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MA Human Rights and Conflict Management

The MA Programme in Human Rights and Conflict Management at XXXX is my choice for graduate school because of the excellence of your faculty and the world renowned character of your program, offering the precise combination of material - from an interdisciplinary perspective - that I want to learn. I also very much appreciate your close cooperation with international organizations and the fact that students have the opportunity to complete an internship with a peacekeeping mission to practice their skills in a real-world environment.

My motivation to pursue this Master programme grows out of my seven-year experience of designing and managing projects geared towards the protection and strengthening the observance of human rights and freedoms in Afghanistan as well as in post conflict environments in Central Asia. I am keen to enhance my academic background and practical-operational skills in these areas to play more influential roles, change lives for the better and support the development of peaceful and democratic societies.

In 2013, I served in Afghanistan with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), an international development organisation working in over 30 countries; this would become a watershed experience in my career, enabling me to better appreciate the transformative power that an effective development organization can have on the lives of local populations - when development includes a human-rights approach and solutions are implemented in culturally acceptable ways. This was particularly true about AKDN’s work seeking to improve access to education and health for girls and women in Afghanistan.

Upon returning to Kyrgyzstan, I decided to deepen my involvement in human rights. For the past three years, I have been serving as National Officer on Media and Information Policy for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the largest security organization in Europe, working out of their Centre in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I have been advocating for media freedoms, freedom of expression and journalists’ safety and reporting on relevant cases to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The recognize human rights that form the bedrock of modern democracies are viewed by the OSCE as an indispensable part of security.  This idea has been reflected in all programmes implemented by the Centre in Kyrgyzstan which has experienced two revolutions and an interethnic conflict since gaining independence in 1991. The need to balance security and human rights has become even more relevant over the course of the past few years, as we have seen a clear shift towards more security-driven regulation affecting our liberties, especially our freedom of speech.

I believe that effective peace-building initiatives depend on respect for human rights, thereby minimizing the risk of further exacerbation of conflicts. I look forward to vastly improving my knowledge of best practices of human rights protection and promotion in international contexts to accurately analyse situations on the ground in their social, cultural, and historical contexts.  My ultimate goal is to evolve into a human rights advocate with increasing levels of international experience and expertise, hopefully working for a UN institution in a conflict or post-conflict environments such as Syria, Afghanistan, or Sudan. In time, I also hope to play increasingly important roles in policy development.

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