Alumni News

Alumna Dr. Annie Bird calls SMC “a gem among community colleges.”
By: Jamie Solis


Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the U.S. Department of State, and SMC Alumna, Dr. Annie Bird has recognized Santa Monica College as a key building block for her academic choices and career. She writes: “The SMC community, especially people like Patricia Brown, then Dean of Student Life, nurtured my potential and taught me leadership skills that are still with me. The passion that teachers like Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Alan Buckley brought to the classroom was inspiring. SMC is a gem among community colleges.”

Her involvement with many campus organizations helped her connect with the diverse student body and community. Within the first month of attending SMC, Bird was appointed as A.S. Director of Student Services, where she led a day-long dialogue on racial stereotypes and institutional racism. Also appointed as Student Trustee on the College Board, she was given the authority necessary to address various issues while representing the student body. Bird was part of many popular SMC clubs, including Model United Nations, AGS and Rotaract. It was through an AGS community service event that she learned about an opportunity to travel to Geneva as a student ambassador during the UN Subcommision for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. This experience sparked her interest in the field of international human rights.

During the following summer, Bird was awarded a Dale Ride Internship by Santa Monica College, which enabled her to travel to Washington D.C. to serve as an intern for House Leader Richard Gephardt and the State Department. Returning to SMC in the fall, she was appointed by Governor Gray Davis as a student member of the California Community College Board of Governors. This gave her the opportunity to represent student concerns across the state while also learning about the state’s political system.

Bird transferred to University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies. In pursuing this degree, she spent a year studying international relations in Argentina after being awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, an award she learned about during her time at SMC. Her educational career continued thanks to the Marshall Scholarship, where she earned a Masters of Law in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
 Bird has realized a great deal of professional success since her time studying at SMC.

Focusing her professional career on public service and international relations, Bird has worked with governments, NGOs and the United Nations in Africa, Latin America and Asia,. Much of her research has been published, including an upcoming book based on her doctoral research about U.S. transitional justice policy. Bird has taught courses on both foreign policy and international organizations at the London School of Economics and UC Berkeley. She has presented at numerous international conferences, and was a Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University.

We are beyond proud that Dr. Annie Bird is an alumna of Santa Monica College, who explains that her experiences associated with Santa Monica College were both “eye-opening and transformative.” They solidified her interest in public service and international relations, while guiding her on the path towards educational and professional success.

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