Julia Biango

Lecturer at the University of Pretoria for the Fulbright Program

Why did you choose the M.A. in Global Thought and how did it prepare you for your current position?

I chose the M.A. in Global Thought as I wanted to delve deeper into the world of development policy in a such a way that was less inflexibly structured than other Master programs that focus on development practice. The thought behind my manner of study was to understand and critique, and the flexibility that Global Thought granted me in selecting my courses and forming my own intellectual path allowed me to explore my field from a multi-disciplinary and dynamic lens. The Master has prepared me for my current work as the Impact and Reporting Strategist for the Women’s Education Project by training me to examine and analyze current modes of practice and draw lessons from that knowledge to conceptualize pathways to tangible and sustainable outcomes.

Describe a favorite M.A. in Global Thought course or project and how it helped your academic, professional, and/or personal growth.

One of the most impactful projects I worked on during my M.A. in Global Thought was a group paper I wrote for Dr. Michael Doyle’s International Ethics course. The paper focused on the moral responsibility the European Union has in regards to the extensive human rights violations affecting refugees in Libya and what an appropriate political response would be given this responsibility. The three of us who worked on the policy proposal are all from different corners of the world, so having a discussion about ethics and values more broadly was fascinating and one of the critical moments where I found the sentiment behind Global Thought manifest in my academic career and everyday life.

How did you come to work in your current career field and what inspires you about your work?

Growing up as minority in the South made me inclined to empathize with those suffering from different manifestations of injustice. This inherent empathy paired with the impact of my experience living and studying in Cape Town, SA, greatly informed my desire to work in the field of development and poverty eradication. What inspires me about the world of development is that development practitioners have an incredible opportunity to work alongside the impoverished to tap into their wealth of knowledge in order to empower their communities. I think that having an orientation towards development in which you, as a practitioner, work as a tool the assist people in more fully realizing their potential captures the inspirational component of the field of the development and the space I would like to inhabit in it.

What advice would you offer current Global Thought students as they enter the job market?

As a Global Thought student, you have the rare opportunity and freedom to fully shape the degree to fit your professional needs. As a part of the Global Thought Master Program your academic work touches upon a plethora of themes—from public to private sector linkages, to culture, politics, history, economics, sociology and beyond. Your advantage as a Master of Global Thought is that you can think both inside, and outside the box… and perhaps within and between multiple boxes as well.

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Julia Biango, Class of 2018