Brionne Dawson, 2015, USA

Congressional Liaison Specialist - USAID, Washington, DC

On selecting Fletcher:
Before Fletcher, I worked for more than a decade designing and managing political reform initiatives to enhance women's political participation and to improve participatory decision-making on a wide range of public policy issues at an international non-profit in South Africa and Washington, DC. While living in South Africa, I witnessed first-hand the growth of the middle class, the youth bulge, and the proliferation of black-owned businesses due to progressive government policies. I now plan to better understand good governance in the context of the evolving role of the private sector in sustainable development and market-based solutions to international development challenges. When choosing graduate school, I sought a demanding academic program that would enable me to reflect on my experiences abroad, but that would also equip me with the knowledge, skills and tools to be an agent for public good. I chose Fletcher to learn more about how businesses create shared value by stimulating inclusive socioeconomic development in emerging and frontier economies, and also how businesses execute strategy and manage political risk in new markets. Fletcher offers a wide range of business courses, but also attracts individuals with a passion for public service who are committed to deepening their understanding of international affairs in a variety of disciplines. Fletcher students are multilingual, diverse and engaging, and faculty and alumni are collegial and genuinely dedicated to students. I knew that coming to Fletcher would prepare me for a career in international public service, and I haven't been disappointed!

On the flexibility of the curriculum: The flexibility of the curriculum allows me to focus on hard skills like corporate finance, while gaining broad business exposure in courses such as International Strategy and Innovation, and Starting New Ventures. I am also taking courses that more closely align with my background in international politics. My favorite class is Law and Development, where we discuss issues as controversial as corruption, land tenure laws and female genital cutting, and learn about the varied legal contexts in which these issues are debated. I also enjoy Professor De Waal's Conflict in Africa course, where emphasis is placed on practical skills such as memo writing. Students at Fletcher provide a range of personal experiences which add unique and thought-provoking dimensions to conversations and enrich the classroom environment. I particularly enjoy learning from students in other programs: MIBs, LLM and MALDs.

Favorite magazine:

The Atlantic and the New Yorker

Favorite blog:

Daily Maverick

Favorite movie:

City of God

Favorite landmark:

Constitutional Court, Johannesburg, South Africa

Most pressing world issue:

Poverty reduction, Sustainable Development

Fields of Study:

  • Law and Development
  • International Business Relations

Activities involved in at Fletcher:

  • Fletcher Global Women
  • Africana Club

  • Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee
  • Net Impact
  • International Business Club

Education before Fletcher

  • BS, Foreign Service, African Studies, International Politics, Georgetown University

Experience before Fletcher

  • National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Program Manager, Washington, DC
  • National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Program Manager, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Center for International Policy, Research Assistant, Washington, DC
  • UNDP, Senegal


  • French
  • English