Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Peter Ter



"Lost Boy" finds his way

Peter Ter, once a refugee from Sudan, responds to Heller's social justice mission

For Peter Ter, attending the Sustainable International Development/Coexistence and Conflict (SIDCO) program is a way to show gratitude for the United States, his adopted country. Peter was born in war-torn Sudan, during its civil war. Separated from his parents, he lived in refugee camps in Kenya and is one of the cohort known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. Twelve years ago he moved to the U.S. and began a long journey in which education was essential to his development.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Peter joined the Peace Corps and worked in Azerbaijan for three years. It was through a Peace Corps newsletter that Peter formulated the idea of applying to the Heller School. Heller’s social justice mission sang to Peter, as dignity, fairness and social justice are values that echo loudly in his ears.

Peter values the theoretical and practical skills he acquired in his first year as a Heller student. “We go through simulations that relay real-world experiences. Our professors are respected international experts in their field — and we learn the word is mightier than guns, and that by bringing people together, they can work through their differences.”

He credits the experience of learning from other students how a group from very different cultures and countries assimilates into a community at Heller to attain professional skills that will help the world resolve conflict.

For his future work post-graduation? Peter wants to serve the U.S. as a diplomat and is especially interested in working in Turkey or in Azerbaijan.

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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