Jordan Harms ′12
Hometown: Mill Valley, CA
Major: International Studies
Fun fact: Because of his interest in the American Civil War, Jordan visited battlefields on childhood vacations. “I think I went to Gettysburg four times,” he says.
The Jack McCoy Scholarship, according to the Lint Center website, “recognizes emerging leaders who demonstrate a commitment to service, to building alliances of mutual understanding and cooperation in furtherance of creating forums for effective diplomatic exchanges that are rooted in transparency and reaffirm the importance of global governance.” Wow!
Yes, I am very honored to have received it and grateful to Professor Andrew Michta for his encouragement and support.
Is international relations mostly a personal interest, or has anyone or anything in your life influenced you in that regard?
Most of it is personal interest, but my parents are a big influence. My father is an international tradesman and does work in the Caribbean and in Venezuela. I guess you could say that the international relations aspect comes from him. My mother would often give me articles to read, and we would watch programs on C-SPAN or on FOX about key issues in international relations. She was the initial driving force behind my interest and provides a great deal of support in what I do.
Where did this passion for international relations begin?
It started rather oddly actually, because my original passion was history. In grade school I had a fondness for the American Civil War, and so I read a lot of history books that my grandparents gave me. Eventually that love for the Civil War turned into a love of military history in general. I even went on a historical trip to Normandy to understand World War II. I studied the Napoleonic Wars for a good part of my life. From there I sort of segued into Russia and Russian history. I was lucky enough to go to St. Petersburg last summer on the Rhodes Maymester Program, and I plan to return to continue studying Russian in the spring of my junior year. While there, I read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, and they gave me an understanding of the cultural situations in which political movements arose. Political history is what I focus mainly on now as part of International Studies.
You moved around the country before coming to Rhodes. How has that contributed to your passion?
I’m from California originally, but we had to move around the country because of my father’s business. I lived in Miami for nine years, and I made friends from Cuba and South America. When I turned 12 my family moved to DC, where I was constantly bombarded with international politics through the media and from living near the seat of government. I spent my high school years back in California and chose Rhodes because of its strong International Studies department. I wanted to go to a great small liberal arts college.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I’m still searching for a niche. I’ll probably apply for a Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. I might end up in government, maybe as a foreign policy attaché working in the Pentagon to advise the military on certain actions that could bring about repercussions regarding foreign policy. What I would like to do, whether in government or the private sector, is policymaking. I’d like to formulate foreign policy and try to improve our diplomatic relations with some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe. The Russian Bear is resurging, and I think that maintaining a stable relationship with that country is going to be important in the coming years.