M.A. Graduate – Class of 2021

I was born and raised in Germany to Sri Lankan parents. Being the child of immigrants, a so-called “Arbeiterkind”, society in its raw form has always fascinated me. How exactly does society work, what enables political change, who takes economic responsibility? These and many more questions made me choose at first an undergraduate degree in Political Economics. With a scholarship from the Hans Böckler Foundation I was able to study at Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg in Germany, before I decided to major in Sociology, as it would allow me to be more critical and multi-dimensional in my thought process. Here, I had the opportunity to study and work abroad twice; first as a Fulbright Scholar in the US, and then as an intern at a Sri Lankan company.

After graduation, I worked and volunteered with an intergovernmental organization (IGO) before progressing to an international law firm. The focus area being public policy as well as the social dynamics of data and information strategies. My experiences here illustrated exactly the challenges digitalization has on organizations and global companies. Strategies cannot be implemented without proper regulatory framework or a true understanding of social theory. This is what led me to choose the Global Thought Program.

At Columbia University I hope to follow an interdisciplinary study approach, to better understand the technological mechanisms that governments, transnational organizations, and individuals use to solve global problems; in particular, the tools used to restrict or enhance the accurate flow of information as well as the tools used to harm or improve human life, e.g. big data. The acceleration of both technology and globalization has made this intersection existentially critical. Through a M.A. in Global Thought, I wish to pursue this research interests in order to prepare myself for a possible career in public policy or in strategic foresight.