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War Studies Society: Building a vibrant community at King's

As an independent student organisation accredited by King's College London Student Union (KCLSU), the War Studies Society welcomes anyone with an interest in international relations, security studies, conflict, government, foreign policy and more. The Society strives to create a vibrant community for students and alumni, organising various academic, career and social events throughout the academic year. To find out more, we spoke to the president of the society, Hassan Faouaz, a third-year War Studies student.

Tell us about the War Studies Society

Hassan Faouaz: As its president, I believe our mission is to create a welcoming and inclusive social environment for students in the War Studies Department, as well as for anyone who wants to learn more about what we do. We strive to educate and inform through a variety of events, both social and academic and to provide opportunities for members to connect and learn from one another. Ultimately, our goal is to promote a better understanding of the Department of War Studies and its important work.

What inspired you to become involved with the society?

Hassan Faouaz: I started as the society's president last year and will finish this role in September. Initially, I didn't expect to win the election. However, my goal was to become more involved in department-related matters, and I felt that the War Studies Society would provide a great platform for this. The society allowed me to expand my involvement beyond academic issues and also organise social events, which was a great experience.

Being the president of the War Studies Society is definitely a demanding job, but it's also incredibly rewarding, especially when you see the success of the events and activities. Overall, it has been a great experience, and I'm grateful for the support and hard work of the team, who has been absolutely fantastic and proactive.

How does the society support its members academically and professionally?

Hassan Faouaz: We have an undergraduate representative and a postgraduate representative, each responsible for reaching out to their respective groups and addressing any academic needs or concerns they may have. While we assume that PhD students may require less academic support, they are still valuable to our community and often lend their expertise to help others.

One of the primary goals of our representatives is to encourage students to attend our events, as we know how busy everyone can be. We also want to ensure that all students are aware of the resources available through the Department of War Studies and feel supported and empowered to succeed.

Recently you interviewed the Saudi Ambassador to the UK; how did you find that experience?

Hassan Faouaz: It was a fantastic experience. I met him previously at one of the embassy events, and he expressed his willingness to do another talk, so I invited him to come to King's College London to give a talk to students and provide them with the opportunity to ask him questions. In the event, he spoke about the current situation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, specifically whether they would be normalising with Israel. He said it's inevitable because the region needs to be cohesive and work together, and that's why the Iranian deal went through. He also mentioned they're looking for a positive outcome for the Palestinians.

What are some of the most interesting events the society has organised this year?

Hassan Faouaz: At the beginning of the academic year, we had Lieutenant Colonel Sir Robert fRY, who spoke about the geopolitical situation with Russia and Ukraine before the invasion took place. It was an interesting talk that showed how much we missed the present seriousness of the situation. Apart from academic events, we also organised two balls this year - the war studies boat party and the spring ball at the Gerkin, providing students an opportunity to destress and socialise. I think having such events is important because it creates a good environment for learning. If students only study all the time, they might not enjoy the topic and drop out. By allowing them to socialise and relax, we improve their university experience and motivate them to study. Humans are social beings, and providing such avenues is important, so we try to give students a well-rounded experience.

What are the War Studies Society's future plans?

Hassan Faouaz: The committee will change in September, but as a society, we are looking forward to organising another massive event with panellists in the future. We have also been in touch with other societies at King's, especially the King's Foreign Policy Conference, which is an excellent event. So, we might collaborate with them on multiple events in the future, which we are excited about.

What advice would you give to someone interested in studying War Studies or pursuing a career in a related field?

Hassan Faouaz: As we move forward in history, we must undoubtedly modify and expand our understanding of war and conflict. The last 20 years have presented unique challenges, and it will be difficult to incorporate them into the curriculum. Guerrilla warfare and insurgency have existed in the past, but the current state system presents new complexities. Looking to the future, it's hard to predict what lies ahead, as it will be shaped by the course of events and the history yet to be written.

If you're interested in studying War Studies, my advice would be to not only focus on the academic requirements but also explore additional readings related to topics that interest you. These readings can really enrich your knowledge and provide valuable insights into the subject matter. In addition, I highly recommend getting involved in societies and activities related to War Studies, as they provide opportunities to make connections and learn from others. While theories are important, they can only take you so far. It's crucial to contextualise your knowledge through real-world experience and practical application."

Visit the War Studies Society website here.

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