Ozlem Caliskan

MA International Studies (International Economic Management) 2006

caliskan-ozlem

"The University of Birmingham and more specifically POLSIS provided a truly international environment which enriched my exposure to different viewpoints and different cultures and offered me very good resources for my research. I enjoyed each day I spent at Birmingham and when I look back I can say that the year I spent at the University of Birmingham is one of the best years of my life up to now"

It is a pleasure to share my professional experience since leaving POLSIS. I pursued my post-graduate studies at POLSIS between 2005 and 2006, and completed my MA in International Studies (International Economic Management) in 2006 with distinction. When I came to POLSIS I was holding a BA degree in Political Science and International Relations and an MSc in Economics of the European Union, so I already had a good academic qualifications acquired in my home country, Turkey. And I had nearly six years of professional experience in the oil and gas industry as a marketing manager. But I still wanted to pursue further postgraduate studies in a reputable university in the UK to deepen my understanding of the global issues and have the chance to interact with the experienced faculty and fellow class mates from around the world. In 2005 I was awarded a Jean Monnet Scholarship by the European Union to pursue my postgraduate studies abroad. And I decided to go to Birmingham POLSIS.

The University of Birmingham and more specifically POLSIS provided a truly international environment which enriched my exposure to different viewpoints and different cultures and offered me very good resources for my research. I enjoyed each day I spent at Birmingham and when I look back I can say that the year I spent at the University of Birmingham is one of the best years of my life up to now. Since February 2009 I have been working as a Project Manager at the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) which is the development arm of the United Nations. I am responsible for managing and leading the implementation of IBM Corporate Service Corps Program (IBM CSC) in Turkey, a multistakeholder development project which is a robust public-private partnership of five organizations; UNDP (an intergovernmental organization), State Planning Organization of Turkey (government body), IBM (MNCs), Digital Opportunity Trust (an international NGO) and Corporate Volunteers Association (a local NGO). I am also responsible for coordinating the work and relations among these project partners which makes my work more interesting. In this program I am leading multicultural volunteer teams of IBM consultants (both on-site and virtually) and designing and managing voluntary business and technology (IT) consulting projects for the benefit of local partners in selected developing cities in Turkey. I am employed under the private sector partnership and ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) for development portfolio of the UNDP. We are advocating the role of the private sector and technology (ICTs) for the development of communities and emphasizing the enabling power of the ICTs.

My role at UNDP has been quite interesting and enriching both professionally and personally. As most of you know UNDP is working to make an impact on the lives of the people especially the disadvantaged peoples and countries for them to have better lives. UNDP is committed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and is working in to fight against poverty, help tackle climate change and promote sustainable development, advance democratic governance and support crisis prevention and recovery. And in every aspect of our work we have a human rights based approach and we work for gender equality and local capacity building is fundamental to our work. As part of my work at UNDP I liaise and work with a diverse array of organizations from public and private sectors and civil society. In addition to my regular duties I had the opportunity to help organise and attend key events such as UN conferences, high level meetings, visits of UN and UNDP heads to Turkey, etc which have been quite interesting. Before joining UNDP (right after I returned from Birmingham) for two years I worked as a Projects Manager at the Consultancy Centre of a business support organisation, ITKIB (Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Union). I focused on technology-enabled strategy projects, clustering, value chains, business support services for the benefit of SMEs and sectorwide competitiveness. In addition I am a certified expert on corporate social  compliance (SA8000 Auditor) and corporate social responsibility. I also have very good experience in large scale EU funded development projects management.

Finally I would like to mention that soon I will be acquiring global responsibilities under the CSC program. Since CSC Turkey have been a best practice and is at the maturity level, the global implementation partner of the CSC Program (an international NGO) asked me to direct the implementation of the CSC program in all countries under their responsibility, and soon I will be joining them as a Global Program Director to direct the implementation of the program in 6 different countries and share my experiences  from Turkey with program management teams in China, Kenya, Egypt, UAE, Tanzania and later Uganda