The Department of Public Policy's students come from a wide range of backgrounds and hail from all over the globe. Below are profiles of our current students.
Pamela Sear, Graduate Certificate in Environmental Policy
Learn more about Pamela and her experience.
Zanofer Ismalebbe, Master of Public Policy
1. Current employment: I am a Sri Lankan national currently working as the Human Rights Adviser and Programme and Team Manager at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Geneva, Switzerland. Previously, I have held field assignments in the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNHCR. I am a lawyer by profession with a Master of Law (LLM) degree from the University of Essex, UK.
2. Reason for taking the MPP program?
• Realizing that individual approaches can no longer be sustained, the UN system is striving to support countries to tackle a wide range of complex problem in a more holistic and widespread collaborative manner. Various policies ought to be made more inclusive, relevant, and contextualized as the demands for more and visible results are on the increase on all fronts. But, policy making, regardless of the specificity of the problem(s), does not take place in a vacuum and/or isolation but rather within the broader public policy making process that has various dynamics, including internal and external political dynamics.
• Thus, country level engagement requires a better appreciation of public policy making processes. The accredited MPP program, with a terrific cadre of professors, offered everything that I was looking for – relevance, rigor, challenging, quality and richness, engaging teaching methodology, cost-effective and sensitive and flexibility to various expectations. All of these set the conditions for a perfect enabling environment to balance professional, travel, personal, and academic commitments.
3. Benefits of the program? How you are using (or plan on using) the degree to further your career objectives?
• Immense benefits already, as, during the course of the program, I was able to test various concepts, theories, and tools in my work and assess the relevance in a practical environment. Excellent benefit of studying whilst employed. Everybody – you, your employer, and the rest of the class, stand to benefit!
• A wide range of subjects were taught and, as a lawyer cum development practitioner, I was also able to better understand the tremendous influence and impact, for example, micro-economics and state and local public finance have in real-world policy making. A “bridge” between lawyers and economists is a necessity to tackle complex and intractable problems.
• With certain career objectives in mind, I not only conducted extensive comparative research on inter-agency collaborative processes within the public sector and the UN system to better understand the pull and push factors but also gained, as part of my Public Management concentration, in-depth insights into leadership, empowerment, motivation, and cross cultural management – very important for a multi-cultural organization that is at the heart of ensuring peace and security, development, and human rights, often in highly sensitive and politically, culturally and operationally challenging environments.
• Environment is another growing policy area that will influence future development architecture and the subject on environmental policy was extremely useful in terms of understanding various theories, concepts and the process of environmental decision making from an incentive-based approach and alternatives analysis, including values-based.