Timothy Torres wears camouflage and equipment
Category: Student Experience, Veteran & Military-Connected Community

Title: Graduate Student Leverages Military and Diplomatic Background, Business and Policy Education as 2021 Tillman Scholar

Date Published: June 30, 2021
Timothy Torres wears dress Army uniform
Timothy Torres (G’21) was named a 2021 Tillman Scholar, a program that helps service members, veterans and military spouses with educational expenses and offers networking and professional development opportunities.

‘Building Versus Destruction’

Torres enlisted in the Army in 2005 shortly after graduating from high school. After serving the 75th Ranger Regiment as an Airborne Ranger for more than a decade, he transitioned from special operations to diplomatic roles within the Army.

“After years of fighting and serving in multiple warzones, I realized the positive impact of building versus destruction,” says Torres.

Now a Chief Warrant Officer 2, Torres has returned to the same warzones where he fought as a Ranger to help end and prevent armed conflict – including negotiating with the Taliban in support of the Afghan peace process.

After Torres graduates from the IBP program in December, he will be posted as a defense attache in East Africa before ultimately moving west to leverage his military, diplomatic and educational experiences to help prevent conflict through economic development.

“I’d like to use commerce and my military background, the credibility from the amount of combat I have, mashed with the education and diplomatic experience I will have to help develop economies in West Africa,” says Torres.

“As a Ranger, I experienced the reality of war. As a diplomat, I learned that tough negotiation will always outweigh even the slightest cost of war. My time at Georgetown is broadening my horizon and teaching me critical skills to develop well thought-out policy.”

– Timothy Torres (G’21)
Timothy Torres wears camouflage and stands in front of mountains
Inspired by his brother’s service as a police officer, Torres joined the Army in 2005.

‘Service, Scholarship, Humble Leadership, and Impact’

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Scholar Program helps U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses with educational expenses and offers networking and professional development opportunities.

“The Tillman is all about service, scholarship, humble leadership and impact, but you’re not exactly being brought into Tillman for what you accomplished in the past” says Torres. “You’re being brought because of what you can do in the future, the good you’re going to do and the impact you’re going to make on the world in a positive way.”

Named after Patrick Tillman, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004, Tillman scholars are part of “a growing network of leaders who are dedicated to service beyond self.”

“There is no shortage of people who need help in the world, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m honored to be part of the Tillman scholarship,” says Torres.

Timothy Torres with his wife and two children
Using diplomacy and global commerce as a central means of engagement, Torres hopes to leave a more peaceful world for his children.

‘Good on a Global Scale’

Offered jointly by the MSB and SFS, MA-IBP blends the strengths of the most highly regarded foreign service school in the world with a top-tier business school that educates global, principled leaders.

“I chose to pursue an M.A. in International Business and Policy at Georgetown University to strengthen my skillset and gain insight into the finer points of diplomatic and economic policy,” says Torres. “I intend to use this knowledge to affect real-world diplomacy that will bring nations and people closer together.”

Torres has already connected with MA-IBP’s strong alumni network and finds the wide range of perspectives offered by his peers to be an especially valuable and fulfilling part of his time at Georgetown. 

“Georgetown for me has been a life changing experience. It’s been one of the best experiences I’ve gone through in my life,” says Torres. “I wanted to be exposed to people who didn’t have the same experience as me and didn’t view the world the same I did. I wanted to be challenged on everything that I viewed.”

As part of the program, students collaborate with public, private and nonprofit organizations to develop a real-world social action project that tackles international business issues and serves a greater social purpose in the world. 

In September, Torres and his project team will travel to Ghana to conduct a month of field research on how blended finance can advance climate change solutions in the region – with the ultimate goal of preventing future conflict.

“Countries with a burgeoning private sector, lower unemployment rates and an increasing standard of living tend to avoid war and conflict,” says Torres.

Skyline of Singapore during the day

Telling Human Stories

Torres recognizes that spurring change is complex, and good leaders must push on different security, economic and policy levers to make an impact. He also recognizes the human element of war and development, and is working on a project to document less conventional “war stories” – like those of Afghan interpreters.

“I’d like to tell these in a way that I’m not just telling war stories. I want to tell human stories,” says Torres. “I would like to reach an audience that cares about people but maybe have never been exposed to this side of the war.”

Through his combat experience, diplomatic efforts, Georgetown education and now Tillman scholarship, Torres has found human connections and community-building to be a key ingredient for social impact.

“Working with people to make a positive change by building a shared community is rewarding,” says Torres. “These experiences made me realize how much I could contribute to the world by using my war experience to prevent conflict.”