October 3, 2019
The School of World Studies not only taught 2013 graduate Jamshid Bakhtiari how to “be diplomatic” and “communicate with large, diverse groups” but also “brought a social justice awareness to [his] career.”
Bakhtiari double majored in International Studies concentrating in Social Justice and Political Science concentrating in Civil and Human Rights. He also minored in Religious Studies. While his two majors do overlap in themes and coursework, Bakhtiari differentiates International Studies for its “larger emphasis on culture.” Both majors helped “open [his] mind to things happening in the world now.”
Bakhtiari described the importance of his close relationships with School of World Studies faculty. He credits our professors for helping him “realize [his] full potential” such as by encouraging him to pursue an advanced degree tuition-free at United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. He obtained a Master of Arts in International Law and Human Rights in 2016.
Furthermore, our experiential learning opportunities gave Bakhtari insights which guided his career trajectory. Through his internship with Richmond Peace Education Center, he saw firsthand “how small nonprofits operate.” He later volunteered as a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild where he gained hard skills that he continues to use in paid positions he’s held since such as coordinating and training other volunteers.
Bakhtiari’s professional path has been shaped by the social justice values and communication skills he developed at the School of World Studies. Now a community organizer with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Bakhtiari works to dismantle systems which “keep people in cycles of poverty.” He’s previously worked as a field coordinator with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network where he helped organize volunteers around policy issues. Bakhtiari credits his time at the School of World Studies as “an amazing experience which led to where [he is] now.”