A member of the U.S. Army, Yousif sees Harris as the most pragmatic step he can take to better serve his country.
Headshot of Hisham Yousif
Hisham Yousif

Hisham Yousif is a first year Master of Public Policy (MPP) student and a Pearson Fellow with The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts. As a member of the U.S. Army, he has experienced firsthand the challenges of executing public policy on the ground. "I have seen what I considered examples of the disconnect between policy analysis and practice, policies hatched in DC had to be executed by Captains and Lieutenants on the ground. Having had that experience makes me appreciate the rigorous academic culture at Harris all the more," said Yousif.

Yousif said he has especially appreciated the opportunity to be a Pearson Fellow. “Pearson provides me the opportunity to not only work on public policy domestically, but also internationally,” he said. "I am especially interested in state building, like in Afghanistan, where I was previously deployed."

To explore this topic at Harris, Yousif is studying global conflict resolution and the role of the U.S. army in different conflict hotspots. He also is eager to take classes to learn more about political campaigns, since "Political campaigns influence which decision makers are in office determining the role of the US military."

As a child, Yousif emigrated from Dubai and grew up in Alexandria, VA. He went to school at the Virginia Military Institute, where he studied international studies and political science. "After I graduated, I was commissioned in the Army as a second lieutenant in the armor branch and went to Afghanistan for a nine-month deployment." There, he worked as a Civil-Military Advisor to the commander of his post. He also served as a platoon leader conducting security force and mission assistance for advisors. His last assignment was at Fort Irwin in California as a company commander conducting large-scale armored maneuvers in the Mojave Desert.

Yousif has had a series of life-changing experiences as a member of the U.S. Army and has consistently sought opportunities to improve and rise in the ranks. He remains dedicated to serving the United States. “I’m an immigrant, and the way that I show my gratitude to my country is by being the best public servant that I can be,” said Yousif. “Attending Harris seemed like the most pragmatic move I could make to better serve the public.”

Yousif currently interns at the DT Institute (through The Pearson Institute) where he provides executive briefs on Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the Sudan. Yousif said The Pearson Institute has provided opportunities not only to network with high-ranking government officials but also to gain a broader look at the world as a whole.

“I’m impressed with the quality of the peers and the camaraderie overall at Pearson,” said Yousif. “There’s a strong support structure, and that kind of energy people bring is especially appreciated when running the gauntlet of the Core courses.”

Yousif suggests that fellow students remain organized, disciplined, and keep their passion and goals in mind. "As Henry David Thoreau said, 'There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.'—stay focused on what’s most important.”