Paul Waldner '93
When I entered UNH in 1988, the International Affairs (IA) program was new and unique. Beyond the three core courses, the program allowed each student to tailor the program in a manner that was most beneficial to his or her future--to build a program around our own dreams. For me, that involved studying Chinese language in Sichuan Province, China, for two years. There were never any guarantees, just the prospect of extreme potential. Success or failure has always been in the hands of every IA student. No other IA program I looked at back in 1988 could offer me the flexibility and personal potential of the IA dual major.
Now I am living the dream envisioned by those who created the IA Dual Major three decades ago. I have been in China for fifteen years, thirteen of these as owner of my own company. Business in China has been very good and I could retire today if I chose to do so. However, this year I will be starting my second business with the purpose of creating a new global brand. The excitement of chasing a new dream, building a new company with a global brand is too good to resist. Nineteen years ago the IA program at the University of New Hampshire opened up this world of international excitement, an unquenchable burn which two decades on is still pushing me to seek new possibilities.
To current students--your entire IA experience is up to you, where to go, how long, what language(s), and in what manner. IA is a great teacher, that in life we are each responsible for our own choices and actions. You become the manager of your own future. Do a good job and you reap success. Begin each day as if it were on purpose.
This idea of what education should be has given me the opportunity to have a life beyond my imagination. I have always believed that success begins with a dream. Your dream has given me the chance to make a success of my life. The IA program taught me that one’s future is what you make of it. None of what I have achieved would have been my life without the vision for the IA program.