Zoya, MA Politics and Development graduate: “use your university education to strive for a better world, take risks, make decisions and go out there to make a difference”

ZoyaPlease explain how your career has developed since graduating.
I first joined Burma Campaign UK as a volunteer, then I became full time Campaigns Officer in 2007, I then became International Coordinator in 2009.  In January 2011 I became Campaigns Manager. I published my autobiography in 2009 as “Undaunted” in the US and “Little Daughter” in the rest of the world.

In 2009, I became a TED Fellow and a Rising Talent for Women’s Forum, and in 2010, I was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
I have been able to travel the world meeting Presidents, Prime Ministers and other political leaders trying to mobilise international pressure for human rights and democracy in my country. It has been a real privilege meeting activists around the world and to learn from their situation.
Zoya-quote-1What steps did you take in finding employment (e.g. careers centre, job websites, networking events)?
I was lucky, I was speaking at a protest where I was approached by a director of Burma Campaign UK who was impressed by what I was doing and later asked me to work with them.

What are the key skills you learnt at UEA?
It was a new learning style, not learning by rote, and it included debates and questioning.  I learnt more critical thinking, research, presentation, team work, time management and the ability to meet deadlines, self-reliance and some writing.

How have they made a difference in your career?
These skills are very helpful for my work as I manage day-to-day campaign activities as well as staff and volunteers. Thanks to UEA, I developed more self-confidence and this improved my communication skills, helping me to do what I am doing now, working to fulfil my dream of a free Burma.
Zoya-quote-2What piece of advice do you wish you’d received before you graduated?
Use your university education to strive for a better world, take risks, make decisions and go out there to make a difference.

Do you have any tips for current students or recent graduates?
There are lots of people out there in different part of the world who need help and support whether in humanitarian, development or other sectors. I hope that you’ll use your university skills to reach out and help develop the world in any way you can.

What aspect of studying in DEV do you think was most helpful in terms of increasing your employability and/or getting your current position?
Formal education played a great role. Knowledge of development issues, understanding of the world systems through research combined with personal experience as a refugee, skills including computer, presentations, research writing and networking. I am proud to be a UEA graduate.

Zoya studied MA Politics and Development at UEA, graduating in 2005.

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