Graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Aiswarya Padmanabhan has taken full advantage of the AUS experience through her involvement in the CAS Dean’s Team and various student clubs and organizations, including the Office of Student Affairs’ Student Leadership Program (SLP), which took her as far as Cape Town, South Africa. She has also enjoyed opportunities to practice her diplomatic skills by serving as the Secretary-General in the AUS Model United Nations (MUN) Executive Board.
Originally from India, Padmanabhan was named Best Speaker in the Inter-College Debate held by New York University Abu Dhabi in 2019 and received the Best Orator Award in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) session of the 2019 MUN hosted by the American University in Dubai.
With an avid passion for MUN, Padmanabhan stated in an interview: "My experience with the MUN was truly one of a kind. It was really interesting to meet and learn from new people, and I am glad that I was able to make the best out of it," she said.
Later in 2019, Padmanabhan was part of a team of six AUS students who participated in the International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) held in Cape Town. A youth forum on world politics, international relations and justice, the conference provided students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, debate current issues, deliver speeches, make executive decisions and realize through experience the complexities of international relations.
Padmanabhan and her fellow AUSers participated in three simulations at the event: the African Union, the International Criminal Court and the South African Parliament. The simulations challenged students to research, analyze and learn about current issues pertaining to the African continent.
“IYLC 2019 was a truly life-changing experience for me. The conference helped me learn so much and explore the options and scenarios that I may be exposed to in my international studies major. The experience helped me become a far more composed and compassionate person. Meeting and interacting with such a versatile group of delegates from all over the world changed my perspective on various issues.”
Over the years, Padmanabhan has been the recipient of the Active Student Scholarship for her continued efforts and active involvement in various co-curricular activities. In 2020, Padmanabhan was recognized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) with the Most Proactive Student Award for her efforts, commitment and hard work in the area of student engagement and leadership.
Upon graduation, Padmanabhan plans on taking up roles in policy and strategy, for which she believes her experiences at AUS, including professional internships, have well-prepared her. With a passion for global development, Padmanabhan hopes to fulfil her ambition of working with the United Nations and making a difference to the international community.