Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

While taking a graduate level class on global governance, Séverine Autesserre's article regarding the peacekeeping efforts in Congo inspired the theme of my thesis. Autesserre argues that strengthened local institutions and infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and roads should be the first solutions implemented as their absence helps sustain the conflict. For instance, young men were forced to work as soldiers due to a shortage of other options to earn a living; businesses struggled because of the chaos. The article pushed me to distinguish between solutions that addressed the heart of a problem rather than just symptoms.
My own experience confirms Autesserre's conclusions and strongly informs my path forward. I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. I realized that development was also the solution to the issue of emigration in the Philippines. The National Capital Region, which houses the Metro Manila area, receives 68.4% of the 2019 national budget, leaving the other 16 regions starved for support. As a result, the most wealthy and populated communities such as Makati and Quezon belong to the NCR. Metro Manila is congested with people and traffic while Filipinos in other parts of the country struggle to find work. They must either relocate to Manila or abroad. My mother chose to work in Hong Kong in her twenties because working as a maid through terrible conditions proved to be more lucrative. My friends face similar decisions today despite attaining college educations.
I believe that a masters in international relations will equip me to accomplish my professional goals—to correct an imbalance of power and contribute to the uplifting of Filipinos. I will return home to join the development initiative in the Philippines to better the standard of living for all Filipinos.
Public transport interests me as the traffic manifests poor governance in the country. It causes stress to citizens and slows productivity for businesses. Traffic remains deadlocked for three hours and trains break down mid-transit. I have experienced these inconveniences myself. Politicians suggest building more roads or innovative public transport to solve the crisis. I agree; however, these suggestions merely address symptoms of the problem. Improvement in development would encourage equitable distribution of talent throughout the country and address the real contributor to the traffic—overpopulation aggravated by poor governance. Improving development would also tackle emigration and poverty. For my graduate research, I would like to continue exploring economic migration but shift my focus on the relationship between development and migration. I am particularly interested in the laws concerning remittances from expatriates and how this revenue impacts community development.

Dorothy from Indiana