You are here

Evangeline Helu
(Namibia)

MSc in Politics, UCD

Evangeline works at the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO) in Namibia. As the first recipient of the inaugural Seán MacBride Fellowship, she was awarded to study an MSc in Politics at the University College Dublin in 2019-20.  

My studies will no doubt be applicable to the work that I do as a diplomat in the Ministry. I will put to use all the political practice and theory, as well as the analytical and research skills which I will gain from my studies into the workplace.

I work in the Administration Department of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO) of Namibia. My responsibilities include the administrative and financial management of the ministry and its diplomatic missions. When on diplomatic posting my role includes that of administrative and financial management of the mission as well as duties related to relations with the country of representation. I have had the privilege to serve at four Namibian diplomatic missions over the 29 years that I have been working at the MIRCO.

I am currently studying an MSc in Politics at University College Dublin. The course is very much related to the career path that I have chosen for myself. I have always been interested in politics due to my engagement in the student movement and liberation struggle before Namibia’s independence. Shortly after independence, I started working in the Administration Department at the MIRCO. My multiple postings to multilateral diplomatic missions exposed me to political work which invoked my interest in politics. This led me to undertake a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, and now I am studying an MSc in Politics at University College Dublin. The course is very relevant to my career ambitions, and I hope that the new knowledge I will gain will better prepare me for a career in diplomacy and possibly within politics.   

So far, I have learned about various topics and issues in international politics and learned about some of the most important concepts in international political theory, including: sovereignty, duties of assistance, humanitarian intervention, and human rights. I have further benefited from studies on the economic, social, political and cultural conditions of African countries, and how these conditions have been moulded by history. The most interesting part of the course has been the introduction to quantitative data analysis in political science through the use of the statistical tool of regression analysis. This has equipped me in such a way that I am able to utilise this new skill in analysing contemporary political events comprehensively.  

For me, adapting to life in Ireland was not much of an adjustment as I have had the chance of living in many cities around the world. I found Dublin to be refreshingly cosmopolitan and diverse, which was a pleasant surprise. I will miss the richness of the Irish culture and the friendliness of its people, and of course the beautiful scenery.   

My studies will no doubt be applicable to the work that I do as a diplomat in the Ministry. I will put to use all the political practice and theory, as well as the analytical and research skills which I will gain from my studies into the workplace. Studying a masters will also allow me to have access to better jobs and new opportunities that will allow me to impart my knowledge. My work will for sure be better executed due to the deeper knowledge of politics and enhanced analytical skills, and the confidence that it all brings with it. 

For my dissertation, I am considering a study of the effectiveness of female representation in the Namibian parliament. Namibia is one of the top five African countries that has successfully implemented the 50/50 representation of both sexes in parliament. However, while Namibia has made progress in addressing gender inequality through policies of affirmative action and 50/50 gender representation in political office, in recent times, women playing an active role in politics has begun to decline.  

My hopes for the future development of Namibia is to see a reduction in poverty and inequality, as the gap between rich and poor is ever growing. I also want to see my country address the growing cases of gender-based violence through targeted policies that are implemented properly. 

I would recommend other Namibians to apply for the Seán MacBride Fellowship. Ireland has some of the best educational institutions with robust programmes that will benefit any individual that values quality education. Any career-driven and motivated Namibian will benefit greatly from this generous offer by the Irish government which I am very grateful to be pioneering.