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The Simplicity of Service

February 14, 2018

Wiam Ayachi with the Dubai skyline in the background

When the alarms sounded at the US embassy in Abu Dhabi, Wiam Ayachi, ’18, fake gun in hand, sprinted down the halls as the US Marines followed her through the compound in pursuit. This wasn’t quite what she had imagined for her summer internship.

At the US Embassy in the United Arab Emirates, Ayachi and the other summer interns had befriended the Marines stationed there and were asked to take part in one of their drills, giving her a unique perspective of what life at the Embassy is like.

The daughter of Tunisian immigrants, Ayachi is a second-year student pursuing a Master of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and hopes one day to be a voice for underrepresented communities working with the US Department of State, so her glimpse of public service on the front lines was especially valuable.

Life at the Embassy

Though she was only at the Embassy a few months, Ayachi spent time with various offices—from the consular department, which deals primarily with visas, to the regional security office—and learned all she could about the various functions of the different departments. One of Ayachi’s classmates, Jordan Mettica, was also at the Embassy and their boss was an A&M graduate. Even outside of Texas and the United States, the Aggie network is strong halfway around the world.

Part of what helps keep the Aggie network strong is its commitment to the Aggie core values of respect, leadership, loyalty, excellence, selfless service and integrity. These values closely align with the State Department’s core values. Character is one of the State Department’s values that Ayachi aligns herself with. It is defined as the “maintenance of the highest ethical standards and integrity.” With everything she does, Ayachi makes sure she is honest to herself and those she serves.

There is a certain nobility that accompanies the simplicity of serving your fellow Americans and mankind. But she also realizes that public service is not always easy. It’s often very hard work, with little recognition, but that is part of the challenge, and Ayachi recognizes this. “It takes a certain type of individual to not care about the other elements, like a large paycheck, but to just focus on the service, and that’s noble in itself,” she said.

“As a young Muslim woman, I feel as though we are underrepresented, especially in government,” Ayachi said. “Through public service, I will be able to be a bridge between different communities and be a voice for the marginalized.”

From Educator to Practitioner

To achieve her service goal, Ayachi left her brief teaching career to begin her education at the Bush School. Prior to enrolling in her studies, Ayachi graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology and then spent a year as an educator.

She chose the Bush School because the program not only is strong on theory but also focuses on the practice of public service. For a woman who wants to work in the field, it seemed like a perfect fit. Ayachi has found herself surrounded with intelligent people who strive for excellence and act with integrity every day. The School fosters an environment in which students are encouraged to be the best version of themselves, and everyone is a public servant in training.

“This is why we’re here; this is why we’re at the Bush School,” Ayachi said. “We all want to be good public servants.”

This focus on integrity as an Aggie core value is visible in the way students and faculty at the Bush School conduct themselves.

“At Texas A&M, and at the Bush School specifically, you’re with people who all want to excel, and you help each other uphold those core values,” Ayachi said. “When you see someone acting in line with the core values, it keeps you in check.”

 

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