Studying and living at the University of Birmingham has been for me one of the more rewarding experiences in my life. I got a PhD in Public Policy that allowed me to move forward in my career in international development. I was privileged to joint the Department when it was still the Development Administration Group (DAG) and was able to see and experience its day to day transformation into the International Development Department (IDD).
I was privileged to have as members of my PhD supervisory panel, Andrew Nickson, and Professors Richard Batley and Ken Davey. All of them with extensive academic work on local government issues but also on public administration in general. All of them, as well as all the other members of the academic staff at IDD, have direct experience in public administration and development around the globe. This represented for me the key element when deciding applying to join IDD to do the PhD.
The doctoral experience for me was a fantastic journey that also included a strong friendship with many fellow doctoral students. Many of them continue today as member of IDD, and I am very proud of seeing them as part of the management of the University. This includes Dr. Fionan Nunan and Dr.Paul Jackson. Many others are following academic careers in other centers of excellence like Dr. Amit Mitra (in the UK) or Dr. Ady Carrera (in Mexico). With all of them we shared the ups and downs of the PhD process, in our very interesting and dynamic PhD Seminars every two weeks......I have kept contact with several of my colleagues and have shared work and consultancy activities with them. This has been an incredible and totally unexpected ‘bonus’ that I got from my time at IDD.
My PhD at IDD was time of hardwork, time of learning academic discipline, and a basis for further professional development. Always within the framework of great friendship with the academic and administrative staff of the department. This was very inspiring and motivating.
I had the opportunity to participate in some of the IDD work overseas – in Kazakstan specifically. But also interacted with the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and the Latin American Centre for Development Administration (CLAD) several times as IDD member. Till today those linkages are active.
The professional work and activities of Andrew Nickson and Professor Batley allowed me to engage later on with the IHS (Institute for Housing and Urban Development) at the University of Rotterdam, where I worked after my PhD as Senior Public Policy Specialist based on the work I did in my PhD research but also in associating the use of internet for the research and teaching of local government and urban management issues.
Later I joined the United Nations Development Programme. I have been posted in many places around the world working on development. Throughout the years I have always met either graduates of academic staff in many places where I was working. Thus the linkages with IDD remain valid and strong.
Today I work at the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Before that I was United Nations Resident Coordinator and worked several years at the United Nations Development Programme on issues related to public administration, local government, urban management, and govvernance in several countries. Today I believe I would have not been able to do all of this without the academic, professional and learning experience at IDD.