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MPA, Public Administration, African Applicant

My personal and academic background and working experience to date make me an excellent ‘fit’ with an MPA Program and I bring a genuine passion to improve the lives of people living in sub-Saharan Africa. I am aware that I cannot, single-handedly, change cultures in which indifference and corruption are widespread but I aim to be one of the catalysts to change culture, attitudes and behaviour and I see the programme as a major step in equipping me to achieve this goal. My particular interest is in the area of providing information, training and financial support to those seeking to create a micro-business and, indeed, to those who may have never considered such a means of escape from poverty and as a way of bringing wider benefit to their communities.

I grew up in Rwanda during and after the genocide of 1994 and lived there before moving to Switzerland at the age of 13. I witnessed the realities of war, displacement and forced exile as a child and during my early adolescent years. Naturally these experiences left lasting impressions and a great empathy for those living in communities exposed to poor governance and the resultant inequalities, corruption, violence and poverty and I have a passionate desire to help them.

I am conscious of the fact that there is a wide gap between wanting to bring about an improved world and moving towards that goal. The hope that many share with me to ‘make a difference’ can only be accomplished by acquiring and applying excellent planning and organisational skills, having a good understanding of the varied economic, social, political and cultural environments ‘on the ground’ and the challenges and obstacles that exist. I am also aware that contacts, able to provide specialist expertise or local knowledge, are invaluable in the field in which I seek to work. I am confident that the programme will enable me to improve lives by equipping me with the knowledge, skills and contacts to do so.

In the course of my work over the past three years at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, I have had the opportunity to take on various leadership roles in innovative regional and global initiatives. Among others, I participated in designing and conceptualising the Grow Africa Initiative, working with colleagues, C-suite leaders of Forum member companies, external stakeholders and highest-level public figures to contribute to the creation of a mechanism facilitating private-sector investment in sustainable agriculture. I also facilitated numerous interactions between the private and public sectors in the context of the African Strategic Infrastructure Initiative, the aim of which is to involve the expertise and know-how of the private sector to accelerate the implementation of key infrastructure projects. Currently, I am working on the Internet for All, a global project which convenes stakeholders from various backgrounds to collect successful examples for global internet access and adoption. I am eager to leverage the knowledge and experience gained at the Forum to find creative approaches to my interest in encouraging micro-entrepreneurship in Africa.

My career to date has enabled me to acquire and hone skills in networking, stakeholder management, research and project management, including building relationships with a large number of key leading actors in the public sector, heads of state and governments, ministries and government agencies, and gained exposure to key development challenges.

My African background and heritage provides me with an excellent basis on which to build in the area that interests me. My upbringing, studies and work in Europe has provided other insights and experiences that will enable me to ‘bridge gaps’ where cultural understanding ‘on the ground’ may be lacking. My native languages are French, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi; I also speak English fluently and have a working knowledge of Swahili and German. I am an outgoing and friendly person who is able to create and maintain excellent social and working relationships. I also have the warmth and humour common to those of my cultural background.

I have happily studied, worked and socialised with people of many social and cultural backgrounds. I love travelling and learning about new cultures and sharing information about my own. I have been involved in volunteer projects in Africa where I assisted in the construction of a village school and in India where I taught French. These projects provided me with great satisfaction and I hope to have the opportunity of assisting in organising such projects in the future.

This application is made because of the programme’s relevance to my goals and because of its prestigious reputation and the faculty leading it. I seek a highly challenging but supportive academic environment and am confident that it will be provided.

To summarize, I believe that I possess the necessary academic potential, knowledge base, experience, characteristics and, most importantly, the genuine passion for this field of study which will enable me to ‘add value’ to the program. I assure the reader that I shall bring a determination to excel and that I will apply myself diligently and enthusiastically for my own benefit, that of my fellow students, the faculty and, ultimately, the people of Africa.

Thank you for considering my application.

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