Hassan Hassen '18 named Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow

by Peter Charalambous | 5/16/17 2:32am

Hassan Hassen ’18 was recently named a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Semiars. The program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department, provides a group of 10 undergraduate students and 20 graduate students the opportunity to gain foreign service experience through internships and education stipends.

The fellowship, named in honor of longtime foreign diplomat Thomas R. Pickering, allows participants to work two funded summer internships, one at the State Department’s domestic office in Washington, D.C. and another abroad at an overseas embassy. The program also provides mentoring from a foreign service officer and $37,500 annually for two years of study in a field related to foreign service. The State Department offers employment to fellows who complete all the requirements of the program.

“My interest in foreign affairs goes hand in hand with my longstanding interests in U.S. politics and international relations,” Hassen wrote in an email statement. “Having the opportunity to pursue these passions at such a young age is something that will set a solid foundation for the rest of my career.”

The son of a Somali and Ethiopian refugees, Hassen grew up in Austell, a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia. A tinkerer as a child, Hassen would deconstruct electronics like consoles and televisions, which helped increase his interest in engineering. However, as he progressed as a student, he became more interested in politics. That interest in politics eventually fostered his interest in foreign service.

“My parents are very happy that I’m able to leverage my passions in a manner that has led to such great opportunities,” he wrote.

During the summer before his senior year at South Cobb High School, Hassen attended Dartmouth Bound, a program that allows high school students from historically underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to preview college life and learn about the college application progress. During this visit, Hassen wrote that he “fell in love with the campus.” After his senior year of high school, Hassen arrived in Dartmouth in the fall of 2014, joining two of his siblings at the College. Ridwan Hassen ’15 was the first member of the Hassen family to arrive in Hanover, and he went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Halimo Hassen ’17, graduated a year early and continued her studies at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar.

“We are just really supportive of each other’s goals and are always looking to share opportunities, insight and advice,” Hassen wrote about his siblings. “We all work very hard and just want to see each other succeed.”

On campus, Hassen has been involved with Dartmouth’s First Year Student Enrichment Program. Hassen has been involved with this program throughout his time at Dartmouth, first as a participant and later as a peer mentor. He also has worked with the program to create more opportunities for low-income students such as a program that provides students with tickets to cultural experiences at the Hopkins Center. Because of his work on that project, around 220 students have been able to participate in events at the Hopkins Center despite initial financial barriers, according to FYSEP director Jay Davis ’90.

Through this program, Hassen was able to interact with Davis, who also served as a mentor for Hassen throughout his Dartmouth career.

“I’ve always admired [Hassan’s] compassion, fierce commitment to social justice and sly sense of humor,” Davis said. “It’s a nice combination for a person.”

On campus, Hassen has also been involved with the Rockefeller Center and the Tuck School of Business.

“The people I engaged with, and the skills that I’ve learned through these programs, were invaluable,” he said.

Through the Rockefeller Center, He has participated in both the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behavior Program and the Management Leadership Development Program.

“The best thing about MLDP, and I think this applies to [Hassan], is that it gives you the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership,” said Eric Janisch, a program officer for co-curricular programs for the Rockefeller Center. “I think allowing him to reflect on the attributes that he really enjoys in leadership and what he wants to improve on was what he got out of [the program].”

Hassen plans to graduate this June, completing his studies in only three years. He will also participate in the Tuck Bridge Program over this upcoming summer and take part in an internship with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management as a summer analyst. He plans to attend graduate school and eventually pursue a career in foreign service that centers on international trade, energy policy and economic development.

“I think Dartmouth should be particularly proud of [Hassan] because he is exceptionally accomplished and also exceptionally kind and humane as a person, and that is the kind of graduate that we should be producing,” Davis said.