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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

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Applying policy making in practice

Risa Shibata (from Japan)

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I pursued a master’s degree at GraSPP right after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences at Osaka University. After taking a wide range of courses in Social Sciences, I strongly wanted to pursue a degree in Public Policy and learn to develop practical solutions through policy making. I had always been interested in pursuing a career in international development from an educational perspective, and my experience at GraSPP certainly helped me to head towards that pathway.

 At my first year at GraSPP, I was very fortunate to acquire skills in using evaluation tools for policy making such as economics and statistics as well as learning East Asian political relations and policies which were all entirely new areas of academia for me. Since I had mainly studied Sociology and Psychology in my bachelors degree, the balance of quantitative and qualitative courses was highly helpful in developing a fundamental basis in understanding policy making.

 In addition to these academic courses, there were also plenty of practical opportunities to practice policy making. I had the privilege of attending the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference in Peru and the World Government Summit in the United Arab Emirates which allowed me to realize the complexity of policy making and its relevance with international relations. Attending the International Field Workshop (IFW) organized by Professor Nishizawa also allowed me to broaden my horizon in my career possibilities. The two week workshop in the U.S. was a program that allowed me to network with professionals in international development and each and every one of their personal life stories definitely motivated me to aspire for similar goals and achievements.

At a school in the suburbs of Ethiopia

 Currently I work at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) where I am in charge of the basic education sector in the African Region. As part of the training program, I had the privilege of working in Ethiopia for three months. In Ethiopia the energy sector is still vulnerable with frequent power shortages. Although the country relies on agriculture, the recent locust invasion has been a new challenge that the country has been needing to resolve. The country sees education as an important priority in order to educate the future leaders and overcome these obstacles. Visiting schools, talking to counterpart ministry officials, understanding the country’s policies and creating the necessary project through Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) has been a highly valuable and important moment for me in applying what I have learned at GraSPP through my career.

With my host family in Ethiopia

 I would like to take this opportunity to thank the professors, staff and classmates that I met at GraSPP. The people and multiple networks that I established at GraSPP has definitely become the highlight of my fruitful graduate school experience and the connection to my current career. 




Past article:

Dual Degree Program Experience at Columbia University, SIPA