A native of Afghanistan, Jawed joined THINK Global School during our 2011 school year, where he experienced the ocean for the first time while in the Galápagos Islands, helped construct a school for members of the Palong hill tribe in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and took part in an epic Amazing Race across five major European cities to close the year. Jawed’s global mindedness and curiosity have only grown since that first year, and he now stands poised to make a lasting difference in the world of international finance.
Hi Jawed, it’s been almost five years since you graduated from THINK Global School. Can you tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating?
Greetings to the TGS community. Much has occurred since my graduation from TGS in Hiroshima in the spring of 2014. At this point, It’s strange to look back and realize that I have spent a longer time away from TGS than I did as a student (I only attended TGS for three years). To compress the last 5 years into a brief summary isn’t easy, but if I had to mention the highlights, it’d be the following: I finished my undergraduate degree last spring in International Political Economy from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; completed several internships around the States during my college years; and began a full-time research analyst position at the International Monetary Fund here in Washington, D.C. I work in the Middle East and Central Asia Department, where I cover a number of countries in the region.
Jawed and TGS Founder Joann McPike
Would you say your time as a student at THINK Global School prepared you for the real world? If so, in what ways? Are there any particular skills you learned at TGS that you still utilize today?
There is no doubt of any kind that my TGS experience prepared me in a realistic way for the real world, a statement that I am sure many of my classmates and other TGS-era peers would agree with. Even though we are coming up on a decade since TGS went from an idea to a reality, it is difficult to explain the entirety of what a TGS “experience” is for its community – students, faculty, parents, staff, and board members – because it is not a single dimensional journey. I think one of the most important skills that TGS provided me with was the ability to communicate effectively with people – whether in personal or professional life – and truly understand their positions. In today’s world where misunderstandings can have disastrous effects, TGS guides its students to not make any assumptions before walking into a room or conversation. It is this open-mindedness that enables TGS graduates to make eloquent statements and conscious expressions that connect them to their audience, through which a greater understanding of the world and its different cultures are exhibited and exemplified.
Now that you are roughly five years out from graduation, where do you see yourself in five years? Do you have any particular goals that you would like to have accomplished by 2024?
If someone asked me five years ago as to where I would be today, I would have laid out an elaborate plan. If they asked me today as to how things actually went, I think we’d both laugh as reality has deviated from my original plans. While the events in my life are not what I expected, I am glad they’ve gone in the direction of my principles and core values, and that is also where the TGS experience and the mentality it provides comes into picture: flexibility in life is important and crucial to growth. If we fight the current of the ocean, we are bound to drown. Career-wise five years from now, I would like to continue working in the international space (in whatever role that may be) and with actors in emerging markets because working in these somewhat unstructured environments create a lot of room for creativity and growth.
Jawed on his first day at the International Monetary Fund
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students on how to make the most of their own global experiences?
Experiences come in all shapes and forms. TGS brings in together students from all over the world, teenagers striving to become holistic human beings. As cliché as it may sound, you should embrace your surroundings and have respect for it. But above all, ask each other about your homes, cultures, families, parents, and broader communities. TGS itself and its community is rich with people from all walks of life. It is easy to forget about your own circle when you are exploring a new city; however, every individual at TGS is there because, on some level, they are able to connect with you and guide you. Some of my most memorable and impactful talks were with my advisor at TGS, Jarret.
Do you have a particular TGS experience that you still think about regularly (or just a favorite experience)? If so, what would it be?
One of my favorite experiences at TGS was our senior trip, during which we hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro. The ability to make the summit united as a team was a testament to the way we shared experiences over the course of years, as a single class and family. Since graduating from TGS in 2014, some of us have met in various venues around the world and we always reminisce about the journeys we shared with each other. In fact, we have even discussed the possibility of climbing Kilimanjaro again. Who knows, maybe we will one day.