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Master of Arts in International Relations

Alumni Profiles

Giorgio Cafiero, Research Analyst Intern

CafieroGiorgio Cafiero is a research analyst intern with Country Risk Solutions, a cross-border consultancy based in Connecticut. Cafiero is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Foreign Policy in Focus and Asia Times Online and he is a non-resident scholar at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis. In 2012 Cafiero's research on the conflict in Western Sahara was awarded third place in an international essay contest sponsored by the American Task Force on Western Sahara. Last winter, Cafiero conducted field research along the Turkish-Syrian border to acquire a deeper understanding of the Syrian crisis' spillover effects in Turkey's Hatay Province. He interviewed dozens of Free Syrian Army militants, refugees, NGO workers and local businessmen. Looking ahead, Cafiero intends to begin a career in the field of geopolitical risk consulting.


Timothy Crawford, Associate Professor at Boston College in the Political Science deparment

TimothyCrwafordTimothy W. Crawford is an associate professor in the political science department at Boston College, where he currently serves as the director of the undergraduate program. He teaches a variety of courses on subjects in international security and international relations theory. His current research focuses on wedge strategies in coercive diplomacy and alliance politics. He is author of Pivotal Deterrence: Third Party Statecraft and the Pursuit of Peace (Cornell University Press, 2003), which received the Edgar S. Furniss Award; and editor (with Alan J. Kuperman) of Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention: Moral Hazard, Rebellion, and Civil War (Routledge, 2006). His articles have appeared in International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, and other academic journals. After completing the MAIR at USD in 1992, he went on to do a PhD at Columbia University, and fellowships at the Olin Institute of Strategic Studies at Harvard, the Brookings Institution, and Princeton's Center for International Studies. In Crawford's words: "My time in the MAIR program was transformative. From those well-taught seminars I gained a foundational understanding of major works, themes, and subject-areas in the discipline of international relations, and an appreciation of the rigors and rewards of serious inquiry. I started in Fall 1991, in the wake of the first Gulf War, and literally days after the collapse of the Soviet Union; the MAIR coursework, and stimulating discussions with professors and fellow students, pushed me to begin to think and write in a serious way about these changes in international politics and their implications for US foreign policy."

Joel Day, Ph.D. Candidate

DayJoel Day is Assistant Professor of Security and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is also a Research Associate at the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, focused on religious terror, insurgency, and resistance movements. His research is at the nexus of identity formation and political violence, broadly interested in how ideological factors impact dynamics of violence such as intensity, bargaining, and organizational coherence. Day has published on global security and terrorism including in the Journal of Peace Research and Journal of Strategic Security. He teaches courses on religion and violence, terrorism, national security, as well as research design and methodology. Deeply interested in bridging the theory-practice divide, Dr. Day is a National Security Act Scholar and national collegiate debate champion, has served as operations director of an international nonprofit fighting against human trafficking, worked as a foreign policy advisor to a number of US congressional campaigns, and was Iowa Operations Director for a US presidential campaign. Day holds a PhD from the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies (2015), an MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego (2011), and a BA in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University (2007).

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Dundon, Active-Duty Officer in U.S. Army

Patrick is an active-duty officer in the United States Army and has been a member of its 1st Special Forces Regiment since 1996.  Currently in Afghanistan, LTC Dundon is in a battalion-level command position working in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces.  Since September 11th, 2001, LTC Dundon has commanded and served in primary staff positions in Special Operations units deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti and Kuwait.  Prior to 911, he deployed frequently to the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility as part of Special Operations efforts to increase the capacity of allied nations to counter mutual threats.   A Combat Diver and Dive Supervisor, LTC Dundon earned his MAIR at the University of San Diego (2001) while serving as the Officer-in-Charge of the Diving Phase at the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Center’s Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL course in Coronado, CA.  LTC Dundon has also served at the strategic level in Washington, D.C., as an operations and plans officer within the Special Operations directorates of the Office of the Chairman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Headquarters, Department of the Army.  LTC Dundon earned his undergraduate degree from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA and he is a graduate of the Command and General Staff course at the U.S. Army’s Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.


Chris Groth, Program Officer, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice

ChrisGrothChris Groth is a program officer at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ), where he has provided support for the Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative since 2008. He has traveled to Nepal on seven occasions with IPJ teams to conduct trainings on communication, negotiation and conflict resolution skills including army integration and community policing. He has documented the political and security situation in Nepal for publication in the IPJ’s Peace & Justice Update and has co-authored articles on the peace process. Prior to joining the IPJ, he worked as an analyst for SRA International. Groth received an M.A. in international relations from the University of San Diego and graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in social science and sociology. He credits his time in the MAIR program – including two study abroad experiences – for providing him with a strong foundation for his future career. He is happy to speak with prospective or current students regarding his experience in the program.


Kimberly Heinle, Operations Coordinator, Trans-Border Institute

KimHeinleKimberly is a community advocate at Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista, San Diego, and a research associate and editor for Justice in Mexico based in the Department of Political Science & International Relations at the University of San Diego. She received her B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Ithaca College in 2008, and her M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego in 2011. Her publications include "Citizen Security in Michoacán," co-authored with Cory Molzahn and David Shirk (2014); "Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2013," and “Armed with Impunity: Curbing Military Human Rights Abuses in Mexico," co-authored with David Shirk and Catherine Daly (2012). She regularly contributes to Justice in Mexico’s news monitor and website with written contributions, edits, and oversight.


Ken Kassner, Colonel, United States Marine Corps

KenKassnerKen Kassner is currently serving as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.  A lifelong enthusiast of the study of relations among states and other political groups, foreign policy, national security challenges, and similarly related areas, he earned a BS in Political Science from the University of Houston and studied German at the University of Texas at Austin.  In 1998 he received his MA in International Relations from USD, which provided him the intellectual foundation for earning a Masters in Strategic Studies in 2012 from the U.S. Army War College—widely recognized as one of the military’s preeminent institutes of higher learning.  As a career infantryman, Ken has led Marines at every level from Platoon to Battalion.  In support of U.S. national interests, he has served in multiple, global contingencies, including operations in Somalia, Rwanda, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as training missions in the Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East.  He has also led and participated in strategic efforts to enhance governance, improve economic development, professionalize military and security forces, and build partnership capacity in many of these same regions. In the summer of 2015 Ken will assume command of the 5th Marine Regiment—the Marine Corps’ most storied and decorated unit. 

Heidi Knuff

HeidiKnuffHeidi Knuff is Program Manager at the San Diego Diplomacy Council. San Diego Diplomacy Council’s mission is to build global relationships and expand mutual understanding by arranging professional, educational and cultural exchanges. Heidi is responsible for all programmatic and logistical planning and execution of these exchange programs. She is also responsible for seeking out new partnerships and funding opportunities. Prior to joining San Diego Diplomacy Council, Heidi held positions at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) as Program Manager and International Conference Coordinator, and at MIT’s Center for International Studies (CIS) as Program Coordinator. Heidi received her MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego in 2009 and her BA in Communication Studies from the University of San Diego in 2001.


Ryan Long, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

RyanLongRyan Long is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He took the Foreign Service Exam after graduating from the MAIR program in 2006, joining the Department in 2008 after a period working in the Human Resources Department at the non-profit healthcare company, Providence Health & Services. His first assignment was to the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria, where he served as a Consular Officer, adjudicating visas and serving for a part of the time as Chief of the American Citizen Services Unit. Next he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working as a visa adjudicator for one year and covering the health and STEM education portfolios in the Embassy’s Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Section. Ryan is now working in Washington, DC in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Ryan is in the Office of Transportation Policy, handling an aviation security portfolio and also managing the Bureau’s engagement on travel and tourism promotion. Prior to studying at USD, Ryan worked for America West Airlines while working towards his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences from University of Washington, Tacoma. He is happy to tie together his interests in aviation, security and international affairs in his current position. Ryan is glad to speak with prospective or current students regarding his experience in the MAIR program and careers with the Department of State.

Jonathan Maldonado, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

JonathanMaldonadoJonathan is from Carlsbad, CA and was an enlisted medic in the U.S. Air Force. After the Air Force, he earned his B.A. from Cal State San Marcos. He worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs in La Jolla, CA as a human resources officer before starting the MAIR program at USD. He was a graduate student intern at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas were he worked in the political and management sections where he followed drug and human trafficking trends in the region. He completed the MAIR program in 2011 where he focused on democratic transitions and regional security. Jonathan entered the Foreign Service in 2013 and is currently posted at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. He's been involved assisting with the evacuation of American officers from the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi which was prompted by the political instability in the country and a rapid decline in the security environment. His next post will be a 2 year tour at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua.

Jeff Mankey, Advisor for Military and Energy at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research

JeffMankeyJeff Mankey was appointed as an Advisor for Military and Energy in 2013 at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. In this capacity, he supports the work of the Governor’s Military Council as well as alternative energy and zero-emission vehicle initiatives. He is a veteran submarine officer and nuclear engineer, and has a strong interest in energy issues. Following his Naval career, he studied international relations, focusing on international energy policy and the security issues associated with nuclear energy and weapons. In 2012-2013 he served as an Executive Fellow in the Office of Planning and Research. Jeff holds a B.S. in Physics from UC San Diego and completed his M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego in 2012.


Joshua Peters, Active Duty Officer in U.S. Navy

JoshPetersJosh Peters grew up in Eugene, Oregon and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Boston University in 2002. After college he joined the US Navy and has served in 3 different jobs as a helicopter pilot at Naval Air Station North Island. He has made 2 deployments to the Middle East and one to Central and South America. While serving as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor pilot, Josh completed the USD MAIR program with a focus on security issues. While at USD he was able to travel throughout Europe as part of the "Western Europe and Islamic Society" seminar with Dr. Willoughby. Since graduating from USD Josh has been assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 where he made an 8 month deployment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and theater security cooperation with many of the Gulf States. He plans to stay in the Navy until retirement and then possibly pursue a second career teaching at the college level.

Jo Sletbak, Norwegian Diplomat


Since graduating from the MAIR program at USD in 1990, Jo has spent the last 22 years as a career diplomat with the Norwegian Foreign Service. He has been posted to Embassies in Athens, Bonn, and Berlin and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa. At head quarters in Oslo, he has worked with humanitarian affairs, European matters and issues related to the Western Balkans. In August of 2011 he was appointed Deputy Director General and Head of the Section for Official Visits – responsible for all high level political visits to Norway, State Visits and the Norwegian Royal Family’s official travels abroad.

Masashi Yamazaki, Federal Agent, Department of Defense

YamaMasashi Yamazaki began studying with the MAIR program in 2002 and has since become a federal agent with the Department of Defense. He has been afforded the opportunity to work overseas with responsibilities including identifying, exploiting and neutralizing terrorist and intelligence threats to the U.S. Government.





Rochdi Younsi, Ph.D., Senior Director, International Government Relations at Exxon Mobil Corporation

RochdiYounsiRochdi Younsi is Senior Director of Middle East and North Africa, International Government Relations, for Exxon Mobil Corporation in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he provides in-house political risk assessment to various business departments of the company and contributes to designing the company’s investment and government relations strategy in the Middle East and North Africa region. He also manages ExxonMobil’s relationships with various diplomatic representations in Washington, as well as with the U.S. State Department’s Middle East bureau.Mr. Younsi represents the company on several business councils including the US-Qatar Business Council, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, and the US-Libya Business Association.Prior to joining ExxonMobil, Mr. Younsi worked as Director of the Middle East and Africa Practice at Eurasia Group and as a Senior Analyst and Client Manager for Intellibridge Corporation. After completing his Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of San Diego in 1996, he went on to earn a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.He was the recipient of multiple academic scholarships, which supported his research on the history and politics of the Middle East and North Africa.