The diversity at ISS gives one the added advantages of learning from other parts of the world
Name: Christo Z. Gorpudolo from Liberia
Major: Social Justice Perspective (SJP)
What is your background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and have worked for the past three years at the Independent National Commission on Human Rights in Liberia. I have served in two capacities, first as a human rights coordinator within the department of complaints, monitoring and investigation, and later as Coordinator for the Unit on Women Children and disabilities, a position I currently occupy.
Why did you choose ISS?
When I decided to pursue a Master degree in Development Studies, I knew that in order to effectively acquire the right knowledge and skills relevant to this field, I had to choose a school that is internationally recognized as a leader in Development Studies. I needed a place where I would be given the leverage to critically think about development in a multi-segmented way. I also needed the right internationally-inclusive learning environment; of all the schools I researched, ISS provided this for me, through its strong respect for diversity and inclusion.
How will this Programme help you in the future?
As a future development worker, I am optimistic that this Programme will help me obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to critically develop, analyse and implement development projects that are relevant and specific to the well-being of people, not only as beneficiaries but as active participants, thus reducing inequalities. Moreover, I am very passionate about human rights and believe that this Programme will help me to effectively continue my work in human rights advocacy through the attainment and appreciation of how gender and conflict issues intersect to mutually construct and reinforce human rights violations.
Would you recommend ISS/the Netherlands to others?
For those who are seeking to explore the development field from an interactive and multidimensional perspective, ISS is the right place. It provides the right academic environment for critical thinking and analysis of a vast literature. Additionally, the diversity at ISS gives one the added advantage of learning from other parts of the world, their approach and cultures without necessarily travelling there: it’s like learning about development through a global lens from people with different views on development. This makes the journey and contextualization of development all more fascinating!
In addition, the Netherlands is one of the best options for English speakers seeking to obtain a degree but concerned about language barrier: there are many programmes offered in English and it is possible to get around the Netherlands without speaking Dutch. Moreover, although Dutch are considered to be direct, they are generally accommodating and will speak English to you. The country also has a vibrant social life, making it easy to effectively balance school and recreation.