Undergraduate

Student
Tabitha Mirza

Tabitha Mirza

“My parents were born and raised in Bangladesh. I am the first generation of Canadians in our family and I feel lucky to have such supportive parents while I am gaining the skills necessary to enact change in our world. I chose international development because it is so interdisciplinary and uOttawa offers one of the most comprehensive programs in all of Canada. Although I failed Math in high school, I realized in university that I love statistics and that I am very interested in quantifying the effectiveness of international aid. I can now look at maps, reports and graphs and feel confident that I can draw valid conclusions from them. Upon graduating, I hope to work in the maternal health sector because good things happen in the world when women are empowered socially, academically, intellectually and financially.”

Student
Shahreen Shehwar

Shahreen Shehwar

From coop to international internships, there are so many ways of customizing your experience and making it diverse and practical. Before starting my studies, I thought this degree would lead the way to just working in government but I realize now that it could lead to working in other domains as well, from humanitarian work to diplomacy. The Aboriginal Economics course was really interesting to me.

Videos

March 2011 was a telling month in Syria. The events of that month - and those of the months and years that have followed - have defined a generation, not only in the Middle East, but across communities around the world.  In March 2011, I had only reached the halfway point of my education at the University of Ottawa. Much of that time had been spent outside of campus, doing field research in South Africa, at co-op terms in Public Safety Canada and CIDA, in the bustling classrooms of Bangladesh’s BRAC University and, that spring, in Paris.

I was completing my third co-op term in the French capital as an intern at UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning where I was receiving my first introduction to the UN system. Like most of my fellow students, I remember being aware of the events unfolding in Syria. But those were times of change in the Middle East, and Syria was another news story emerging, among many, from the region.

Today, almost four years later, Syria’s crisis is no longer an emerging catastrophe. 6.45 million internally displaced, 3.2 million refugees – these are unfathomable figures. For half of this war, I have worked for the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) office in Amman, Jordan, providing support to our six food assistance operations working to reach vulnerable Syrians inside Syria and across the region. Every month, we plan to feed 4.25 million people in Syria alone – a large effort made increasingly difficult by the evolving conflict. Through my work with WFP I have seen the impact of this war first hand –in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey – and have witnessed a region transform under the weight of this protracted crisis.

I started my work at WFP as an intern at the organization’s headquarters in Rome. It was the summer of 2012 and I was completing my internship as part of the University’s International Internships programme. By then, I had already finished an eight month co-op placement at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs’ Sudan Task Force, where I had conducted research on humanitarian assistance in conflict situations. The opportunity to intern at the largest organization fighting hunger worldwide- and one I had come across often in my research – was extraordinary. Following my internship and several months working in Rome, I was offered to join WFP’s Syria crisis response in Jordan.

The opportunity to be part of the humanitarian response to such a large and complex emergency, particularly so close to completing my university education, was rare; I realize this every day. Almost two years as part of the response to the Syrian crisis has not only showed me the value of my education but also my good fortune for having been able to complete my studies. Here, across the Middle East, refugee camps and cities are filled with Syrians who not only abandoned their homes, but their schools and universities, as a result of the war. When they will be able to return is still unknown.

(updated December 2014)

Sepideh Soltaninia

I am currently working with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as a Network Capacity Builder for partner organizations in Rwanda. In that capacity, I’m helping to strengthen the planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation capacities of five organizations in Rwanda who are collaborating on a major food security/sustainable agriculture project funded by MCC and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. That work includes gathering input from stakeholders (participants, farmers, extension workers) to incorporate into the planning for the next phase of the project, and helping to design a monitoring system to capture and reflect all that is happening.

It's been both interesting and exciting to be a part of this process, and I've been learning much about the environmental and economic challenges to food security and agriculture amid the many variables of the Rwandan context.

My time at uOttawa has prepared me well for this new role. In my fourth year I completed an international internship through the Faculty of Social Sciences, and got to learn about project planning and proposal writing while working with a Ghanaian NGO in Accra. I use these practical skills frequently, but I'm also realizing how important it is to use the critical thinking skills developed while writing papers and in seminar discussions to analyze the macro- and micro-level power dynamics that create the context within which organizations operate. I also really appreciate the diversity of topics covered through the course of my degree, and the emphasis placed on development being an inclusive process that is motivated and driven by communities.

(updated December 2014)

Shantelle Binnette

In 2011, I graduated from the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Development and Globalization (CO-OP). That same year, just shortly after my graduation, I moved to Geneva (Switzerland) to pursue a Masters in International Relations and Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, where I continued on with a Ph.D. in the same discipline. In September 2017, I successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis, which evaluates, using a randomized field experiment, whether and how intergroup encounters may affect competitive victimhood beliefs that are a source of ongoing armed conflict and an impediment to intergroup reconciliation. The research was carried out as part of a conflict prevention project entitled, “Bumbatira Amahoro – Keeping the Peace: Engaging Youth Leaders to Prevent Conflict in Burundi”, that was implemented around the 2015 elections in Burundi.[1] Just as I was completing the Ph.D., I was presented with the rare opportunity to join the monitoring and evaluation team of the Office of the Inspector General at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva as an Associate Evaluation Officer, where I continue to work today.

Looking back, the program in International Development and Globalization has helped me in several ways to reach the stage at which I am at today in my career.

First, the program’s interdisciplinary approach provided me with the knowledge and skills (especially research, writing, and critical thinking) necessary to continue onto graduate school. At the outset, although I knew that I wanted to work in international development, I did not know exactly the area that I wanted to specialize in nor what type of work I would like to perform as a career. However, during the last two years of my studies, after having completed a number of courses across several disciplines, the area I wanted to acquire an expertise in (peace and conflict studies) and the type of work I saw myself doing (research / policy analysis) started to come together. The latter was especially a result of the CO-OP Program. The completion of four four-month work terms in Canada and abroad, in both the public and private sector (e.g., Global Affairs Canada, the UNDP Country Office in Romania, and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies) allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills developed through my coursework, as well as to explore different career options. Together, both the theory and practice have equipped me with an international perspective and an ability to work in different environments with people from various cultures and backgrounds. The continued support and guidance provided by the professors at the School was also invaluable in this regard.

Second, being located in the capital of Canada, I was presented with many networking opportunities through which I met various practitioners, policy-makers, and scholars in the field of international development from whom I have also received support and guidance along the way, as well as collaborated with some on projects in the area of peace and conflict.

(updated December 2018)

Anca Paducel

Graduate

March 2011 was a telling month in Syria. The events of that month - and those of the months and years that have followed - have defined a generation, not only in the Middle East, but across communities around the world.  In March 2011, I had only reached the halfway point of my education at the University of Ottawa. Much of that time had been spent outside of campus, doing field research in South Africa, at co-op terms in Public Safety Canada and CIDA, in the bustling classrooms of Bangladesh’s BRAC University and, that spring, in Paris.

I was completing my third co-op term in the French capital as an intern at UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning where I was receiving my first introduction to the UN system. Like most of my fellow students, I remember being aware of the events unfolding in Syria. But those were times of change in the Middle East, and Syria was another news story emerging, among many, from the region.

Today, almost four years later, Syria’s crisis is no longer an emerging catastrophe. 6.45 million internally displaced, 3.2 million refugees – these are unfathomable figures. For half of this war, I have worked for the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) office in Amman, Jordan, providing support to our six food assistance operations working to reach vulnerable Syrians inside Syria and across the region. Every month, we plan to feed 4.25 million people in Syria alone – a large effort made increasingly difficult by the evolving conflict. Through my work with WFP I have seen the impact of this war first hand –in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey – and have witnessed a region transform under the weight of this protracted crisis.

I started my work at WFP as an intern at the organization’s headquarters in Rome. It was the summer of 2012 and I was completing my internship as part of the University’s International Internships programme. By then, I had already finished an eight month co-op placement at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs’ Sudan Task Force, where I had conducted research on humanitarian assistance in conflict situations. The opportunity to intern at the largest organization fighting hunger worldwide- and one I had come across often in my research – was extraordinary. Following my internship and several months working in Rome, I was offered to join WFP’s Syria crisis response in Jordan.

The opportunity to be part of the humanitarian response to such a large and complex emergency, particularly so close to completing my university education, was rare; I realize this every day. Almost two years as part of the response to the Syrian crisis has not only showed me the value of my education but also my good fortune for having been able to complete my studies. Here, across the Middle East, refugee camps and cities are filled with Syrians who not only abandoned their homes, but their schools and universities, as a result of the war. When they will be able to return is still unknown.

(updated December 2014)

Ginette Gautreau

I am currently working with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as a Network Capacity Builder for partner organizations in Rwanda. In that capacity, I’m helping to strengthen the planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation capacities of five organizations in Rwanda who are collaborating on a major food security/sustainable agriculture project funded by MCC and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. That work includes gathering input from stakeholders (participants, farmers, extension workers) to incorporate into the planning for the next phase of the project, and helping to design a monitoring system to capture and reflect all that is happening.

It's been both interesting and exciting to be a part of this process, and I've been learning much about the environmental and economic challenges to food security and agriculture amid the many variables of the Rwandan context.

My time at uOttawa has prepared me well for this new role. In my fourth year I completed an international internship through the Faculty of Social Sciences, and got to learn about project planning and proposal writing while working with a Ghanaian NGO in Accra. I use these practical skills frequently, but I'm also realizing how important it is to use the critical thinking skills developed while writing papers and in seminar discussions to analyze the macro- and micro-level power dynamics that create the context within which organizations operate. I also really appreciate the diversity of topics covered through the course of my degree, and the emphasis placed on development being an inclusive process that is motivated and driven by communities.

(updated December 2014)

Sarah D'Aoust