Those who know me at the Company know that I am somewhat an outlier. I have mentioned several times that I feel privileged to be part of an established tradition at the City of London as someone who is neither from the country or the continent for that matter. If it were not for this very university and the very department I decided to attend on a mere chance, I know for sure that I would have probably never even known about the traditions of the City and the importance they play in the very place I now consider home. Without sounding too melancholic, I never intended to study in this country when I was applying to universities since having attended one of the most selective high schools in the United States, the expectation was always there for me to attend a top American university. I had only applied to one school abroad – King’s College London – and it turned out to be the one I found to be the best fit for me at the end of that year, and I sure was not wrong about that.
Being at King’s and the Department of War Studies, I was given a world-class education on politics, security, and international affairs, as well as other opportunities to pursue my interest in the field. From interning at the Embassy of Pakistan in Japan to working as a journalist in Tokyo over the years, my academic pursuits have complemented my professional activities. And one of those superb opportunities was the Apprenticeship with the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals. I still remember the first time I even heard about the Company – when an email sent by the Careers Office to everyone in my year caught my eye on an event taking place to explain the Apprenticeship, and not knowing about what it was, I decided to attend the information session in the middle of my exams sometime in May at the end of my first year. Little did I know, the person who was explaining about the scheme would later become my mentor, my ally, and my Apprentice Master, Ray Williams.
Once I was enrolled that November, I was immediately enthralled by the many unorthodox experiences, especially as someone who was completely unaware of the history. From visiting the Old Bailey to presenting at an ASIS conference, I am more than grateful for the opportunities I would not have otherwise had. Along the way, I have also made lifelong friends amongst the other Apprentices, who have been supportive of me throughout the years. Next year, I will be studying for an MSc in Comparative Social Policy at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, to better understand the policies that shape our understanding of the society in hopes that I can contribute to the public sector upon graduation. These experiences at the Company certainly prompted my wanting to take my academic interest to a next level, moving on from a degree in International Relations, which was more theoretical, to something more practical.
Graduation is certainly a time to reflect – to thank those around me who have helped me along the way, to be proud of my achievements, and even to grasp the gravity of the decision that changed my life, which in my case was to move to this country to study at this institution and join the Company to learn more about the city.
Perhaps then, it was only proper that I graduated officially in a building next to where I was enrolled. Again, thank you to my family, my friends, my fellow Apprentices, the members of the Company, and my Apprentice Master Ray Williams.