For as long as Daniel Moon ’15 can remember, he’s been drawn to diplomacy.
“I believe there’s an altruistic value to it, regardless of how slow and frustrating it can sometimes be,” Moon says. “It represents an alternative path to interstate conflict and violence.”
Moon will follow that path for the next two years as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. He is among 20 graduate students selected by the U.S Department of State and The Washington Center to help to “reflect the excellence and diversity of the U.S. to the world.”
Moon will intern at The State Department in Washington, D.C., and at a U.S. embassy the next two summers while he’s in graduate school before joining the Foreign Service and working overseas.
“I believe the Foreign Service is a great opportunity for learning and self-growth,” says Moon, of Rockville, Md., who majored in political science and minored in Japanese while at Swarthmore. “It’s full of smart, talented, and dedicated officers and I look forward to working with them.”
Fellows receive two years of financial support, professional development, and mentoring to help prepare them for a career in the Foreign Service. That financial support allowed Moon to commit to enrolling at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he will study international law and organizations beginning in the fall.
“This was definitely welcome news,” says Moon, who has been working as an analyst for a corporate consulting firm in Reston, Va. “I was pretty stoked.”
The State Department and Washington Center selected its 20 graduate and 10 undergraduate students for this year from a broad range of ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds. Each was selected for their leadership skills and academic achievement.
The fellows have also studied, lived, or worked overseas, in countries ranging from Ecuador to Oman to Japan. Moon grew up in South Korea through middle school and lived and studied in Kyoto, Japan, through the Kyoto Consortium of Japanese Studies in Fall 2013.
“I believe that studying Japanese and Japanese culture expanded my outlook on life in such a way that allowed me to become more accepting of different perspectives, and approach different lifestyles with humility and an open mind,” Moon says in a Q&A with Swarthmore’s Japanese program.
Moon says he has his own “ideas and ponderings” about what the Foreign Service is going to be like, but that he doesn’t “want to build it up too much before the job starts.” What he is sure of, though, is his excitement to get back inside the classroom.
“I suspect a good number of current Swarthmore students will think I’ve lost it,” he says. “But, believe me, time away from school makes you miss learning for the sake of learning.”