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Political Science

Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya Visits Campus on April 8

Monday, April 8, 2024 | 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

  • Spelman College, various locations

Diplomat Uzra Zeya Speaks at Spelman CollegeSpelman College is honored to announce the upcoming visit of Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya to our campus on April 8, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This visit marks a significant opportunity for our students, faculty, and staff to engage with a distinguished government official on matters of critical importance to our nation and the world.

Schedule of Events

The Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza: What the U.S. Government is Doing to Mitigate? | 11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Hosted by Dr. John Eaves, professor of the American Foreign Policy class, Spelman College Political Science Department

Location: Camille Olivia Hanks, Ed.D., Auditorium 

In this session, Undersecretary Zeya will delve into the pressing issue of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, shedding light on the efforts undertaken by the United States government to address and mitigate this crisis. Students enrolled in the American Foreign Policy class and other interested individuals are encouraged to attend and engage in this vital discussion.

Roundtable Lunch with the Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights | 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Topics: Human Trafficking, Human Rights, and the State of Democracy in the World Location: President's Dining Room, Manley Student Center

Following the morning session, Undersecretary Zeya will join a roundtable lunch discussion focusing on critical issues such as human trafficking, human rights, and the state of democracy globally. This intimate setting offers attendees the opportunity to engage directly with Undersecretary Zeya in an interactive dialogue on these crucial topics.

Careers in the Foreign Service | 1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Topics: Pickering Fellowship, Rangel Fellowship, Peace Corps, Internships
Location: TBA 

To conclude her visit, Undersecretary Zeya will share insights into careers in the Foreign Service, highlighting prestigious opportunities such as the Pickering Fellowship, Rangel Fellowship, Peace Corps, and internships within the State Department. This session aims to inspire and inform students interested in pursuing careers in diplomacy and international affairs.

Make Plans to Attend

We encourage all members of the Spelman College community to take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage with Undersecretary Zeya and gain valuable insights into pressing global issues and career pathways within the realm of international relations. Stay tuned for further updates on the location of the final session.

We look forward to welcoming Undersecretary Zeya to Spelman College and fostering enriching discussions that contribute to our understanding of the world and our role within it.

Biography of Undersecretary Uzra Zeya

Uzra Zeya currently serves as the Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in the United States Department of State. With over two decades of experience in diplomacy and foreign affairs, Undersecretary Zeya brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role.

Prior to her current position, Undersecretary Zeya served as Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. She has also held various leadership positions within the Department of State, including Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, where she advocated for the promotion of democracy and the protection of human rights worldwide.

A seasoned diplomat, Undersecretary Zeya has dedicated her career to advancing American values and interests on the global stage. Her commitment to diplomacy, human rights, and international cooperation underscores her pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

Undersecretary Zeya holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


The goal of the political science department is to transmit the knowledge of the discipline by providing courses and instruction that are characterized by excellence. Courses are designed for students who desire a basic, general knowledge of American government; students who major in the discipline, but do not plan to go to graduate school; students who plan to go to graduate or professional schools; and students who plan to teach in the social sciences in the public schools of Georgia.

Introducing a New Minor . . .

Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Minor

The Refugee and Forced Migration Studies provides students with context about the broad topic of migration. It is a multi/interdisciplinary course of study to cultivate students' understanding of the various causes of global displacement and the policies and processes addressing refugee resettlement, immigration and migration.

Learn More About the Minor


Catching the Political Science Spark

Tinaz Pavri, Ph.D., professor in the Spelman College political science department, says faculty members can’t predict when one of their students will catch and display the spark. But she says they know they will.

“It could be from a lecture, a class, or a faculty member. They get an idea and go from there,” in defining and focusing their pursuit of career opportunities through the political science department. 

Set Your Sights on Law School

“We have a very versatile program, and there are so many things a student can do through political science,” Dr. Pavri said. “Many set their sights on law school, and we have had students go on to some of the most prestigious law schools – Yale and Harvard law.” 

But, according to Dr. Pavri, political science opens a greater world of career opportunities at the state government level, or in international/global affairs, or the Foreign Service. “This is a department where a student can explore so many different areas,” she said.

One of the largest departments at Spelman, there are about 200 students who either major or minor in one of the department’s two primary tracks: American Institutions and Processes, and International Relations.

“We are a comprehensive department and have faculty experts who can support those diverse interests,” Dr. Pavri said. 

Join Affinity Groups

In addition to the challenging and diverse course offerings, the department offers many activities to complement the traditional classroom work. There is an active political science society and honor societies. A variety of guest speakers and seminars are offered.

“We’ve had students come to class to see that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, an unannounced guest lecturer,” Pavri said. “There’s a lot of activity.”

Do a Governmental Internship

Political science students also participate in a range of internships, including with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, as well as international opportunities. 

Spelman political science students also garner prestigious fellowships such as Fulbright and Marshall scholarships for postgraduate study abroad. 

“They are competitive, but so are our students, who are consistently recipients of these awards,” Dr. Pavri said. “Once they catch the spark, the world is their platform.”

Meet the Founding Director

Headshot image of Dorian Crosby
Dorian Brown Crosby, Ph.D., C'91
, associate professor of political science at Spelman College, is recipient of Spelman's 2017 Vulcan Teaching Award and published her first book, "Somalis in the Neo-South: African Immigration, Politics and Race," in December 2020.

Her work chronicles three years of research that she conducted with Somali communities in Clarkston, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee, and offers a balanced and insightful look at Somalis in the southern United States.

Learn more about Dorian Brown Crosby

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