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MA in International Affairs, UK, Nigerian Woman

Raised partially in the UK, I am a young Nigerian woman who communicates exceptionally well in English on international levels as well as in Africa. I have studied in France as well and I continue to make progress in French since it is the other principal international language of my target location: Africa. I am applying concurrently to your especially distinguished programs in International Affairs and Globalisation, Gender and Development at XXXX for a variety of reasons, most of all your status as a leading world centre for the study of development with an explicit focus on gender. I see myself as a very good fit for your program because of the way in which my goals dovetail so nicely with your mission, promoting economic growth through the support of progressive social change, examining relationships and paradigms between sovereign states in a continuously evolving international system, implementing reforms that root out corruption and prejudice and especially discrimination against or the repression of women. Throughout African history and continuing on into the present day innocent women in Africa have often if not generally served as pawns in male power struggles that simmer for decades. We are in need, therefore, of a search for novel and creative ways to root out the practice of retribution in our cultures, learn to better mitigate conflicts, and foster the institutionalization of democratic practices throughout the region. In this way we will be able to produce leaders who will effect positive change and empower our peoples, making them more aware of what is entailed in the exercise of their basic human rights with the power of education!

I am a product of a continent that is often misconstrued by observers as primarily a region plagued by war, poverty, political instability and disease. While these elements are present all too often, this is from the perspective of the half-empty glass. From the perspective of a glass that is half full, Africa is a continent that is striving against enormous odds to find its own path. I see people every day who defy the odds to smile in the face of adversity and display vast levels of humanity despite their often wretched circumstances. I seek to better understand this so as to equip myself to contribute to effective social change.

At an early age, I developed an audacious personality and a voracious appetite for all things human rights- oriented. This character has always been encouraged and empowered by the support of my politically progressive family. My Grandfather, XXXX, set the family trail blazing as a minister under the Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. XXXX, during the First Republic. My Father was also politically successful, becoming a federal minister twice and Chairman of the Urban Development Bank of Nigeria. My late Mother rose from the position of State Magistrate to become a Justice of the Court of Appeals. She emerged first amongst all high court judges in the federation in the number of judgments and rulings she produced over a given time in an assessment of high court judges carried out by the National Judicial Council.  My Paternal Uncle, Dr. XXXX, was the Governor of Enugu State during the ill-fated Third Republic and rose to become the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2010. In fact, most of my father’s siblings are engaged in politics and I enjoy very much having this legacy to build upon and family to call on for support, guidance, or simply family love; it is a formidable legacy to uphold.

Concurring with Socrates that ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’, I completed my undergraduate studies mostly in the areas of Philosophy and Politics, earning my BA Degree in Diplomatic Studiess from the University of XXXX. This program enabled me to embark on the path towards fulfilling my professional goals through a critical examination of foreign affairs, international relations, and global issues among States. My focus through my studies has always been on international affairs and relations and I look forward to building on this as a graduate student concerned first and foremost with Africa’s relations with the rest of the world. My undergraduate education has enabled me to become a quite learner in the area of international affairs and a creative thinker whose passion surfaces naturally with questions of Africa on the one hand, and social justice one the other. I long to become a part of the international character and flavour of XXXX and rub shoulders with the best and brightest students from around the world, learning from them as well as my professors, always with an eye towards the study of international impressions of Africa and the extent to which this is commensurate with the reality. I have enormously excited about the prospect of studying the complete spectrum of courses offered by your programme and I would be profoundly honored to be part of the XXXX academic community.

I am hoping to vastly broaden my skill set at XXX and enhance my strategic, analytical and professional skills with respect to a wide range of gender and development policy issues set in complex institutional and regulatory environments because I hope to effect positive change in my community as a public servant dedicated primarily to economic development that at the same time promotes respect for human rights, especially that of women and children.

I embarked on intensive research projects during the course of my undergraduate studies involving an analysis of resources in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, theories of distributive justice and disparities between the wealthy and the poor, realities of globalisation and global poverty and its attendant justifications, etc. I interned as an assistant on a professional research project which analysed the principles of the free movement of persons within the context of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS). I was also a key participant on a project which examined alternative dispute resolution in civil justice systems in Nigeria and the impact of social media on the 2011 Nigerian election.  My researching skills progressively improved as I transitioned between projects.

My professional, academic and personal experiences have prepared me for a variety of development, administrative and project-oriented duties. Over a period of 8 years, I have had the privilege of working on assignments for the UN, the BBC, and the ECOWAS Commission/Parliament. My experience with these institutions has broadened my practical knowledge concerning how our international legal, business, and political systems function in practice, policy formulation and application, and the dynamics that both drive and can also hinder project implementation and economic growth.  

In my current role, I work with a team of migration experts to enhance the migration management capacity of ECOWAS Member States and ensure Member States comply with regional decisions and agreements. Recently, we realized a notable feat with the adoption by the ECOWAS Heads of Authority and Government of an ECOWAS biometric ID card for mobility of ECOWAS community citizens across borders in the ECOWAS region. I made highly significant contributions to the development of this policy. Along with a team of experts, I am currently in the process of implementing key actions within the project ranging from the development of a regional database platform for data exchange on traveler identification, to harmonization of immigration procedures, high level advocacy and sensitization exercises, along with the production of a secure biometric ID specimen acceptable to all Member States. The accomplishment of this objective would foster free movement of goods, people and services in the region and thereby combat irregular mobility, harassment at the borders, boosting trade within the region at the same time. I feel deeply honored to be an integral part of this process.

My long term goal is to serve in public office and be part of a team which reforms the political and economic climate of our region by formulating effective policies that generate socio-economic development of the ECOWAS region and combat social injustices. This is why I seek to undertake a Masters in your renowned institution. I feel this degree will equip me with the skills necessary to attain this goal. My Father is an alumni of XXXX, and not only would I be sustaining a family tradition, but I would be benefiting from an institution distinguished for producing countless brilliant minds, as evident in my father’s success.

My passion for human rights has further inspired my participation in humanitarian initiatives such as my work with the Sickle Cell Foundation, West African Civil Society Organisation and various other NGO’s. In the course of my studies I have held various positions of leadership; I was a School Prefect in high school, ‘A’ level school, the President of the International Bureau at A-level school, and the treasurer of the African-Caribbean Society in University. I co-founded a breast cancer foundation, (BREAST CANCER WOMEN CARE) in memory of my late aunt and members of my family who have been survivors of cancer. The foundation was created to increase the awareness of African Women about cancer, and to provide medical advice and emotional support for the victims and their families. We have managed to organize various seminars and fundraising events, and are currently working on building a fully equipped Cancer Center. I am a member of Amnesty International, and have participated in various projects such as arms control campaigns. I also participated in protests and signed petitions, helping to create awareness by giving a presentation on the need for greater progress in arms control at the Diplomatic Academy and at a youth’s seminar in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Most recently, my work with WACO involved social and local mobilisation to aid Ebola victims in Liberia. Through the use of social media and outreach programmes, I and a team of friends mobilised the donation of clothes, wash kits and financial aid to support countries plagued by the epidemic.  I recently joined St. Vincent de Paul Society in honour of my late mother. It has been quite a rewarding experience helping people first hand who are confronted with various challenges. My own experiences have humbled me and further strengthened my belief that every human has a right to justice and an inalienable right to explore their own potential, making the most of their gifts in the way that they so choose. I thank you for considering me for your competitive program.

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