Colin Colter, B.A. 2015

Student, Johns Hopkins SAIS, Masters International Relations

2015 Major: International Comparative Studies; minors in Turkish and Political Science

How has being an ICS graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"ICS took everything I thought I knew about the world and tore it to shreds. It taught me strategic doubt. I came to Duke because I wanted the ideal liberal arts education that would give me the tools to negotiate a complex, ambiguous, and troubled world, and ICS gave me exactly that experience. Because of that education, I did a fellowship for the United Nations after graduation, have worked in government and global affairs and now am doing a Masters in International Relations. I have lived in, worked in, or traveled through over thirty countries and have high intermediate proficiency in four languages. Most important, ICS taught me to navigate social and cultural structures the way an engineer might navigate an engine. It taught me how to analyze the unseen, but often decisive, forces at play in our world."

What advice would you give students in Duke's International Comparative Studies programs? 

"ICS will show you the vulgar ironies of the world. So much of what I learned and studied unnerved me deeply and frankly left me depressed about the potential to "do good" or to "create positive change." I felt that way until I realized the entire world was constructed by human choice and can be constructed differently. The limits of the world's goodness are not defined by some law -- metaphysical, biological or other -- but rather by the limits of our imagination."

Colin Colter