basically legal research in which I use some of the same databases as those in the AUC library.” He adds that his international law courses helped him write memos and legal briefs.
However, he stresses that there is more to university than academics. “Be social – don’t drown yourself in studying.” Often times it is not just the work inside the office that matters, but also the interaction with fellow employees outside of work. Socializing provides an opportunity to network and gives the chance to make important connections.
“Don’t take life too seriously, try to get involved in many extracurricular activities and fully invest yourself in them,” he continues, adding that these extracurricular activities provided him with invaluable social skills.
He also explains how his interaction with people from different backgrounds prepared him for the international atmosphere at his workplace. Dealing with the different types of people at AUC helped him gain the skills necessary in “catering to everyone’s culture and tradition.”
Model United Nations (MUN), was one of Mokhtar’s favorite extracurricular activities, and was he
president of the General Assembly during his last academic year at AUC. He attributes his interest in politics to his MUN experiences, and encourages students to join.
Mokhtar expressed his disapproval with the CAPS office, commenting that the CAPS office fails to “project or expose students to opportunities outside Egypt.” He still recommends keeping as much contact with them as possible, as “sometimes they do have exclusive opportunities with big companies.”
He adds that he believes professors provide the most help for students on campus. They are “good sources for providing exposure to scholarships and internships abroad.” He advises students to get their recommendation letters as early as they can, as “most professors have more important things to do after the academic year ends.”
Dealing with professors on a social level is also important in Mokhtar’s eyes. He believes that his interactions with professors have helped him deal with people of senior positions at his current occupation.
“Look outside your comfort zone. It’s that simple. Try to go abroad…It will open more possibilities.” Mokhtar concludes.
Mokhtar looks forward to obtaining his master’s degree, particularly at the UN Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute in Italy, which is very specialized in a widely recognized master’s degree program in International Crime and Justice.