Multilateral and multi-talented
Ecuadorian career diplomat Daniela Garcia is only two-thirds of the way through her Canberra posting, but she is already onto her second graduate degree: having completed a Masters of Public Policy at the ANU Crawford School, she recently started the Master of National Security Policy (Advanced) at the National Security College.
“In my career I’ve already covered multilateral trade negotiations, thus I wanted to expand my knowledge into the political arena, where national security is core,” she says. “I had a look at the prospect of the Master of National Security Policy, and all the topics were at the forefront of the field, of which cybersecurity is one of my interests.”
The structure of classes, including the emphasis on discussion, is something that Daniela values highly about her course. She particularly enjoys having the opportunity to bring her own experiences into the classroom.
“I find it’s very interesting how the topics are presented. All the discussions we have in class are part of the present debates in the international security agenda. I find that useful, and also I hope that I’ll be able to translate all the knowledge that I’m acquiring into applicable public policy through my career.
“I also want to contribute to debates about topics relevant to Latin America, and that’s what’s great about the Masters. You can acquire knowledge, but it’s also a space to contribute, and I feel that the professors are very happy to let you contribute to the courses. They want your opinion. There are more discussions than lectures, which is great.”
The NSC’s location in Canberra and the connections that come with it is another major asset, Daniela believes. “Canberra is a very liveable city, and also the NSC has strong connections with government. Being in the capital gives you a lot of advantages, because we have lectures and conferences with really top representatives from think tanks and government departments. Being able to learn from people with experience makes a difference.
“It’s the perfect mix. ANU as one of the highest ranked in the world, exceeds your expectations on every academic aspect. Also, you have this access to experienced diplomats, politicians and scholars. I don’t think other universities in other cities would give you the opportunities or the access the NSC gives you. It’s really valuable.”
Daniela is both working full time and studying full time in order to finish her degree before the end of her posting. After she leaves Canberra she plans to return to Ecuador to work in multilateralism.
“After I joined the diplomatic service I spent five years working in multilateral trade negotiations, also had the opportunity to work as a junior negotiator for our trade negotiations with Turkey,” she says. “My current posting deals with bilateral issues, where I’m in charge of the economic and consular areas, thus I hope that later on, I can go back to multilateralism, but this time in relation to the UN. I am an optimist on global cooperation.”
Daniela believes that her NSC degree will serve her well throughout her career. “I am glad I can study in a such a prestigious College,” she says. “All the knowledge that I’m acquiring here is instrumental for my work as a diplomat, to better serve my country and to contribute to generating more research about Latin America.”