|Students in Glendon’s Master’s of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) program come from many parts of Canada, as well as from countries across the globe. Currently enrolled students represent more than half a dozen countries including France, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Tibet and Brazil.|
Top students choose Glendon’s MPIA program because of the unique opportunities it offers of studying in small, seminar-style classes, where professors and students interact directly and the program’s administration ensures the greatest opportunity for success to each participant. Glendon’s bilingual campus is also the ideal setting for becoming fully functional in both of Canada’s official languages.
The MPIA program is interdisciplinary, drawing on a wide variety of subjects, such as Canadian Studies, Economics, History, International Studies, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. This wide knowledge base is essential for understanding the multiple interrelationships inherent in public affairs.
Right: Wandrille Jumeaux
Students have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the processes of policy-making and public management, and the forces which shape them. They examine the methods of public decision-making and the relationships between state structures and civil society. They are also led through a broad examination of Canadian public institutions and the international environments in which they function.
A highlight of the program is an opportunity to participate in an internship with a governmental or non-governmental organization, placing Master’s students into real-life situations, working on real issues. An outstanding example is the partnership signed in 2009 between Glendon and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario for a four-month, paid internship during the summer months. Glendon MPIA student Bethan Dinning worked in French as a policy analyst at the French Language Services Commissioner’s Office from May to August 2009, examining official language policies in the Franco-Ontarian context. This year’s internships include several positions with the federal government and the Ontario provincial government, in departments such as Intergovernmental Affairs, Environment and Francophone Affairs.
Left: Cory Angeletti
The Master’s program also has an international perspective, which is enhanced by the students’ unique opportunity to participate in an exchange abroad during the first semester of their second year in the program. This year, 12 members of Glendon’s first student cohort have spent a semester in universities in different parts of the world: Paris, Oslo, Istanbul, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico and Quebec City.
Students in the MPIA program can also choose to enroll in the new, double-degree option of the Master’s program, offered in collaboration with the Université de Strasbourg in France. Glendon is currently host to three Master’s students from Strasbourg, who are completing their first year of the double-degree program. They will return to Strasbourg in September, accompanied by a number of Glendon students, there to complete their second year of the double degree.
Wandrille Jumeaux, a student of political science from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Strasbourg is spending this academic year in the Glendon MPIA program (Double Degree). His home institution recognizes the importance of an international experience. After two years of post-secondary studies, he has spent a year in New Delhi, working for an Indian non-governmental organization, whose focus was humanitarian and social intervention in the areas of health, education and vocational training. “I was the only non-Indian in the organization”, said Jumeaux, ”…which enabled me to immerse myself in a completely different mindset.”
At present, Jumeaux is completing his first year of the Master’s at Glendon. He will return to Strasbourg for year two, and receive a double degree from both York University and the Université de Strasbourg. “My plan is to work at the regional government level in France, once I complete my studies. I want to be involved with conceptualizing public policies, and thus work in public service, but not as a civil servant. My Glendon experience will provide me with a broader insight into fields such as the environment, foreign affairs, sociology and a variety of other areas.” In fact, Jumeaux is taking some extra courses beyond the requirements, such as one on feminist issues, in order to have exposure to subjects not readily available once he returns home. “The French system tends to concentrate on French policies and structures”, says Jumeaux. “It’s more academic rather than experiential, with less opportunity for participation. The Canadian experience allows me to learn, study and think in a larger scope.”
Right: Eric Muller
For Jumeaux, as for the other foreign students, the Glendon experience also opens a window on North-American culture, its way of life and how its cities are organized. He is very happy to have this bilingual experience within a close-knit community and small classes. “It is new and enriching for us, students from France to have many opportunities for expressing our opinions in class and for participating in choosing our topics and working methods.”
“The MPIA is as dynamic and unique as I expected upon entry into the program”, says 1st -year MPIA student Cory Angeletti from Mississauga, Ontario. “It offers a variety of courses enabling us, students to learn about a range of national and international political structures and policy issues. These courses challenge us to think critically about the content and to conceptualize new ways of thinking about the information taught.”
Angeletti plans to engage in government relations for a non-governmental organization. “The Glendon MPIA program positions me well for entering into both the public and the private sector, with a profound understanding of the workings of Canada’s government, and politics internationally.”
“Glendon’s small campus fosters a friendly atmosphere, but with all the opportunities and traditions of a larger institution”, adds Angeletti. “The smaller classes also allow for more hands-on learning opportunities.” She praises the support provided by the school’s faculty and administration, who know each student in the program and are ready to consult and help when needed.
“The courses at the MPIA have been very challenging, yet rewarding”, adds Eric Muller, another 1st-year student, who hails from Burlington, Ontario. “Each class integrates academic and professional content, which gives us both a scholarly perspective on contemporary issues and practical training to create policies that address these issues. The colloquium course, Canada and its Place in the World has been especially useful for bridging theories learned in the classroom with real-world examples. Highly impressive speakers from all areas of public and international affairs have given us an insight into how policy really works and have contributed to our understanding of Canada's role on the international stage.”
Muller is also impressed with the quality of his classmates in the program. “Coming from such a variety of academic backgrounds, each student brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our classes. While connecting with them on many different levels, I have especially come to admire each individual’s future aspirations. I feel certain that every one of them will make a difference as leaders in their respective fields, whether in Canada or abroad.” As for Muller’s own future aspirations, he plans for a career in the public, private or para-public sectors, where the scholarly perspective on contemporary issues offered in his courses, and practical training for creating policies on them will stand him in good stead.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny