Our alumni are key members of the Blavatnik School community across the globe, taking our mission of a world better led, served and governed across continents and sectors. They range from ministers and elected representatives to founders of not-for-profit companies, from senior civil servants to city mayors; some of them lead the efforts of multinational firms to engage with the public good.
Part of our vision is building a network of policymakers and changemakers – our alumni – who can reach across countries and sectors to gain advice, support one another, and find common reference in the values and conceptual tools they have been given during their MPP in Oxford.
Throughout the year, our alumni connect with students, staff and faculty of the School and also with each other, offering mutual support across borders and finding common reference. They are critical to the day-to-day life of the School: helping recruit the next generations of students; offering advice and opportunities to those on course; and engaging with School events and faculty research.
For example, some of our alumni played key roles in our recent Challenges of Government Conference, themed around ‘The New Generations’. This included Jeremy Roberts, now Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario, Canada, speaking about his perspective on whether it is more effective to bring change from within government or through external activism; Aïda Ndiaye, who leads on public policy for Facebook in the sub-Saharan Africa region; and Enrique Zapata, an expert on technology and data. We also heard from Freshta Karim, founder of educational charity in Kabul, Soledad Nuñez Mendez, former minister of Housing in Paraguay, and Marian Schreier, Mayor of Tengen, Germany (and the youngest mayor in the country) who discussed the role of cities in the lives of young people.
Our alumni connect with the School and with each other in so many ways. By studying with us, you become a part of a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about better public policy in their respective areas of work.
There are plenty of funding opportunities for those who apply for our Master of Public Policy, and for those of you who are still undecided, our most recent blog "The value of Oxford's Master of Public Policy" outlines the key elements which are unique to our MPP.
Please remember that the deadline to submit your application is on 10 January 2020. We recommend that you apply early so that we will be best able to assist you if there are any questions or issues (the School and central University team will take a short break for the holiday period, so it’s best to submit early).
Some examples of how our alumni network comes to life and connects our alumni with each other:
- Jordan-Nicolas Matte (MPP 2016) was one of a number of alumni who supported Jeremy Roberts (MPP 2015) when he stood for election as a Member of Provincial Parliament in the Province of Ontario, Canada in June 2018. Jordan says:
“Volunteering on Jeremy’s campaign was an exhilarating experience. It was a privilege to knock on doors for a friend whom I strongly believe in, a young politician that has already given a leading voice to his constituents. In my mind, Jeremy embodies the leadership qualities of the Blavatnik School, packaged with a good dose of humility. On election day, I met up with Connor Lyons (MPP 2015) and two Oxford MBA graduates to give a final push for Jeremy. The ultimate success was Jeremy’s victory after a nail-biting vote count."
- Yuxuan Chen (MPP 2017) met up with Karen Mumba (MPP 2015) while working at Kivu International in Zambia for her summer project, having made contact through the alumni online community. Yuxuan says:
“We had a good chat about our career aspirations as well as our different perspectives on the debt position in Zambia and the implementation there of China's Belt and Road Initiative – which was the focus of my project. Karen also gave me useful advice on experts to speak to whilst in Zambia.”
- After graduating from the MPP, Ninon Godefroy (MPP 2016) co-founded LEAP (the Life Expression and Aspiration Project), an innovative education programme in Taiwan that moves away from rote learning and high pressure. She has drawn on her fellow alumni to make the project possible. Ninon says:
“As I launched my first programme last summer, Cameron Winnett [MPP 2016, Australian], Matt Pierri [MPP 2016] and Ryan Terribilini [MPP 2016] flew over to teach classes on critical thinking and improv theatre. This year, more alumni have offered to come and teach. In addition, Freshta Karim [MPP 2016], Judy Ka-wai Kong [MPP 2016] and I have started a group to exchange and support each other as we are all working in the field of education. The hope is that they will also be able to come and visit my programs in Taiwan. I also got precious help from Karthik [Ramanna, Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School], who shared case studies with me over the winter. The support I got from my classmates and the School has been extremely valuable in two ways. First, launching something new can be a little scary and quite vulnerable. Having these friends flying over to help and believing in my cause gave me great confidence and courage to go out there and make change happen! Second, when building educational programmes you can quickly become absorbed by what happens in the classroom and at the curriculum level and forget the bigger picture. Exchange with my Blavatnik School friends always allows me to zoom out, and think about the policy aspect, the bigger picture.”
- “Urmila [Pullat, MPP 2014] invited me to join the group and I think it is fantastic”, says Bruno Schettini Goncalves (MPP 2015). He is referring to the policing and criminal justice group – one of eight sector groupings formed by alumni and supported by the School that allow alumni working in the same sector but across different countries and continents to share ideas, advice and opportunities. They include education; think tanks and start-ups; policing and criminal justice; international development and humanitarian affairs; healthcare; multilateral organisations; digital governance; and ‘big tech’ (which covers alumni working for the likes of Facebook, Amazon and YouTube).
- More groups are being formed as our alumni gain critical mass in different areas, and various ways to connect are being piloted, including opportunities for alumni to tap into Blavatnik School faculty expertise: the digital governance group has held webinars with Stefan Dercon, Professor of Economic Policy at the School, on addressing digital inequalities.