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Joseph Akure

Why did you choose to study at Leeds?

My choice of Leeds was influenced by my interest in sustainable development. I had worked in the humanitarian field for some years and it was sad to see projects we hand initiated and handed over to the community turn into white elephants because no sustainability measures had been considered. When I started searching for a school to study sustainability, University of Leeds School of Earth & Environment was among the top choices. This was because the school was rated as the 3rd best Earth and Environment School in the UK at the time.

What was the best or most memorable thing about your time at Leeds?

My time in Leeds was made memorable by my thesis supervisor, Dr. Sallu. Dr. Sallu had been to Turkana, Kenya where I come from and understood perfectly what I wanted. Other than that, the most memorable thing is those field trips that we had. I remember when we went to Bridlington, we had been warned that we were going to a rural village. But wait! When we arrived there, I found a village with tarmacked roads, paved walkways, electricity and very decent eating places! I could compare that to our villages back home! The lectures were engaging and allowed us room to think and the lecturers were equally engaging. The experience was a learning process where both the lecturers and we the students were learning.


How your degree or the other activities that you were able to participate in while studying, shaped or influenced your career since graduating?

Before pursuing my Masters, I used to think the only way to make a project sustainable was by enhancing community participation. The course widened my understanding of sustainability. In my immediate employment position as Food Security Coordinator with the Norwegian Refugee Council (an NGO), I was able to design projects that considered social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. Currently, I am working with GIZ as a Food & Nutrition security advisor, a position that I got because of my MSc.

Is there anything that you would like to say to prospective masters students to encourage them to follow in your footsteps?

To prospective students, especially those who are interested in the humanitarian field, sustainability is the key thing. There is less money in the humanitarian field right now and donors are willing to fund projects that will have lasting impact. As for choice of university, University of Leeds is the best place to pursue a sustainability course. The school has top class lecturers and SOEE is the best environment school!