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A Passion for Politics

May 23, 2016

Jasmine Elshear

By David Henne 
Originally published in the Spring 2016 edition of SJCNY, St. Joseph's College Magazine

It’s a facet of SJC Brooklyn that has lasted 100 years: Each graduating class boasts some of the brightest and hardest working young people in the country. Students who are unquestionably destined for success. 

This spring’s graduating class will be no different, thanks in large part to Jasmine Elshear ’16. Currently battling hard to preserve her 4.0 GPA, Jasmine complemented her studies at SJC with internship opportunities at the United Nations in New York and within her native Egypt.

During her time with the UN, Jasmine participated in the World Humanitarian Day in Cairo and worked on the youth platform for the World Humanitarian Summit last May in Turkey. Now a year removed from her latest internship, Jasmine still is sought after by the UN to assist as an on-call worker for high-profile events.

“Actually, this time it’s paid, so that’s a good thing,” Jasmine said. “I’m helping out with the EAT Forum, which is an event on sustainable nutrition. It’s a really high-level event — they had Bill Clinton speak. Yesterday, I was doing the invitations going out to heads of state and ambassadors.”


Jasmine at the United Nations

After completing her internship last year, Jasmine Elshear '16 continues to assist at the United Nations offices in Manhattan


One of those on the guest list was Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi. “My mother told me to include a personal note to him,” Jasmine said. “I didn’t think I should.”

It’s not an unreasonable request, considering how intimate Jasmine is with the political landscape of Egypt. In 2013, she left her home in Queens to return to Egypt during a time of political upheaval to take part in the countrywide revolution and protests. It was then that she found her passion for political science.

“In 2013, [Egypt] had a revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s the one I took part in,” Jasmine says. “My family lives in Alexandria, and that’s where it was all going on. We had protests all over Egypt. When I came back, I decided to do political science at St. Joseph’s.”

Jasmine’s arrival at SJC wasn’t quite as illustrious as her international travels. Before she was protesting and posting invitations to presidents, Jasmine transferred to SJC Brooklyn from NYIT on a teacher’s recommendation.

“I came to an SJC open house and I liked the school because it was intimate,” Jasmine said. “Then, I met all these amazing professors, such as Professor [Kenneth] Bauzon and Professor [Raymond] D’Angelo — my adviser — and Professor [Christopher] Dekki.”

“In 2013, [Egypt] had a revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s the one I took part in,” Jasmine says. “My family lives in Alexandria, and that’s where it was all going on. We had protests all over Egypt. When I came back, I decided to do political science at St. Joseph’s.”

Thankfully for Jasmine, the social sciences faculty at SJC was available to take full advantage of her unique story and experiences, helping her obtain the elite internship opportunities at the UN and flourish in and out of the classroom. “Through Professor Dekki,” she said, “I was able to get my first internship at the UNGLS: Non-Governmental Liaison Services in New York, and through connections at the first internship, I was able to get the second one [UN OCHA: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] in Cairo.”

Jasmine’s options have multiplied with the completion of her UN internship study. She credited these life-changing opportunities to the hard work of Professor Dekki. “He’s a magnificent professor, and he’s very caring to students,” she said. “If you hold on to the opportunity that he gives you, you can get great things out of it.”

And Professor Dekki emphasizes the value of students like Jasmine. “She has managed to impress people at all levels of the United Nations System all over the world,” Dekki said, “from representatives of UN agencies that work on stakeholder engagement to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She is not only smart and talented, but also totally dedicated to the work she has been doing with me at the UN.”

Jasmine recently obtained a part-time job at the Global Policy Forum, a UN watchdog. But it’s the academic challenges of the classroom she loves most. “After graduation I want to get my master’s in International Relations and Human Rights,” she said. “My ultimate plan is to become a professor, earn my Ph.D. I’d like to do international work. I’d like to move back to Egypt once I’m done with my master’s.”