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School of Diplomacy and International Relations

National Security Fellowship Welcomed Lobbyist Keith Pemrick  

Keith PemrickOn Tuesday, March 1, 2022, the graduate student National Security Fellowship research team welcomed Mr. Keith Pemrick. Mr. Pemrick graciously shared professional career-based advice as a current professor at American University and as cofounder and managing partner at Commonwealth Strategic Partners. He also drew from his experience as a legislative director for former congressman Tim Holden and as campaign manager for the Denny Wolff for Congress campaign.

In a field of work often misunderstood and unfamiliar, Mr. Pemrick was able to draw on his 8 years of experience with the Commonwealth Strategic Partners as a lobbyist and with American University as an adjunct professor to share stories and advice with students. Mr. Pemrick explained how contract lobbyists represent clients in all but a few spaces, primarily to represent their interests before Congress to accomplish their clients' objectives. To further illustrate how lobbying works, an area that many NSF students were curious to learn more about, Mr. Pemrick gave a bit of a crash course, on how he became involved, some background on the legislative process, and how public policy works.

The students asked Mr. Pemrick whether it is more common to go from government into lobbying or vice versa, to which he stated that more commonly people gain experience in the public sector first before entering into lobbying. He also explained that when he co-founded his firm, he and his partner agreed not to work in certain spaces, but that being a bipartisan firm means working with the client to see their objectives through despite personal beliefs.

This year, the NSF was tasked by the U.S. Department of State with researching the U.S. and Pakistan relationship and finding what initiatives the Department of State could utilize to improve relations not just between our two countries but also between India and the entire Indo-Pacific region. Together, students worked to identify some key areas to leverage the relationship including strategic messaging, public diplomacy, defense opportunities, and energy initiatives. To help students in their research, mentoring fellow Mr. Mirghahari utilized his network of connections to invite a series of speakers, who generously shared their time and expertise with the students in their respective fields.

The NSF began its fifth year with the largest cohort of first and second-year graduate fellows. NSF applies the academic knowledge of coursework at the School of Diplomacy along with students' previous research experience, to prepare and present an analytical project before several key governmental agencies. Under the guidance of alumnus and Department of Defense consultant Mohamad Mirghahari, students work together to analyze the provided problem set and provide policy recommendations to address areas of U.S. influence. The NSF is working to finalize its report to be presented to the State Department and other agencies later this year.

To learn more about the National Security Fellowship, click here.

Categories: Nation and World

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