Exchange to Change | September 2015 | Page 14

Please share with us your birthday wishes for IOB … At the time where IOB celebrates its 15th anniversary as an autonomous development institute, it has never been a key development institution in the world as now, in light of its experience, research publications and alumni’s network. The 50 years of development studies at the University of Antwerp for which IOB has been one of the key contributors for many years, are 50 years of active involvement for development and hope to see a world without poverty, conflicts and vulnerable countries. My best wishes to IOB for this 15th anniversary that is presenting as the year of maturity and expertise! May the institute actively pursue its contribution to enhance development strategies and practices throughout the world in order to help everybody think development, as IOB! What is the ‘most significant change’ studying at IOB brought about in your life? My studies at IOB have been crucial for my current career, and I am very proud of having studied in this institution. Although I obtained another diploma in management consulting after my studies at IOB, the knowledge acquired at IOB are mainly those I use currently to work. Just after my diploma, I returned to my country of origin (Côte d’Ivoire) to work at the Ministry of Planning and Development, as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. This position has been an excellent opportunity for me to practise and apply M&E concepts and theories learned at IOB, especially in the framework of interventions at institutional level. I contributed mainly to the monitoring of projects and activities implemented by government departments, as well as the projects funded by multilateral or bilateral partners. In addition, learning M&E and development management at IOB has been complementary with my background in statistics. Since the end of my studies at IOB, the positions I held as well as my responsibilities were related to what I learned at IOB. Consequently, I can finally say that studying at IOB was the beginning of my current professional life! What is the role a development institute like IOB should play in the future of development studies or development in general? opment practitioners with advanced technical expertise. The fact that the institution hosts students from different continents and cultures is an asset because it promotes the sharing of experiences and the creation of an expanded professional network. IOB is positioned as an institution which appropriates development issues in the world, through the work and research done by students and faculty that is focused on urgent development issues existing on the field. For example, during my schooling at IOB, I had the opportunity to do a master thesis with a field study in my home country, on the topic of poverty in urban risk areas. This type of work contributes, in effect, to making the link between theory and practice. It also contributes to a better understanding of the development realities, as well as to advance the research in order to find the best strategies to reduce the vulnerability of populations. Furthermore, visits organized for students to European and international institutions (e.g. EC, UNESCO), as well as participation in workshops and conferences, are excellent opportunities to be informed of the efforts deployed by international community to support development in the world. IOB should be a key institution for the training of experts in development, especially those from southern countries where there are fewer devel- Please share with us your birthday wishes for IOB … Please share with us your birthday wishes for IOB … Continue to include students from all levels, disciplines, and countries…the diversity in our program was a fantastic element to my program and the institute. What is the ‘most significant change’ studying at IOB brought about in your life? The experience broadened my overall perspective. As a white-male, I was a tiny minority in my program and I thought that was pretty cool and amazing. I never imagined teaching at the collegiate level, yet without my IOB experience, I wouldn’t be here now, and I absolutely love teaching, advising, and taking students abroad. 14 IOB is a great place to learn and meet wonderful people. I wish IOB a great success in educating the new generations who will surely make the world a better place. Keep doing good job! What is the ‘most significant change’ study [