Habibullah Wajdi, a citizen of Afghanistan, is an educational development professional with over 16 years of experience in education development particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings. During his career he has worked nationally and internationally with governments; well reputed national and international organizations; civil society, and donors on various projects and programs.
Wajdi joined the Center for International Education (CIE) as a doctoral student in September 2007. Prior to coming to CIE, he worked as an Education Specialist with the World Bank in Kabul Afghanistan. He also worked as Technical Education Project Officer for UNICEF where he managed the implementation of educational programs in five southern provinces of Afghanistan. After completing his comprehensive exam, he spent the winter and summer breaks in Afghanistan working as a consultant on the WB's projects with Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Higher Education. In August 2010, he returned to Afghanistan to manage the World Bank’s Strengthening Higher Education Program (SHEP).
In September 2011, he became senior advisor to the Minister of Education (picture lefet) on literacy programs, and Program Coordinator for ELA (Enhancement of Literacy Afghanistan) program. Meanwhile he continued his dissertation work on the organizational settings of the Literacy Department of the Ministry of Education. In May 2012, Wajdi successfully defended his dissertation on "The Process of Organizational Capacity Development in Action in Post-conflict Setting of the Literacy Department of Afghanistan.” He officially graduated in February of 2013. After his graduation, Wajdi worked as Education Program Specialist with UNESCO in Kabul Afghanistan until January 2014. In February 2014 Wajdi joined USAID funded and UMASS/CIE managed USWDP program as Senior Manager for Graduate Education where he is reponsible for developing graduate programs at various universities in Afghanistan. [4-14]
After getting my Master’s degree, I returned to Tanzania and was posted to the Department of Secondary Education as a head of Secondary Education Division in Zanzibar.
Four months later I moved to Dar es Salaam after being selected to work with the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in the secretariat. Once again I left my family and worked on the mainland for 14 months.
The task was critical and very challenging though we succeeded in producing a second draft of the new Constitution of Tanzania. On the 30th December, 2014 the draft was submitted to the President, the Honorable Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, (you can see me in the attached picture) After that assignment, I was released to go back to Zanzibar to work with the Ministry of Education, in the Department of Policy and Planning where I am now the Head of the Sectoral Planning and Development Division.
I really miss CIE and hope to come back in 2016 if I can manage to get scholarship. I am looking forward to hearing from CIE friends. [2-14]
I have been living in the Philippines since 2009 with my husband and our two daughters. In September 2013 I completed my doctorate, having produced a dissertation entitled, “Preparing Visually-Impaired People in the Philippines for Mainstream Employment: The Impact of ICT Accessibility.” I am an active board member of the Manila-based ATRIEV Computer School for the Blind, and have been assisting with a range of education, fund-raising and administrative concerns.
In addition, I have been working as the Managing Director of NumberWorks’nWords Philippines, a supplemental math and English education program for kids from kindergarten to high school. I also just wrapped up an editorship for a book project, “Project Mom: Our Natural Approach to Motherhood,” which will be released this December in the Philippines. Looking ahead, I want to present and publish my dissertation research, as I would like to continue contributing to the scholarship and program development in the field. [11-13]
I am glad that I have had the opportunity to very quickly apply the knowledge and skills I acquired at CIE after graduation. After graduating, I returned to my position as an assistant lecturer at Dar es Salaam University College of Education. We are continuing to work on the mission and vision of the Faculty of Education - to prepare highly qualified teachers of the 21th century.
Currently I am in the northern part of Tanzania near Uganda where I am supervising student teachers who are doing their teaching practice in this region. Teaching practice is an important component for our pre-service teacher preparation programs and as a supervisor, I am here to observe their teaching as well as assessing their teaching portfolios. One key idea regarding this job that I came with from CIE is that supervision is not aimed at threatening teachers, but is rather a friendly activity where supervisor and students work together to improve the practice of both through mentoring. [7-13]
Just after graduating with my Master's, I worked with Ash Hartwell and CIE students Jacob Carter and Milka Ndura on the Global Citizens' Initiative which brought 13 leaders from around the world to Amherst for a 2-week course in Global Citizenship. I currently coordinate webinars for communication within that group while the participants implement small-scale projects in their home countries.
In April 2013 I accepted a job in my home state of Wisconsin at the Social Development Commission in Milwaukee where I manage a program that is designed to train refugees in financial literacy, business and entrepreneurship. In addition, the program provides training in child care practices in order to prepare them to receive family childcare center certification and open home-based child care centers that are eligible for a state-sponsored subsidy program. I also provide small-scale economic advocacy case management for the program participants. The program is funded by a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and is being implemented in communities across the country. [6-13]
Hi everyone - I graduated from CIE in May 2012 after 6 amazing years in the Masters and Doctoral programs. After graduation I worked on several consultancies with AIR (American Institutes for Research) and The IRC (The International Rescue Committee) mostly writing proposals related to early grade reading and girls' education. In August I was invited to DC to present my dissertation research to the MTBMLE (mother tongue based multil-lingual education) Network and I also attended the Early Grade Reading Community of Practice Forum at the World Bank while I was in town.
I used this opportunity to share my business card and to let people in my field know that I was looking for work or consulting opportunities. Not long after, I received a call from AIR asking me to come back to DC to interview for a literacy specialist position. They flew me to DC where I was interviewed by several members of the international development team as well as presenting my research to their group. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but a few days later I received a job offer. Not only did they offer me a very competitive salary with benefits, but they are also willing to let me work from home here in Massachusetts which is my ideal situation.
The experience I gained during my tenure at CIE was a huge benefit to me throughout this process and in helping me to secure this position. So now I am a literacy specialist at AIR and just recently got back from my first trip to start up a remedial reading program in Egypt. I will also be working on reading programming in Ghana and The Zambia. [10-12]
Following graduation, Verity Norman started working as the Program Development Manager at Boston University's African Presidential Center. The Center was founded by former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, Charles R. Stith, and is a research and archive hub that tracks, documents, and supports democracy and development in 16 African countries, including Verity's home of South Africa. Amongst the various Center programs, most notable are (i) annual publication of the African Leaders State of Africa Report, which includes submissions from all current Presidents of the 16 countries tracked by the Center, and (ii) the annual African Presidential Roundtable, a policy meeting of 200+ former heads of state, students, faculty, and public- and private-sector leaders. This year's Roundtable will be hosted in Johannesburg from May 23-25.
Another major program at the Center is the BU President-in-Residence. President Rupiah Banda, former president of Zambia, recently accepted this position for 2012 and will lecture at universities across the U.S. and Africa. On the left is a photo of Verity with President Banda on his first day in the U.S. Verity brought President Banda to UMass in early May where he made a public presentation and visited Jacqi Mosselson's Cultural Studies class at CIE. Please check out the African Presidential Center's Facebook page. [5-12]
After graduating from CIE in February 2012 I returned to my former position at the Office of the European Union Representative West Bank and Gaza Strip, where I am currently working on the design of a basic infrastructure and land rehabilitation and development program. In this place on Earth development is inextricably interwoven with politics. This makes the work interesting but also very challenging.
I was thrilled to discover when I came back that there is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program offered in Jerusalem. I had focused my thesis on the use of contemplative techniques in education and was keen to learn and experience a set of different mindfulness practices. Contemplative education is a new field of research with a growing body of evidence that suggests that teaching contemplative practices in schools is an immensely valuable development for education. Those practices are improving learning by developing resilience to stress, enhancing attention and awareness, supporting emotional regulation and increasing wellbeing. The MBSR program proves to be very useful for my research interest and I am currently exploring the paths to become a Mindfulness trainer. [3-12]
After completing her dissertation, Lauren accepted a position with World Learning as Executive Director of the International Honors Program and Custom Programs for SIT. She will be based in Brattleboro, and will lead an initiative to integrate the comparative (multi-country) programs of IHP with SIT study abroad, as well as design immersive programs with specific curricular content for U.S. universities. Lauren will be working with Phil Mangis, another recent CIE graduate, and looks forward to calling on fellow alumni for their in-country expertise and impromptu reunions during site visits! [9-11]
After completing my doctorate, I worked at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts as an adjunct faculty in the fall of 2010, teaching a graduate course in development theory. I continued at Clark in spring 2011 and facilitated a graduate seminar on project management for social change. During this time (spring) I also returned briefly to CIE for a second stint to work on an extension to the Afghanistan Higher Education project. For the academic year 2011/2012, I will be working full-time as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University. I often see David Bell who is now a faculty colleague at Clark. I continue my research interest in Caribbean development issues and recently published a paper on "Jamaica’s Policy Discourse in the Age of Globalization: Framing Education as (Private) Investment." [10-11]