My name is Mekdelawit Bayu and I’m a second year Master of Development Practice student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. I also got my B.A. in Global Studies with a concentration in International Political Economy and a minor in African and African American Studies from the University of Minnesota.
I love my current program at the Humphrey School because it is a practice degree, meaning almost all classes have assignment components that require you to work with “real world” projects and issues- from macroeconomic analysis using World Bank data to investigating Aquaponics as viable community development enterprise. It is also interdisciplinary in its truest sense, so we have classes that range from Agroecology and Strategic Planning, to Economics of Development and Environmental Planning.
I am also doing my Certificate in Nonprofit Management and minoring in Program Evaluation. I decided to do a combination of these three things because I feel these are the areas of expertise needed to do good work in the international development sector.
So, needless to say, my interest lies in international development, program evaluation and nonprofit sector and more importantly, how these thematic areas and sectors work towards advancing women and child rights in all its forms – access to health, education, food, housing, income generation etc.
My professional interests are very much influenced by my personal background. I am an Ethiopian who has been living in the U.S. since 2009. Growing up in one of the least developed countries in the world and seeing the injustice and suffering that most have taken as matter-of-fact in their lives is what drives me to study what I do and aspire to work in the field of international development.
My personal conviction also comes from acknowledging my privileged status of growing up in a middle class family in Ethiopia and now a diaspora who is western educated and residing in the U.S. I realize that I am granted with opportunities that a majority of Ethiopians can only dream of. I do not take my privileged position lightly as I believe that it comes with great responsibilities.
To this end, I am excited to share my perspectives and analysis on diverse values, practices, and policies around women’s rights and feminism globally. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section or reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!