Atal Ahmadzai is a Ph.D. candidate at the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University. His concentration is in global public policy and his dissertation is focused on international transboundary water conflicts. He also teaches courses, namely Human Security and Politics of Development at Seton Hall and Rutgers Universities, respectively.

My Experience with ASPA:

Having the chance to present paper on an international stage is a unique opportunity for students, young scholars and practitioners. ASPA membership provides young scholars with numerous such professional opportunities. I joined ASPA in April 2016 and in July I was given the opportunity to present my paper, “Evaluation Function of the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda: Its Technical Challenges and Political Sensitivities,” at the fifth annual International Young Scholars Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop provided an inimitable international platform for young scholars of diverse academic disciplines to present and improve their papers.

The workshop was innovative and unique in two ways. First, its design was instrumental in providing a dynamic and interactive collaboration between young and senior scholars of relevant disciplines. Designated senior scholars reviewed and offered critiques of young scholars’ work before, during and, in some cases, after the workshop. Second, the workshop was an international stage for young scholars to explore different perspectives within their areas of concentration. Young scholars from different parts of the world connected to share their academic endeavors with each other.

My paper is focused on a global developmental agenda. By selecting the paper to be presented in a public policy forum, ASPA acknowledged the emerging pattern of converging domestic and global public policies. The workshop was instrumental in its technical capacity for offering me expert-level critique and comments on the relevant aspects of my paper, including evaluation and development. In addition, the workshop gave me the chance to explore different perspectives on the importance, challenges and prospect of a global developmental agenda. For example, scholars and practitioners from the Republic of South Africa who attended the workshop were keen to discuss the shortfalls and challenges of the Millennium Agenda in Africa. The feedback from the workshop was crucially useful for my paper and its potential publication.

Finally, ASPA membership is unique in offering a broad based national and international professional network of relevant academia, practitioners and fellow young scholars in the field of public policy and other disciplines.