Strengthening civil society and interethnic relations

Andrea Garaiova

Image: Andrea at the MPP closing dinner. Photo by John Cairns.

“It’s no surprise to my classmates that I went to work in Kosovo after my Master of Public Policy. Improving the political situation there has always been my passion; I want to remove barriers between people and increase the reconciliation efforts in the Balkans.”

Andrea Garaiova studied for a Masters degree in International Peace and Security at King’s College London, and while she gained a lot of invaluable theoretical knowledge, she felt she was missing the concrete practical skills required to go into the field. This want for an applied course, coupled with her childhood dream of studying at the University of Oxford, saw Andrea jump at the chance to attend the Blavatnik School of Government.

The lectures focused on behavioural science and economics really struck a chord with her, especially the ones on leveraging and nudging, as well as the core module on Policy Evaluation.

“I found the Policy Evaluation module so useful; it helped make concepts tangible and tied together lots of our prior learning. I can also see the way in which my writing developed over the year; I am putting together proposal documents and presentations on a daily basis, and having learnt how to write effectively about policy is proving to be a vital asset.”

But it’s not just the course that Andrea has found to be instrumental in her development.

 “The Blavatnik School’s community and its individuals have been an endless source of inspiration for me; I have the cohort picture on my bedside table and every time I look at it I am in awe that I was so lucky to spend a year with such a wonderful group. They each inspire me to aim higher and to make the biggest impact I can.”

Following the MPP, Andrea became a Senior Researcher and Project Manager to a think tank that looks to contribute to state consolidation and societal harmony in Kosovo and the Western Balkans. “As the institution is still young, I was involved in a whole variety of tasks including undertaking field work, designing projects, and writing proposals, policy reports and web content. I really pushed myself, and found new functions I loved that I wouldn’t have necessarily considered before. It’s also been incredible to apply the skills I gained at Oxford to the political situation in Kosovo.”

Andrea is additionally working as a Consultant in a government-funded project focused on building civil society capacities in Northern Kosovo, and aims to improve interethnic dialogues. She is also involved with a Kosovo Foundation for Open Society initiative that aims to build knowledge of new statehoods in Southeast Europe, focusing on creating and disseminating new policy-relevant information about Kosovo.

November 2016