Saadat Musabaeva is a second-year MGA student from Kyrgyzstan. She was recently in Washington D.C. completing her field experience with the International Civil Society Action Network where she works with the Innovative Peace Fund. In her native Bishkek, Saadat experienced major revolutions and transformations affecting her country. In this Student Q&A, the student dives deeper into her current work and talks about how she is enjoying her experiences.
How is your field experience going?
Since July 2022, I have been interning with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) in Washington D.C.. I am supporting the Innovative Peace Fund (IPF) program, the pioneer multi-donor grant-making mechanism that supports grassroot women-led organizations in countries affected by violent conflict and extremism by providing them financial and technical assistance. My work includes assisting my team with various programmatic activities, including the support with project management, needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and research. My experience with IPF and ICAN has been very meaningful because every day I interact, work and learn from peace practitioners and professionals that help amplify the voices of women all over the world who are critical in building peace. Despite being excluded from the peace and security agenda, with ICAN’s help, women peacebuilders from grassroot organizations, with their passion and wisdom, strengthen their capacities and skills to continue addressing security-related issues in their local communities.
What are some of the biggest challenges during the internship?
One of the challenges is not being able to take classes and attend on-campus events. I also miss my friends and miss enjoying the beautiful campus. However, living in D.C. certainly offers its own attractions such as many networking opportunities, various cultural and social events, art scenes, free museums and parks and a lot of ethnic restaurants. With its rich history, D.C. is definitely one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. I would love to come back and live for longer in the future.
Why did you decide to study peace?
Born and raised in Kyrgyzstan, I have lived through and witnessed three major color revolutions in 2005, 2010 and 2020. My interest to study peace was sparked while witnessing the aftermath of mentioned conflicts from a very young age. For an eleven-year-old, it was beyond my comprehension why conflicts could not be resolved peacefully without hurting anyone.
How would you describe your experience with the Kroc Institute?
The Kroc Institute is well-known all over the world because it is one of the leading institutions to study peace. It provides great academic and professional resources to its students and supports them throughout the program and even beyond. In various settings, both professional and private, when I mention my affiliation with the Kroc, it always works in my favor. Its network of 1,900+ alumni peacebuilders is also another great resource for current students. Most of them work internationally and at all levels of society that contribute to building peace.
What is your dream career path?
I have always dreamed of working on the ground in a conflict zone; this way I could really grasp what peacebuilding on the ground is. Working with ICAN helps me see that because our partners work in countries affected by violence, crisis, and/or war.
Where do you see yourself on the Strategic Peacebuilding Wheel?
Before starting my Master’s degree, I would be on the Development part of the Peacebuilding Wheel. However, it might change in the future.
Any fun facts about you?
I am a musician by soul. I sing and play the piano and the guitar. When I am on the stage, I forget what happens around me because it is only me and music.