UCL Institute of the Americas


Adam Spode: UCL Americas International Relations Dissertation Prize Winner

28 November 2017

Adam Spode

Adam Spode (MSc International Relations of the Americas) has been awarded the UCL Americas International Relations Dissertation Prize for his research piece: From Ashes, Allies: Lessons in State-Building from Post-War Japan, 1945-1952

Adam was also recipient of the Miller Bursary, an equally competitive UCL Americas scheme to facilitate access to postgraduate study.

Adam comments: "Studying at the Institute was one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of my academic life. After a year in work following on from my undergraduate degree, I was initially nervous about jumping back into academia and the expected to have a few struggles to adapt to the higher standards of an MSc, but looking back I'm immeasurably glad that I chose to study at UCL. It's not just the high level of expertise in a diverse range of fields, but the obvious enthusiasm and passion the professors have that really helps foster an environment of genuine discussion and debate, and makes the classes really engaging. Coupled with the approachability of the tutors and the familiarity that built-up over the course, the seminars were frequently lively and insightful. The range of courses on offer were interesting and diverse, allowing me to really hone in on subjects that were of particular interest whilst also pushing myself to tackle new topics. Furthermore, the Institute's calendar of guest lectures and special seminars gave me an unrivalled chance to meet with a wide array of leading academics and engage on a massive spectrum of subjects.

For both the class papers and my eventual dissertation, the support and advice was crucial, frank and perceptive, encouraging me to pursue research subjects in topics that were relatively new to me and adding different perspectives to my developing ideas. My dissertation, a study of the U.S. occupation of post-war Japan and the concept of 'state-building' represented a departure from any previous subjects I had worked on, but my ideas were supported and developed further by the advice offered. This support extended further to the financial support given by the Institute which enabled me to conduct the fieldwork at the National Archives in the U.S. that was a crucial component of my dissertation and an amazing experience. I am incredibly grateful to the department for their award of the Miller Bursary that made my very attendance possible, and to all the staff at the Institute who were extremely supportive and helpful throughout the year.

I regard my time at UCL as one of the most productive, enjoyable and stimulating years of my life, and I have no hesitation in recommending the Institute, and UCL as a whole, to anyone with an interest in almost any aspect of the Americas."