Olga Correa, IBEI alumni 2006-07
Name and Last Name: Olga Correa
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations
Current working company, position and city: Scientific collaborator and master’s coordinator at University of Geneva (Switzerland)
My year at IBEI
Seeking and contributing for social justice for all has inspired me since my early years and has shaped both my professional, personal and spiritual paths. I’ve lived in Geneva since 2008, I’m now working at the University of Geneva coordinating a master program while reading my PhD in Sociology. I’m working on undeclared work and its impact on labour conditions in certain occupations. My name is Olga Lucia Correa Pinillos I graduated from IBEI in 2008, after an enriching year.
In the next paragraphs I will describe my current job, my professional and academic background. Then, I will discuss some of the IBEI experiences I've identified have had most impact in my professional and personal life. I will also describe what I liked the mos t and has been the most valuable at UN and academic work environments, and lastly I will share with you some of my plans for the future and my thoughts about the type of professional we need today in the international relations field.
My current job
I work as a scientific collaborator and program coordinator of the Master in Standardization, Social Regulation and Sustainable Development at Faculty. The goal of the Master program is to bring together in a single curriculum the following three thematic pillars: standardization, sustainable development, and social regulation. This is achieved through a partnership between the University of Geneva and the International Organizations. I work 50% on both activities under two different "caps", one day I'm a master coordinator and I hold, prepare, coordinate and teach seminars for over 60 very challenging master students and on the other day I'm sitting here on my desk writing my PhD or holding interviews collecting my precious data.
Before working at the University of Geneva, I was a Technical Officer on International Migration working at the International Labour Organization in Geneva (between March 2008 and April 2011). I worked on project design, implementation and monitoring of var ious technical cooperation projects. In addition, I contributed to the International Migration Programme by analysing data for the programme's development and research studies, drafting components for reports and ILO publications and facilitating training in collaboration with the International Training Center in Turin Italy. Prior working at the ILO, I graduated from the Master in International Relations at the IBEI and also hold a post graduate diploma in Diversity Management: Citizenship and immigration from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Before studying in Barcelona, I coordinated a unit on educational cooperation in Colombia (Centro Colombo Americano) in Bogota, Colombia and assisted a Latin - American - Catalonian centre of cultural cooperation for dev elopment in Spain (Casa Amèrica Catalunya). I hold a bachelor degree on communication sciences and Journalism at the Universidad Externado de Colombia in Journalism.
The traces of my IBEI experiences in my professional and personal life
I was deeply motivated to serve in international policy making after my experience at IBEI. I was especially challenged by the analytical method in the coursework of the master. Right after graduation, I found a challenging internship that concluded in a though - provoking job in the labour migration unit of the ILO, the specialised labour agency in the United Nations system. I've profited at great extent from my IBEI year. I believe it has been a milestone in my professional and personal life.
In my personal life for instance, having the opportunity to study with such an interdisciplinary, diverse and international group allowed me to prepare for a then, future job at the UN. We were a small UN with all the tension and the greatness this can cause. We also came from different disciplines and saw the world from our perspectives intellectually and culturally speaking. The diversity that we lived every day at IBEI, was the best diplomacy school one could have, and has deeply shape the way I saw a nd continue see the world and its dynamics today. Not to mention my dear friends from Barcelona and all over the world. We have certainly supported each other every time we can. There were a few weddings from master classmates and apart from loads of s tudy there was some fun and friendship.
What I liked the most and has been the most useful at UN and academic work
I remember often the type of exercises we use to be taught at our courses and seminars in IBEI. Mainly, on those based on the casebook m ethod, where we as students could read specific cases, topics or projects since it stimulated us to develop analytical skills and to induce/deduce the main concept for the subject matter.
The fact that we could select specific courses, which involved stu dying specific issues depending on the class, required the student to approach any issue more broadly. I loved the fact that frequently involved a multidisciplinary approach where assigned readings often were discussed mingling philosophical, legal, sociol ogical, economical or anthropological underpinnings of the many issues affecting international relations today. For example, I remember with consideration a specific course on the atomic bomb and its impact on international relations that allowed unders tanding today's world international geopolitics in clear set.
This more rigorous analytical process, which required me not just to identify the matter, but rather, to assess why there was such issue occurring under certain circumstances. I remember so me of the IBEI exercise's engaging and challenging. More especially those that went further the technical aspects of international relations and allowed us to engage into a more systematic thinking system that has had definitely marked my professional car eer until now.
My plans for the future
I plan to continue working on improving policy making by contributing by the academic or policy side. Perhaps, I would prefer staying in academia while combining research on specific policies. Another option could be of course going back to the UN and contribute from the policy maker's side. Since I have now a few years of experience designing training and related projects, combining training and research would be ideal. Possibly an UN agency training centr e could be ideal for me. Also, I could explore working at the advocacy level and research in private institutions or national government agencies.