Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts


Work in the field of international relations takes on many forms

These five alumnae/i are proof of that. They spoke on the panel “Making peace, forging ties, fighting terrorism,” during Reunion 2010. Here, they discuss their work—what they do, why they do it, and how Wheaton inspired them.

Click on their name to read how Wheaton inspired them. Pictured above from left to right:

Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Weber ’60

Job title: Co-founder and director, Edge Development Group, Inc., which specializes in international economic development, working extensively in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Volunteer work: She is a member of a committee appointed by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which encourages women in 18 African countries to start and run businesses to help support their families. She is also a global literacy consultant.

Impact: “Each of these projects in its own small way is actually ‘making peace, forging ties and fighting terror.’ A literate person with a family and a means to support that family will not want or need to be involved in war or terrorism.”

Wheaton’s role: “Coming to Wheaton was my first time away from home. Between sophomore and junior year, I participated in a program in Denmark, a program that opened my eyes to what has become a lifelong passion—to understand how others live and work, their interests, passions, troubles, and how they see themselves, their country, and our country. It’s been a wonderful ride since Wheaton, but I credit my time there as giving me my interest in the wider world, the confidence to meet the challenges life has sent my way, and the impetus to do what I can to improve the world in my own small way.”

Sarah Wikenczy ’90

Job title: Director of advocacy for the International Women’s Program at the Open Society Institute.

Current project: Her work is part of a broader campaign to end the use of sexual violence as a tool in conflict. Her efforts entail making policy recommendations to the United Nations Security Council, other member states, and UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. She also is leading a team of NGO partners to collaborate with UN agencies to end the violence by providing services for survivors, legal redress and related institutional resources in conflict-affected countries.

Impact: “I try to serve as a catalyst so that those who are working to make peace and forge ties can do it better than they currently are, especially on matters of international peace and security. Also, I try to bridge the gaps between the global policy makers and leaders, and the women who are affected by conflict. At the Open Society Institute, we support the work of women’s organizations through grants, and provide strategic opportunities for their voices to be heard by those who are making the decisions that impact their lives.”

Wheaton’s role: “Wheaton endowed me with the foundation and skill set to excel in this area of work, in terms of developing my ability to analyze, reflect and communicate effectively.”

Alexey Bulanov ’97

Job title: Purchasing director at LG Electronics Russia & CIS, overseeing and managing the multimillion-dollar company’s direct and indirect purchasing activities.

Impact: “Working for a global company, there are lots of opportunities for international travel. I meet with great colleagues from various corners of the world. Listening, understanding and negotiating through compromise, respecting each other’s interests, and always keeping dialogue open are essential to working for a truly global company that employs 82,000 people in 82 countries. Only global synergetic effort allows our company to achieve business targets, leaving no room for confrontation and arguments. We learn about each other’s cultural specifics and business environments to work together to solve complex issues.”

Wheaton’s role: “Wheaton’s formal academic education and diverse international community provided me with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic business environment. Wheaton connections allowed me to get my postgraduate education (a master’s degree in international business) and to get my first job with an international company in Russia.”