Anupriya Nag draws inspiration from her family’s refugee history to untangle conflict and security in post-colonial societies.
Headshot of Anupriya Nag
Anupriya Nag

“I’m inspired by my grandparents,” said first-year MPP candidate and Pearson Fellow Anupriya Nag. “They were part of the estimated 15 million refugees of the Indian Partition that followed the dissolution of the British Raj. My grandparents were initially displaced from modern-day Bangladesh to Kolkata, India: my parents later immigrated from Kolkata to the United States.”

Nag said how her family has handled different levels of displacement “definitely inspired me to study global conflict.”

While completing her bachelor’s degree in international relations at Pomona College in Claremont, California, Nag explored opportunities to draw connections between a multitude of disciplines related to postcolonial conflict. “Every summer during college, I would seek ways to learn more about global conflict in various capacities—whether through internships for organizations such as NGOs or think tanks, or by serving as a research assistant for a professor. However, I always felt something was missing.”

Nag began to identify that missing piece while writing her senior thesis. “I was researching the rise in opioid use in Kashmir—the contested region between India and Pakistan—over the last 20 years. I framed my thesis around mental health and addiction and discovered that countless components and dynamic disciplines tied into the opioid situation. I realized I care deeply about how networks of individual human activity shape, and are shaped by, global conflict and security issues—how global conflict relates to the individual,” Nag said. “Part of that is definitely tied to my family history and the fact that global conflict has often overlooked human elements.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Nag worked at Duco, a geopolitical risk consultancy in San Francisco. “The CEO gave me the autonomy to craft my role and find a niche within the company. I consulted social media and tech companies on issues of global conflict, tracking high-risk elections and events that could cause interference or disinformation and contribute to offline harm or ethnic violence. My goal was to ensure companies understood the context behind what should and should not be removed from their platforms.”

Her work at Duco encouraged Nag to explore ways to make a bigger impact on global conflict, and she said Harris’ Master of Public Policy and The Pearson Institute presented an appealing combination.

“Harris’s methodology, rooted in evidence and impact rather than ideology or politics, appeals to me as a budding professional dedicating my life to the intersection of global conflict and policy. The Pearson Institute will help me develop the skills and connections that will set me apart in my career of untangling conflict and security in post-colonial societies,” Nag said. “The Pearson community has reinforced that I am in the right place, and I’m excited to dive deeper into the intersection of global conflict, programming, and technology at The Pearson Institute.”

Nag currently works as a Research Assistant for Professor Robert Pape at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats. “I’m looking forward to utilizing the six available non-Harris electives to spend more time on the University’s historic main campus,” she said.  Nag also said she is interested in The Pearson Institute’s two certificates: Global Conflict Studies and International Policy and Development.

As for her future, Nag said, “I want to pursue a career in geopolitical risk assessment and global development, to utilize the boundary circumstances created by conflict conditions and faulty security policies. I hope to enable others like myself to have the tools and framework to navigate generational effects of displacement.”