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Camila Aviña Zavala, IBEI alumni 2005-06

Name and Last Name: Camila Aviña Zavala

Nationality: Mexican

Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations

Class: 2005-06

Current working company, position and city: Member of the Mexican Foreign Service. Deputy Director General for Development, Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mexico).

1. Why did you choose IBEI Master’s?

I applied for a Fundación Carolina Scholarship, and after researching the available options, I found that the IBEI Master’s in International Relations not only had the best program, but I also found the student- faculty ratio would allow me to have a personalized relation with the academic staff, which was very important for me.

Being awarded the Carolina Scholarship to study at IBEI was one of the worthiest opportunities in my life.

2. What is your experience at IBEI? 

I enjoyed every part of my stay at the IBEI, from the academic and research skills I got, and the new perspectives on International Relations, to the regional and intersectional approaches to the study of international affairs. At IBEI a I had my firsts approaches to the European Union, the Mediterranean, a broad perspective on Asia, and the Middle East, which were very useful after an academic training focused on North American and Latin American perspectives for having studied in Mexico.

I love living in Barcelona and having friends and fellow students from different academic backgrounds and from more than a dozen countries.

3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI

After going back to Mexico and doing academic research on Migration Policy for a couple of years, following the topic of my IBEI thesis, I decided to join the Mexican Foreign Service.

Through a hard selection process, where the academic tools provided by the IBEI were certainly useful, I join the Foreign Service in 2009. Since then, I’ve been posted to the Asia Pacific Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I served as Cultural Attaché at the Mexican Embassy in South Korea. I was Consul of Mexico in Boston, where I oversaw the documentation and community affairs departments.

I am currently working as Deputy Director General for Development at the Directorate General for Liaison with Civil Society Organizations where my main responsibility is to promote the incidence and participation of civil society in Mexican foreign policy.

4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?

The IBEI taught me a lot about adaptation to multicultural environments, respect the diversity of opinions and perspectives on issues on the international agenda. All these tools have been very useful to me, not only to join the Foreign Service, but to live and work in different countries.

5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?

It is more that I was expecting. Being a Diplomat has been a challenging but rewarding experience. Not only I have been able to apply my knowledge, but I keep learning from every country and every duty I’ve been assigned.

6. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?

Knowledge is not only in the classes, the books and lectures it is also in the daily talks with the professors and the students from different backgrounds. It is also in the streets of El Raval if you keep your eyes and mind open.

7. What do you miss most about IBEI? 

After 15 years still miss living in Barcelona, I also miss spending time discussing international affairs with my friends, while having the chance to also learn from their cultures and culinary traditions.