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Regular version of the site

Political Analysis and Public Policy Programme Leads to Exciting International Career

After graduating two years ago from HSE’s Master’s programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy, Svetlana Kosmakova took a job with the International Committee of the Red Cross as a Migration Program Officer. She recently spoke with Sanjay Rajhans of the HSE News Service about her studies at HSE, the trajectory of her career, and what advice she would offer prospective students in Political Analysis and Public Policy.

— Svetlana, could you begin by telling prospective students a bit about the work you do?

— For the past two plus years, I have been working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In my current role, I am managing migration-related programmes of the ICRC Regional Delegation for Russia, Belarus and Moldova. Within the Regional Delegation, I am the focal person for the Migration file and its development. This position combines both operational and analytical and strategic components. I am really grateful to the professors for giving us a deep understanding of policy processes and a systematic approach to research.

— What do you remember from your studies? Did your classes consist of lectures only or were they more interactive?

— They were actually very interactive, especially the Conflict Analysis course taught by Professor Nina Belyaeva. I have never attended a course that was so interactive. It was all about group work, team building, and understanding and anticipating your opponent's position.

I recall we had to make a case study and present it. My team chose to analyse the conflict between the US Government and Swiss banking institutions over banking secrecy (when the US wanted Swiss banks to violate the confidentiality and privacy of their US clients). When we chose this case, our knowledge of the banking system was very limited, so it was a big challenge for the group. But I think we managed to handle it quite well. In the process, we learned a lot about each other and how to work in an international team.

— How have your studies helped you get where you are today?

— My studies gave a tremendous impetus to my career. As far back as I can remember, I had a passion for doing good, but it was not before I joined the programme that I managed to turn this passion into a meaningful career.

While studying in the programme, we not only got to learn about rights and responsibilities, but we also got to exercise them by forming a student council and working on behalf of our fellow students.

During my studies, I not only acquired theoretical knowledge in my areas of interest (human rights and migration), but I also completed two research internships: one with the Bureau of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Moscow and another one with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Those two internships launched my international career.

— What was the scope of work in your first internship? Could you tell us a bit more about that one?

— My responsibilities included assisting with preparation of background materials, briefings and support for project planning purposes, as well as preparation of analytical material and research. Among other tasks, I completed an analytical review on social protection schemes for migrant workers and members of their families. The knowledge I gained proved to be very useful in my future assignment with the International Labour Organization.

— How did you go about conducting research for your term paper and Master’s thesis? Do you feel like your thesis helped you with your job after graduation?

— For my term paper, I dived deep into the subject of cosmopolitan values and migration, while my Master’s thesis was on human trafficking in Russia and Thailand. Both were supervised by Professor Belyaeva. The overall connection was the topic of migration, and three years after graduation I am still passionate about it, although I am working on it from a different angle now.

As for the sources and data for my thesis, that was the easiest part, I guess. At the time, I was interning with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) in Bangkok, so I had access to all kinds of data and information, attended thematic meetings and events, and received guidance from my supervisors at HSE and at UN ESCAP.

— What advice would you offer prospective students?

— I would definitely advise them to be ambitious, but focused. The programme offers two different tracks and comprises many different and extremely interesting courses, but working on a lot of small things can divert one’s attention towards another goal. It is important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. A well-tailored, high-quality curriculum is essential for quality learning.



See also:

Educational Experience in Russia

Matthew Boadi-Ampong from Ghana is a first-year student of Master’s programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy. He has shared his impressions of studying at HSE and living in Russia.

HSE Graduate Applies Lessons to Work in Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs

Since 2008, Indra Prasetya has been working as Chief of Protocol at the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs. A graduate of Gadjah Mada University with a degree in Social and Political Science, the 33-year old native of Kebumen, Indonesia went on to spend two years in the HSE Public Policy Department studying Political Analysis and Public Policy.

Student from Morocco: from Winter School to HSE Master's Program

Hamid Ait-El-Kaid is a second-year student from Morocco of the Master's programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy. His first exposure to HSE took place during a Winter School for prospective students in February 2014. After learning about the Public Policy programme, he decided to apply to HSE.

Migration Expert Stresses Importance of Diversity Ahead of Panel on European Refugee Crisis

On October 22, the HSE Public Policy Department and the Course on Comparative Migration Policy will hold a panel discussion on the European refugee crisis. Dr. Mahama Tawat, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and a specialist in comparative migration policy, will serve as one of the panel members. Dr. Tawat recently spoke with the HSE news service about his research interests, what attracted him to HSE and his views on tolerance and diversity.

Policymakers Are Like Modern Sisyphuses

On April 13-17, the HSE Public Policy Department will host aseries of lectures by Professor Philippe Zittoun, an internationally recognized expert in policymaking and policy research. He is currently Research Professor in Political Science, University of Lyon (LET-ENTPE); Research Fellow at PACTE, Science Po Grenoble; and Vice-Chair of the Research Committee "Public Policy and Administration" of IPSA. He was a Visiting Professor at Yale University in 2010.

Is Increased Democratization Domestically Linked to Improved Government Performance in Eastern Europe after the Cold War?

Thomas J. Volgy, Professor at the School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona USA and Executive Director of the International Studies Association is a political scientist specialising in international politics, democratic processes and domestic public policy. At the XV International April Conference this year Professor Volgy will be delivering two papers, one on his own and one with two fellow academics. We asked him to tell the English News service  more about them and about his work with HSE.

Winter Lessons at HSE

On 31st January to 2nd February 2015 HSE held its annual International Winter School. The Department of Public Policy and Master Programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy headed by professor Nina Belyaeva took part in the event. The Winter School welcomed participants from Germany, France, China, Japan and other countries.

HSE Winter School: The Whole World in Miniature

From January 24 to February 4, HSE's Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs hosted an international winter school. Sixty students from across the globe (Korea, Japan, China, Germany, Italy, Poland, Egypt, Morocco, to name but a few) came together for 12 days and were plunged into the hustle and bustle of daily life in Russia.

Political Scientists from Five Continents Gather at the HSE to Discuss Workings of Public Policy

On May 28-29, 2014, an international academic conference ‘Analytical Communities in Policy Advisory Systems at the Global and Local Level: Comparative Analysis of Policy Impact’ took place at the HSE.

HSE and University of Bologna sign new agreement on dual-degree programme

Students in HSE’s Political Analysis and Public Policy master’s programme who have studied for at least a semester at the University of Bologna and successfully defended their thesis will be able to receive degrees from both universities. Similarly, Italian students who study for a semester or a year at the HSE will have the same opportunity.