Gustavo Giler, IBEI alumni 2013-2014
Name and Last Name: Gustavo Giler
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations
Current working company, position and city: Strategic Coordinator of labour at the Ministry of Production, Employment and Competitiveness (Quito, Ecuador).
1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s in International Relations?
Since 2006, I have worked in the field of international cooperation in my country, Ecuador. However, I felt that in order to improve my job performance I needed to have a deeper understanding of how the world of international relations worked. Thus, after obtaining a scholarship from the Government of Ecuador and evaluating different programs, I decided IBEI to be the right fit for me due to the quality of its faculty, the academic program, and its diverse campus community.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
My experience at IBEI was probably the best and most important experience of my life. It not only helped me grow professionally, but it also helped me grow at a personal level.
IBEI has the best teachers from the main University’s of Barcelona and Spain in the field of international relations. The classes, seminars and lectures from academic guests with prestigious backgrounds, allowed me to understand the theoretical discussions of IR and to concentrate in many of the areas I was interested to learn about such as Latin American Studies, Global Governance, Development and European studies.
Additionally, the international atmosphere was very present at all times and that is one of the things that made me enjoy my experience at IBEI the most. I spent a whole year surrounded by people from more than 12 different countries from Europe, America and Asia, giving me the opportunity to think and work with very different people. Last but not least, I made a lot of good friends with whom I keep in touch until until today.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
After studying in IBEI, I went back to my country and was hired at the Technical Secretariat for the Inclusive Management of Disabilities (SETEDIS) as an International Relations Advisor. I was in charge of the negotiation, discussion, elaboration and implementation of international cooperation projects and agreements in the area of disabilities. During that time we worked very closey with UN agencies and other international actors in the field of disabilities to improve the life of people with disabilities not only at a national level, but also internationally through diplomacy and cooperation. Later, I was promoted toUnder Secretary of Disabilities.
On 2015, I was selected by the Ecuadorian Vice-President to be the Technical Secretary for Disabilities.
4. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
I am currently working at the Ministry for the Production, Employment and Competitiveness in my Country. The Ministry is in charge of the coordination and improvement of the work done by the Ministry’s of the Productive Sector such as, the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Production and others. I´m in charge of the Strategic Coordination of Labour, developing policies to improve self-employment and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ecuador, coordinating the implementation of sectorial initiatives in this field and follow up of the projects, including the international commitments of the country in the labour sector.
5. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
The master helped me develop a set of skills that have permitted me to improve my work performance. Before the master’s, I used to design public policies and projects for people with disabilities and labour. Thanks to the knowledge I gained as an IBEI graduate, when preparing and working on policies, I now think about all the theoretical and empirical evidence we studied throughout the programme instead of political considerations and consequently, make better decisions. Also, the programme strengthened my research and critical thinking skills, which helped me greatly when I was asked to publish 2 articles and 2 chapters in academic books.
I moved back to Ecuador with a broadened understanding of the role and importance of international relations in a country, especially for developing countries such as the Latin American region.
During my experience at SETEDIS, one of my main responsibilities consisted in fostering south-south cooperation in the field of disabilities with 14 different countries. Through that experience, I had to negotiate and implement several cooperation projects and participate in discussions to insert the discussion of disability challenges in the international agenda such as SDG and Habitat III.
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
Absolutely. From my personal experience in the public sector, being specialized in International Relations gives you the ability to work in different areas such as health, labour, disabilities and so on. At this moment, I think I´m working on what I want; improving peoples lives through the constructions of public policies and international cooperation. In the future I´m considering looking for a job in an International Organization to experience working from the other side.
7. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path?/ Some advice to future IBEI students?
For current students, my advice would be to try to learn as much as they can from the professors and the texts they recommend. Prepare and participate actively in the debates and seminars. The seminars are one of the most helpful tools, because they focus on current topics in the international agenda, how this discussions are handled by countries in international organizations, etc.
For future students, don’t think twice and choose IBEI. You will experience the best academic year in a multicultural environment and in one of the most cosmopolitan cities, Barcelona.
8. What do you miss most about the IBEI?
I miss the international environment IBEI offered . Being with people from all over the world gives you another perspective about life and enhances the overall experience of studying international relations abroad.