PhD Dissertation Defended!!!

Dear friends and colleagues,

I would like to share some good news. On July 23, after a long, arduous, but incredibly rewarding journey, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, “The Network Architecture of Rural Development Interventions: Exploring the Relational Dynamics of Aid-Impact in the Fragile and Conflict-Affected states of Pakistan and Afghanistan.” And this last Friday I made my final submission for graduation.

I received the title of Doctor and finally achieved one of my greatest dreams to become a PhD Scholar. I remain truly humbled and honored. And I recognize this is only the beginning.

This could not have been possible without the contributions and support from my Committee. I express much sincere gratitude to my chair, Ken Reinert for all the facilitation and support since the beginning of the program; my Committee members, Jennifer Victor, Peter Mandaville, and my External Reader, Desmond Arias, and all those who attended that day. I am indeed proud of this work and I hope to make you proud going forward.

A very sincere thanks to my parents, Dr. Akhtar ul Islam Khwaja, PhD and Mrs. Talat Khwaja, to whom I honor and dedicate this dissertation and all that follows from it.

There are many more to thank from Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Washington, DC, and I hope to share those acknowledgments in addition to some updates and writings. I plan to create a separate post/page of acknowledgments on this website soon.

For the moment, I generally must thank George Mason University and the Schar School of Policy and Government, for providing me an incredibly challenging, yet beautiful, professional, personal, and intellectual journey in doctoral studies and qualitative research that I always dreamed of pursuing. It has been quite the ride and I am eager to continue to learn, grow, share observations and stories from the research and fieldwork, conduct more fieldwork in challenging environments, and have these important conversations in other capacities in the near future.

Thank you to all who have been a part of my journey in higher education, in every big or small way.

I will always cherish and appreciate you.

With sincerity,

Dr. Elsa Talat Khwaja, PhD

PhD in Public Policy

Schar School of Policy and Government

George Mason University

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