SOAS University of London

SOAS student recognised in top “99 Under 33” foreign policy leaders

12 September 2013
Robtel top 99 under 33 pic

Robtel Neajai Pailey, a doctoral student at SOAS, University of London has been recognised in the 2013 “99 Under 33” - an international list of the most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33.

The prestigious award was launched in 2011 in the US by global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, an organisation helping to foster the next generation of foreign policy leaders.

Each of the “99 under 33” honourees is recognised for their impact on their community and their potential as a leader in the future.

There are several leadership archetypes that define the list of selected winners. Robtel, who was recognised for her research in Liberia and work to tackle corruption in the country, was awarded for being a Shaper. This is someone who changes the public discourse on an aspect of foreign policy or raises awareness on a critical issue.

Robtel commented:  "To be nominated and selected as one of the 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33 is both humbling and fortifying. It's a testament to the fact that foreign policy is no longer the domain of the middle-aged establishment, that it can include innovators and thinkers who are uninterested in maintaining the status quo."

Editor-in-Chief of Diplomatic Courier Ana C. Rold added: “Robtel has dedicated herself to conducting research highly pertinent to the problems facing Liberia today. Through her work as a Shaper, Robtel uses her SOAS education to encourage people to think through tough development choices.”

Robtel’s current research at SOAS focuses on the factors that have given rise to the introduction (and subsequent postponement in passage) of Liberia's proposed dual citizenship bill. She is particularly interested in how citizenship is conceived and practiced in post-conflict Liberia, and the possible effects this might have on the country's reconstruction and development.  She is also author of Gbagba, a children’s book about corruption in Liberia.

Other award categories included a Catalyst -  from a field not typically associated with foreign policy who has had an impact on international affairs; a Convener - brings people together in creative ways to address a pressing international issue or enhance the foreign policy community; an Influencer - mobilizes people in the foreign policy community with bold new ideas; an Innovator - designs a new solution to a critical global challenge; a Practitioner - changes foreign policy from the inside through extraordinary professionalism and skill; a Risk-taker - takes a chance and sees it pay off.

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