A Kansas State University doctoral student in security studies participated in two workshops discussing nuclear issues hosted by former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretary of Defense William Perry.
Rabia Akhtar, a Fulbright scholar from Pakistan, was invited to participate in the US-Pakistan Roundtable September 3-5, 2014 and the Stanford Nuclear Meeting September 6-14, 2014 at Stanford University.
The US-Pakistan Roundtable brought together US and Pakistani participants to discuss issues related to the US-Pakistan economic relationship, military to military partnership, nuclear energy, terrorism and non-proliferation related issues. Participants shared ideas and developed strategies to improve the formal US-Pakistan relationship. Akhtar was invited to become part of the nuclear working group, where she interacted with senior bureaucrats, academicians and retired military personnel. She was the youngest and only female member of the group.
“This was an excellent learning and networking opportunity for me,” said Akhtar. “I was honored to have been invited to come be part of such an esteemed gathering. I am hoping that upon my return home next year [to Pakistan], I will continue to work with them on issues related to South Asian peace and stability.”
Akhtar was also part of a small group of young scholars work on nuclear issues during the Stanford Nuclear Meeting. Members of this group were selected from four generations of Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP) camp attendees. Akhtar attended the NPIHP, which is run by The Wilson Center, in May 2014.
“Meeting former Secretaries Shultz and Perry was the highlight of my experience,” said Akhtar. “They both have had illustrious careers and when they spoke to us it was like history speaking itself.”
Akhtar’s dissertation is an examination of the challenges of US nuclear nonproliferation policy towards Pakistan (during the course of its nuclear weapons development) under five US administrations, from Ford to Clinton (19702-1990s). She credits her dissertation research and involvement with the security studies program at K-State for her selection for the meetings.
“K-State’s security studies program is a unique inter-disciplinary PhD program that allows students to take courses from both political science and history to understand the issues related to national security and international affairs and world politics,” said Akhtar.