Testimonials

Undergraduate

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.


Sepideh Soltaninia

Graduated 2013, Honours BA in Development and Globalization (Co-op option)
Sepideh Soltaninia

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)


Shantelle Binnette

Graduated 2014, Honours BA in Development and Globalization
Shantelle Binette

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)


Anca H. Paducel

Graduated 2011, Honours BA in Development and Globalization (Co-op option)
Anca Paducel

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)

Graduate

Ginette Gautreau

Graduated 2014, MA in Globalization and Development (Co-op option)
Ginette Gautreau

After my Master’s at the University of Ottawa, I wasn’t sure where lift would take me. I remained very passionate about our global community, being connected to both the international and the local, motivated by “doing good” and fired up by politics and uneven power structures.

At first, I wanted to stay in Ottawa for a while, build up my career, maybe work abroad. I worked first with the Humanitarian Coalition for nearly three years. Learning intensely through the partnership of HC member agencies about international humanitarian assistance and the challenges of complex, long-lasting humanitarian crises. I loved that work, but ultimately realized it wasn’t the right sector for me – I eventually wanted to go back home to the Maritimes and I didn’t see the career path and my personal path mesh. So, I left with a heavy heart in May 2015 - one of the last projects I worked on at the HC was in support of refugees and victims of the Syrian crises. This event will catch up to me a few months later.

After the HC, I decided to pursue a career more focused on women’s rights and landed a job with the Canadian Partnership for Maternal and Child Health (at the time called the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health). I led the coordination of their annual meeting and connected with dozens of global health, women’s rights and international development organizations. Still, that pull to move back home was getting stronger, so I finally took the leap and packed up my apartment.

With my background in international cooperation and women’s rights, I joined the New Brunswick Multicultural Council first as Project Manager in November 2015. In a full circle, my first tasks were to support the anticipated resettlement of over 1,500 Syrian newcomers in New Brunswick. My work at the Humanitarian Coalition months prior were helpful in developing key messages to inform the public and member agencies on the realities of the crisis and provide important insight on the lives of refugees prior to their resettlement. My role at NBMC focused on empowering immigrant women. I led a project on supporting immigrant women experiencing domestic violence and instigated the creation of the New Brunswick Immigrant Women’s Association. Following a year of maternity leave, I returned to NBMC as Assistant Director – the role I hold today.

When not at work, I can be found at the pottery wheel, hiking with friends and discovering the beauty in my own back yard, planning my next trip, or, most likely, chasing after my toddler.

(updated October 2018)


Sarah D'Aoust

Graduated 2012, MA in Globalization and Development; 2009 Honours BA in Development and Globalization (Co-op option)
Sarah D'Aoust

When I decided to pursue my studies in International Development at the University of Ottawa I wasn’t sure where I would end up! I hoped that eventually I would land a job that was related to my field of study, where I could have a tangible, positive impact. After undergrad, the job prospects weren’t very promising, so I thought it would be a perfect time to do my MA. I was looking forward to learning more about development, and doing some original research of my own.

Nearing the end of my MA the job prospects really hadn’t improved as much as I had hoped. From my undergrad co-op experience, I knew that the best way to get a job with the government was through student work opportunities. I got my start with the former Canadian International Development Agency through an FSWEP (Federal Student Work Exchange Program) graduate student position. After I graduated, I continued working for the department and eventually secured a permanent position. I am now working as a Policy Analyst at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in the Global Issues and Development Branch. Since joining the department, I have been working on development and policy issues related to governance, and in particular natural resource governance. My education at the University of Ottawa provided a good foundation for working in development, and I apply the development concepts and principles that I learned during my studies to my work on a daily basis.

(updated December 2014)

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