IEE Newsletter

MADM Alumni

Sayed Shireen Agha tells us his MADM story.

After the completion of my B.Sc in Agriculture and working in the same sector for several years in Afghanistan, my country of birth, I decided to pursue masters’ degree somewhere in Europe, particularly in Germany.

After sending too many applications to various universities in Germany, on May 23th, 2018, I finally received an email of hope and acceptance from the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE) of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (RUB). This email, through which I got accepted to the MA program in Development Management (MADM) at the IEE, actually made my life.

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My first RUB visit, May-2018
Photo: Sayed Shireen Agha

The MADM was a well-structured program which touched upon all dimensions – economic, political, environmental and social – of development. From the beginning to the end, holding different conferences, workshops, excursions, and internships were the plus points that grabbed my attention and differentiated MADM from other master programs I have known in the world. Additionally, the diversity of students; who came from different countries with different cultures, knowledge, experience and point of views, added more to the beauty of the program.

Development studies is a multidisciplinary subject that focuses on the evolution of nations from political, cultural, geographical, and socio-economic perspectives and plays a vital role in the economics of developing countries like Afghanistan. It also keeps connections with some major sectors that a country’s economy leans upon, such as agriculture, economics, education, health, etc. To this end, the MADM program has put me on the right track to become an asset in the future for my home county, Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the most interesting part of the program was two summer schools in Bochum, Germany and in Cape Town, South Africa together with the exchange students of the same program at the university of Western Cape (UWC), in which the we could explore new countries, and cultures, and share our knowledge and experiences.

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MADM, Summer School in Cape Town, South Africa, January 2019
Photo: MADM students 2018-20

In addition to providing administrative and other needed support, the IEE always made a strong effort to connect its students with some scholars and those who could help and benefit them in their coming professional lives. In my particular instance, I was able to participate in an alumni conference on November 2019 at the RUB, in which I met some alumni and benefited from their experiences and consultations.

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MADM Alumni Conference, RUB, November 2019, Germany
Photo: Sayed Shireen Agha

Although, research is a crucial part of any master program, I did not have sufficient knowledge about it in my pre-MADM life. The IEE, with its talented mentors and supervisors, has the upper hand in conducting research and guiding its students towards becoming good researchers in their future professional endeavors. Hence, the completion of my field research in Afghanistan and writing of its result (Master Thesis), made me more apt for conducting research, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

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Field Research Survey, September 2019, Nangarhar-Afghanistan
Photo: Sayed Shireen Agha

As some of you may know, Afghanistan is a warn-turned country in Asia, and it is in dire need of developmental efforts, requiring the expertise of professionals on the ground. Luckily, after the MADM program, I feel that I can use the knowledge acquired from my education to contribute my expertise as one such professional.

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Graduation Ceremony of the class of 2018-20 Bochum group, February 2020, Germany
Photo: MADM students, Bochum group, 2018-20

In a nutshell, I can only say that the MADM program transformed my life in way that I could never have imagined. It provided me with the knowledge required for the current status of my home country, Afghanistan. I can only say that it made my life. I conclude, by hoping to pursue my further studies (PhD) in Germany as well, and I will never for forget the two names, IEE and RUB.


AghaSayed Shireen Agha

Former MADM Student
Bochum-Germany 2018 - 2020

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