Rumbidzai M. Masango
1. What led you to study public policy at CEU?
My mentors advised me that in order to substantially contribute to development work in Africa, pursuing a public policy degree was necessary. Given the policy challenges I had experienced at the grassroots level in Southern Africa, I was attracted to CEU because of its affiliation with the Open Society Foundations. I also wanted to study at a university committed to providing relevant practical skills and education – the MPA program at SPP provides this through the Skills For Impact modules and the Passion Project.
2. What do you remember most about your time at CEU?
Three things come to mind. My fondest memory is the opportunity I had to meet George Soros in person. The second is when I delivered a statement addressing the 27th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva during my summer internship with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). This experience was made possible by the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance (OSIRG) program. Lastly, it's difficult to forget the wonderful friends and colleagues I made from the rich diversity of nationalities in my MPA class and within the broader CEU community.
3. What have you been engaged in professionally since graduating from CEU?
I am currently consulting for ISHR on a project that seeks to enhance the operating environment, particularly the legal operating environment, of identified groups of human rights defenders (HRDs) in West African countries. My research and advocacy efforts focus specifically on Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Sierra Leone. Prior to this I was working as an international tax programme officer for Tax Justice Network Africa, where I led a campaign against Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa called "Stop the Bleeding."
4. How have your policy studies at CEU contributed to your career?
I am now able to critically analyze policy challenges and do my best to suggest policy alternatives that are relevant to the context. I am able to write and present policy issues tailored for various audiences such as UN diplomats, parliamentarians, and human rights defenders on the ground.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself working closely with human rights defenders in Southern Africa having initiated and lobbied for the implementation of laws that protect them from reprisals.
6. Do you have any advice for current students?
Take time to enjoy and appreciate Budapest – it is a beautiful city. Travel in Europe, make the most of your Schengen visa! Lastly, feel free to get acquainted with staff and faculty in the School of Public Policy and in CEU. They have a wealth of knowledge, life experiences, and career tips that can further enhance your personal development as well as career prospects.
7. What is your favorite thing to do in Budapest?
Running on Margaret Island, Saturday brunches to catch up with friends, and enjoying drinks with classmates to relax after class.