MPI student travels to Dublin for UA Summit 2017

Tanya SahniIt’s always a bonus for students when an assignment or research paper aligns with a topic that they’re already interested in. It’s even better still when the student submits the work to a competition and gains international academic recognition for their effort.

That’s the situation that fourth-year MPI student Tanya Sahni finds herself in this week, as she travels to Dublin, Ireland, for the UA Global Summit 2017. Having submitted two of her research papers to the Undergraduate Awards for the 2017 competition, Sahni was recognized with “Highly Commended” status for her work titled “The Architecture of Oppression: Nostalgia and Unimagining the Cold (Hard Truth of) War.”

“For a couple of reasons,” Sahni responded, when asked why she decided to enter the paper into the competition.

“The first was that the two cities I talk about in the paper are cities I had interest in for months prior to writing the paper. When an opportunity came for me to actually write about them, I took it and I guess I wanted to share it. Another reason was because it was a paper I was proud of and, seeing as the grand prize was a trip to Dublin for the UA Summit, I wanted in!”

Highly commended status places a work in the top 10% of each category. There are 25 categories in total and thousands of papers are submitted from around the world. Sahni’s paper fell under the Social Sciences: Sociology & Social Policy category.

Sahni’s trip was made possible through financial support from the Provost's office. She will arrive in Dublin on Tuesday, November 7, and will spend three days taking in the sights and sounds, networking with other young scholars, and attending the medal presentation ceremony and gala dinner.

“I can't wait to pick at other people's brains but also seeing around Dublin. I've always wanted to go, and UA has a lot of great venues lined up for their events which allows for a great way to see the city,” she said.

Asked whether an honour such as this will impact her decision about what to do when she graduates with her undergraduate degree, Sahni indicated that it has her considering her options. She hopes that attending the summit may give her some ideas.

“I'm in fourth year so I am considering graduate school, however I am unsure as to what path I should take. Talking with students from other universities and programs I hope will help my decision.”

For the moment though, she can just enjoy the moment knowing that the topic of her paper appealed not only to her, it also caught the eye of the judges. Describing herself as “ecstatic” when she was got the news of her paper’s recognition, Sahni said she had convinced herself that it would go nowhere.

“So when I randomly refreshed my e-mail and saw the e-mail from UA, I had to re-read it over and over again because I thought it might be spam e-mail. But I was very happy about the paper getting recognition and happy knowing that the topic did matter to someone more than myself (or my professor).”

FIMS has two other student connections to the Undergraduate Awards. Fourth-year MPI student Janet McParland also received highly commended status for a paper submitted under the Politics & International Relations category, while fourth-year MIT student Shoaib Rizvi will speak at the Summit.

Rizvi, who founded the ‘I Am An Entrepreneur’ campaign in Pakistan, was honoured by the United Nations with an Outstanding Youth Delegate Award earlier this year.

For more information about the UA Global Summit 2017, visit: