An American in Paris: Diplomacy in the era of Freedom Fries

Profile of Puneet Kakkar

Puneet Kakkar
I have wanted to go to UC Berkeley since the age of five. I grew up in Cerritos, a small city in southern California, and went to Gretchen Whitney High School. I never doubted that Cal was my number one choice; by my junior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to continue with French and major in Political Economies of Industrial Societies (PEIS) because it combined everything I liked to learn. Having been involved in the Model United Nations program throughout high school, and hearing about my parents' experiences as refugees from the India/Pakistan partition, I developed a strong respect for international relations.

In my two years at UC Berkeley thus far, studying Political Economies of Industrial Societies and French, I have become more interested in working with international law and policies. Through my involvement with student groups such as Berkeley Model United Nations and working for the UC Berkeley Office of Public Affairs, I have been exposed to the diversity and vastness of media, information, and presentation tied to international events.

Reading the New York Times and Le Monde daily it takes a good hour every morning is perhaps the fundamental way I observe America's role in the world. While 9/11 struck a defense note for some, I perceived it as warning to the American public to be conscious of what happens around the world in response to what we do.

I expect this summer to be interesting in that it will not only challenge my intellectual capacities, but also my ability to use French! While I know French on numerous levels and have used it in the classroom, this will be my first time using the language in another nation. Random phrases — such as "I'd like a fade" for a haircut — are something I definitely need to learn in the very near future.