Liam Conrad

St. Edmond School/Fort Dodge, Iowa

My goal in life is to help make the world a better place. I know, unoriginal. However, throughout my life and my various experiences, I have narrowed this goal down to helping bridge the gap between people in all corners of the globe, creating a more loving and caring environment for all through my potential career as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO).

I came to this goal of being an FSO through numerous experiences, mainly dealing with islamophobia. During my Sophomore year of high school, my aunt hosted a Foreign Exchange student, a muslim from Tunisia in North Africa. I don’t want to say that I was islamophobic before meeting her, but I definitely had my misconceptions. Throughout that year, I learned a lot about her and her background. By the end of the year, I had not only gained a new best friend, but also an appreciation for the world and all its people.

This love of the world continued into the summer following my Sophomore year. I was on a trip with my French class to France. It was my first trip outside of North America and I was very excited to see more of the world. However, during our trip the unthinkable happened. On our second day in France, Bastille Day 2016, a truck plowed into a crowd of people gathered to watch fireworks in Nice, France. Our class was there on the road. Luckily, we all made it out physically unharmed, but we all left with deep mental scars. What followed that attack was terrible islamophobia and it deeply disturbed me. Yes, the man that drove the bus was a muslim. However, my friend was also a muslim, and countless other muslims were killed on the street that day. I knew muslims were hurt by this just as much as I was, and their religion was not to blame.

The islamophobia following the Nice Attack led me to think of ways that I could end this viewpoint. This led me to consider a career in the US Foreign Service. A FSO is an american ambassador either in Washington or abroad. They work not only with the host country, protecting and promoting American interests and democracy, but also with the US promoting the host country. They work to end stereotypes and fear on both sides of conflicts.

In order to become a FSO, my plan is to major in International Relations. I also plan on minoring in French, and possibly Arabic. This will give me the skills I need to effectively communicate with people different than me. The education I will receive these next few years will prepare me to be able to move abroad and work at embassies.

The world is a big place with millions of different people, but that doesn’t mean that we should all alienate ourselves from one another. My goal is to work together with people different than myself in order to create a kinder world. I plan to achieve this through my major in International Relations with a minor in French and Arabic. With hard work and dedication, I believe that I can be an effective diplomat.