Rebekah Quixano Henriques, IBEI alumni 2020-21
Name and Last Name: Rebekah Quixano Henriques
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Development
Current working company, position and city: Communications and Engagement Coordinator at Tzedek (UK) & International Events Assistant at bon’t worry (Italy/remote).
1. Why did you choose IBEI Master’s?
I had just completed an undergraduate degree in Languages and wanted to study a wide range of modules to gain a full insight into Development. I was especially keen on choosing this course as I would be able to gain knowledge on essential topics in development like sustainability, economics, global governance and colonialism whilst honing my knowledge on migration, Latin America and Gender Studies. I also loved the idea of being able to keep up my Spanish and learn Catalan.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
I was fortunate that classes started in person, allowing me to meet and create real bonds with my classmates. There were only 20 or so of us, and even if I spoke to some more than others during the year, I met a group of people I know I will stay in contact with for a long time. They became the people I studied, relaxed, and celebrated with. We became each other’s support bubbles, cheerleaders and even fellow hikers.
The professors I had always seemed open to debate and appreciated input. They were demanding but also understanding. The support provided by my personal tutor(s) were exceptional. On the whole, they did their best to make their classes engaging and up-to-date.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
After a summer of visiting all the libraries in Barcelona to finish my dissertation, I headed home. I wanted to stay in Barcelona to find a job, but ultimately needed an income to do so.
Back in the UK, I treated job searching like a 9-5. I attended networking events and online lectures, I was on LinkedIn, IBEI Careers Centre and Charity Jobs every day. I invited old contacts to have virtual coffees with me, fine-tunned and beautified my CV using Canva, and made “job-search spreadsheets” with websites I wanted to look at weekly.
Wanting to escape my job search, I volunteered with the Italian INGO bon’t worry to organise a conference. The INGO grew from the founders’ personal experience and supports domestic violence victims to become economically autonomous survivors. Within my first week, I had produced my first concept note, met the team and introduce IBEI to the INGO.
In late October a contact I had spoken with messaged me on LinkedIn with a job advert at his old workplace. A position had come up at Tzedek, an NGO mobilising Ghanaian, Indian, and UK Jewish communities to alleviate poverty and break barriers to a just world through partner-led localised development work, civic engagement and education. I applied, feeling very lucky to know this contact and to be able to ask him silly questions. I am now working for Tzedek full-time. We’re a small tight-knit team of five so whilst my job mostly involves managing the social media and website, creating fundraising campaigns and facilitating education sessions, I also have been involved in producing board reports, donor engagement and strategic planning among other things.
I am also continuing to organise the conference, facilitated by myself and the bon’t worry team. The event will be supported by the IBEIAlumni network. The event will take place on the 16th September 2022 at IBEI and will be open to lawyers, researchers, students and practitioners who are interested in cross-country multilateral learning to close the gap between international law and practice for survivors of domestic violence. Among attendees will be a representative from the Union for the Mediterranean, the founder of bon’t worry, and professors, alumni, and students from internationally renowned universities. Join us to collectively contribute to an action plan for policy change.
4. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
The courses I took gave me the vital knowledge needed to teach young people about topics of social justice. The capacity approach, Colonialism, Development models, writing proposal forms, migration, poverty, sustainability, governance and GDP are now all topics I can confidently discuss. The Basics of Fundraising workshop vitally enabled me to explain how my journalistic skills are a benefit to an NGO. Crucially, studying Gender, Development and Security with Itziar Mujika Chao got me thinking about violence, culture and development interlink, and enabled me to write my speech for the event.
5. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
I knew I would be using my communications skills somehow in the third sector but thought I would focus on migration, English as a Foreign Language or volunteer management. I also didn’t really expect to be so lucky in my job search and I could never have imagined organising such a major international conference.
6. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?
Make the most of the IBEI Career workshops and the more practical modules if you’re fresh out of uni. Write and publish as much as you can and arrange virtual coffees now with people you look up to. Oh, and of course, come and network at the conference this September!
7. What do you miss most about IBEI?
The incredible sense of eagerness everyone had to learn from each other.