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Mekbib Mengesha Kassahun

MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy, University College Cork

Before coming to University College Cork (UCC) in September 2016, Mekbib was working as a Director of American Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

I believe that the skills and professional experience that I obtain through my study in UCC will make me an asset to my country

I have been serving in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for about 10 years including one overseas assignment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia works closely with embassies from countries that are development partners of Ethiopia and as a programme country of Irish Aid, the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa is one of these embassies that our ministry is working with. The Embassy of Ireland opened in Addis Ababa in 1994 and Ethiopia also has an embassy in Dublin since 2003. It is thanks to this close partnership and cooperation between the Embassy of Ireland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia that I am able to get this opportunity to study in Ireland.

Currently, I am studying on the MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy at UCC. I already have two BA degree qualifications and had tried to advance to a Masters programme many times without success. So now with this opportunity, the dream comes true. It was my first course choice and I am grateful to UCC for accepting me on to this programme.  The course is very relevant to the work that I have been doing in my home country as well as to my future aspirations. Personally, I can say it is life changing and exciting to receive this scholarship opportunity.

The course is very focused and targeted to students who are interested to work in diplomacy and institutions of international affairs. There are various interdisciplinary modules related to international public policy and diplomacy which include: global policies and institutions; foreign policy and diplomacy; and other contemporary issues like politics of climate change, the EU systems and polices, and international law. The teaching methodology is so different and new and has introduced me to many new lines of thought and inspiring people. UCC is one of the best universities in the world and the energetic lecturers push you beyond the maximum limit but at the same time they try to assist and build you up all the way.

Studying International Public Policy and Diplomacy represents an essential stage of academic study which complements well my previous studies and work on one hand, but it is also a good opportunity to gain new knowledge which is, I believe, a basic foundation to achieve my career goals. Beyond that I believe that the skills and professional experience that I obtain through my study in UCC will make me an asset to my country. 

I intend to continue serving in the Foreign Affairs office and from this perspective the course helps to develop both general and interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding about contemporary developments in international diplomacy, and at the same times it helps to build practical skills in specific fields that are relevant and necessary for work in the international arena. I believe that it will be a milestone in my career that will help me to become a skillful and professional diplomat of my country that can proudly represent Ethiopia in the global arena, as well as a citizen of the world who can positively contribute to the wellbeing of others.

With this scholarship, I am getting a big key that can open the door to the next steps. There is a saying that education is the greatest gift that you can give to a person. Irish Aid is giving this gift and opportunity to many of us who are studying under the Fellowship Programme.