Gaurav Kalwani had long known he wanted a career in public service but was unsure of which path to follow. While at the University of Chicago, the fourth-year in the College learned from hands-on experience that working toward nuclear nonproliferation in South Asia should be his ultimate goal.
“I wanted to go into a field where I felt the issue at hand was of critical importance, and where I felt I could make the biggest impact,” said Kalwani, who while at UChicago had internships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Washington, D.C. “I was torn between nuclear weapons and climate change, but what ultimately tipped the scales for me was the temporality of the issue. Climate change might wipe out humanity in the next few hundred years, but nuclear weapons could wipe out humanity in less than 30 minutes.”
Recently named one of 11 junior fellows for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the public policy studies and South Asian languages and civilizations major will have a unique opportunity to explore his interests in public service and nuclear policy. The James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship Program is a prestigious one-year research fellowship that gives high-achieving students a chance to work alongside senior scholars in the Carnegie Endowment’s multiple global programs.
As part of his fellowship, Kalwani will assist Carnegie’s nuclear policy scholars; conduct research for policy papers, op-eds and books; help put on events for the program; and participate in meetings with government stakeholders involved in nuclear policy decision-making.
After his first year at UChicago, Kalwani was a summer research assistant for Asst. Prof. Kimberly Kay Hoang in Ho Chi Minh City, helping her conduct research for a book project on foreign investment in emerging markets. The next summer, the Jeff Metcalf Internship Program funded his work with the nonprofit Stimson Center in Washington, where he conducted research on South Asian nuclear issues.
“That experience solidified for me that I wanted to pursue a career in nuclear policy, and that’s been my goal ever since,” Kalwani said.
Kalwani has immersed himself in leadership roles across the UChicago campus. He serves as the publications editor for the Chicago Journal of Foreign Policy, was on the executive board of the Institute of Politics’ Leaders of Color Program, and has been involved with Model United Nations at the University of Chicago. He also volunteers for Doc Films, a student-run group that screens new and classic films.
After completing his one-year fellowship with the Carnegie Endowment, Kalwani hopes to continue working in policy research before committing to a career of public service, perhaps as a foreign service officer. Regardless, working toward nuclear nonproliferation will be a career-defining goal.
“I believe exposure to the field of nuclear policy will help me more specifically define my path toward my eventual goal of leading the United States’ diplomatic efforts in nonproliferation and arms control,” said Kalwani. “My ultimate goal is for nuclear weapons to be eliminated in our time. Receiving this fellowship is a privilege as well as a responsibility, and I’m really excited to be taking a first step toward my goals.”
Kalwani attends UChicago with the help of the UChicago Odyssey Scholarship Program, which helps ensure students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to achieve academic success. He received application support from the College Center for Research and Fellowships, which guides candidates through rigorous application and interview processes for nationally competitive fellowships.