DA alumnus Yuri Fenopetov on his career since graduating from MAIS 18 in 2015
DA: Following your studies at the DA, you became the Senior Political Adviser at the OSCE. What exactly are your responsibilities on the job and how did your career path look like so far?
Yuri: My main responsibilities include supporting the Head of Mission of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek on all political and policy issues, as well as management staff involved in the implementation of programmatic activities. I support the Head of Mission with political advice and act as the focal point with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan and relevant colleagues at the OSCE Secretariat, contributing to OSCE-Kyrgyzstan relations and co-operation. My work therefore includes the continuous monitoring of political developments, the preparation of briefing materials, talking points, and speeches, as well as oversee official and non-official communication with host country authorities and the diplomatic corps in Kyrgyzstan, including international partners.
During my studies at the DA, my keen interest in the Central Asian region benefited my career path so far.
After completing my studies in 2015, I had the opportunity to advise the Austrian Permanent Mission to the OSCE before and during the Austrian 2017 OSCE Chairmanship on all issues related to Central Asia. Building on the experience gained at the Austrian Foreign Ministry and knowledge accumulated during my studies at the DA, I then began my current job also with the motivation to gain valuable field experience.
Have you always been interested in this specific career, or has this interest developed over time?
When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist, specializing in antiquity and classical history. This interest in history later developed into a deep interest in political science and international relations. In this respect, I had long held the interest to work in international affairs, also given my background growing up in an international city such as Vienna. My interest to study at the DA was closely connected to this interest, and with the desire to receive a good mix of theoretical and practical knowledge.
How has the DA helped you develop your career?
The DA offered me a high-quality education based on a multi-disciplinary approach, which was important to me. While having a keen interest for Central Asia, the DA gave me strong foundational knowledge, and for developing a versatile skill set. The faculty of the DA also offered me to focus on research I was interested in - whether it is international law, conflict and security studies, the functioning of international organizations, transnational threats, history and languages.
Furthermore, the DA's extensive academic and practitioners' network offered multiple opportunities to engage with experts, including for establishing long-term professional relationships. The DA's public events were part some of the highlights of my studies.
The DA's reputation and academic activities further contributed to the development of my career, especially its access to literature, advice, and facilities necessary for learning and development. It acted as a spring-board for my career.
Is there a specific skill set taught at the DA that is particularly useful for your current job?
Through the DA's multi-disciplinary approach, I was taught a specific skill set related to structured analysis and discourse of complex problems, closely related to my current job. This involves political and legal topics. This assists me in being able to provide concise and sharp analysis, which benefits activities of our Office, especially in the policy development and implementation stage, and contribute to close co-operation between the OSCE and Kyrgyzstan.
Furthermore, I gained valuable negotiation skills, which includes strategy and execution while considering ones intended interests and goals. It also assisted me in gathering experience and transforming theoretical knowledge into practical action, given that I have often represented our Office in official capacities, including as Charge d'Affaires during the Head of Mission's absence.
Where do you think the future will take you?
I hope the future will take me to places where I can make a contribution with an impact and inspire others to do the same. Due to my background at the DA, I will continue to be able to combine academic and professional development. I hope to complete my ongoing PhD studies as well as continue working as an international civil servant.