Sandhya Chandrasekharan

Nationality: Indian
Program: Mundus MAPP
Graduated: 2009
Current job: Fellow on Multilateral Environmental Agreements at the Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL), an Indian-Norwegian bilateral cooperation project
Location: Chennai, India

Beyond Work

+1. Which Hungarian words do you still remember?

Cukrászda [confectionary store] and torta [cake], besides köszönöm szépen [thank you very much], igen [yes], and nem [no].

+2. What is your favorite city in the world?

Easily Budapest! The architecture and the sights are awesome, it snows, and the farmers markets stock the freshest products. Hot wine in the Christmas markets and lángos [deep fried flat bread] with sour cream and beer are must-trys.

+3. What was your dream job when you were ten years old?

Pastry chef.

+4. What helps you wake up on Monday mornings?

Just feeling blessed and happy to have the life I have.

1. What led you to study public policy at CEU?

I was working as a programme officer with an Indian NGO with an international presence, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) Ahmedabad, when a colleague suggested I apply for the Mundus MAPP program. My background in applied social sciences made me naturally interested in the development studies and public policy combination, which meant at the time a year at the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam and a year at CEU. What guided my choice was the need to understand how development planning could lead to better on-the-ground realities.

2. What do you remember most about your time at CEU?

Reading in the library until 9 pm on most evenings, meeting up with those whose company I enjoyed, and the safe solitary walk along the Danube back to Tátra utca, where I stayed in a rented place.

3. What have you been engaged in professionally since graduating from CEU?

After graduating in 2009, I worked for a year as a sub-editor for a start-up English-language daily in my home town, then taught in a private college for a year. In 2012, I moved to Bangalore and accepted a position as research advisor to an NGO engaged in social sector policy research. In the beginning of 2015, I was accepted as a Fellow on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) at the Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL), where I work to further India's mandate related to the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other biodiversity-related MEAs.

4. How have your policy studies at CEU contributed to your career?

Globally, there is a lot of interest in governance beyond government, and policy studies at CEU equips students with the analytical tools and skills to contribute effectively to the work of the many different actors who have this focus.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Engaged in policy-relevant research and advocacy for the environment in the Asia-Pacific region. I may also consider pursuing a PhD.

6. Do you have any advice for current students?

It is good to choose your courses strategically, and after giving some thought to where you see yourself after CEU. Too many options can be tempting and distracting at times!

7. What is your favorite thing to do in Budapest?

Admire the Parliament building on snowy mornings.

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