CIE Logo

The Center for International Education

updated May 5, 2012


Who We Are

Academic Programs





Off Campus

On Campus


Photo Gallery


CIE Merchandise - Check out the Mouse Pads!
Click Here

Return to CIE On Campus Activities & Biographies

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

Spring 2012

CIE Welcomes New Students

In January 2012 CIE welcomed two Doctoral students and two Master's students. The students come from Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh, thus adding to the already considerable diversity of the CIE community on campus. They also bring considerable experience working in development education with a variety of NGOs and development organizations.

Mohammad Tareque Rahman

I didn’t have any specific goal in my life. All the time I had heard around me that I need to dream or think beyond the box. It was really confusing for me as I believe there are so many people in this world who have never thought of going beyond the box. Does that mean that they are not successful in their life or they are not happy? Besides I believe that a learned mind is actually a confused mind as it always makes things complex. So I always thought that it was better to remain average and not in the elite (learned) list.

On the contrary I was looking for the answer to a solid question, “when will I be called successful or reaching which landmark would I feel so?” Then I came to know that the life is not for reaching the landmarks only but mostly it is the journey towards them. So for me the journey must be exciting and in my life I always tried to make my journey exciting. It is not that I was successful all the time but what is important is Mohammad RahmanI tried to make it exciting. My presence in CIE is not reaching a landmark rather it is another step for making my journey exclusive.

This excitement actually I started with fear when I was a kid. The very first day when I was taken to the school in front of many teachers I was just looking to my father’s face. Afterwards I replaced this fear with the joy of knowing new things and new people. I didn’t stop trying to explore new people and it is still going.  When I completed my first Master’s in Education from the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) I wanted to work with people rather than make products in the factory so I started my career with IED-BRAC which is the largest non-governmental organization in the world. I worked with villagers, teachers, and children. A few years later I felt that, this is the one side of the coin but who are those people, giving all the money for all these projects, why they do that, what is their motivation? To get to know more of this I joined Save the Children US (Bangladesh country office). There I worked as a supervisor, trainer, researcher, curriculum developer.

Within these two organizations I encountered a lot of questions which I wanted to answer. For example all these organizations are working for development but what is development really? Which indicators are used to measure development? I had to come back to student life again to meet up all these queries as I wanted to link the practice with theories. So I came to University of Manchester to study MA in Educational Leadership and School Improvement funded by Merit and Equity Scholarship from the university. I met different people from around the world and learned their theories and experiences about different concepts and issues which made me to think even more. What I realized is that the things are complex in reality. Nothing has a solid and clear answer because everything is linked with the other things.

This feeling made me more excited and I wanted to come in such a place for my doctorate where I would again meet people from around the world. CIE has given me that opportunity by providing me the assistantship. Now I am beginning an exciting journey here and probably this journey will end up when I discover that I have started to look outside the box!

top of page

Vuthy Long

Now I start to believe that one can make an impossible dream possible, as long as we strongly commit with what we need to achieve. I try to look back into old days in my life; I can’t believe that I have come to this top. I was born and grew up in Cambodia. I am first child - with 2 brothers and 1 sister - who lived day by day in the struggling family based on the tiny income from my parent’s small business. My parents always reminded me that the only thing that can change my life is “Education.” They strongly supported me to go to the college, even it was almost impossible for me due to my family’s financial situation, but I never gave up. I worked very hard trying to Vuthy Longput myself into college and I was the only child in my family who attended and completed college.

After I finished college, I started volunteering in the development field with World Vision-Cambodia where I got my first job, shortly after. With this great first-level job, I tried to keep up study which led me to the higher professional level, from time to time. I kept working on and getting more involved with social and economic development works, taking up more challenging jobs with other international development agencies, such as Oxfam, USAID and Save the Children. With these opportunities, I was able to work and experience, directly and indirectly, within multiple development areas, such as child labor, nonformal and primary education, microfinance, media, basic health care, child protection, HIV/AIDS and safe migration. I was able to travel to other countries in the region and work with people of different backgrounds and cultures. 

I came to the United States in summer 2007 with my wife and 2 kids. I went to Worcester State University for my second Master’s degree. And now, I am here at CIE to pursue my doctorate. I realize that the more I learn the more I don’t know. Taking this advanced degree in the US is a great opportunity, but also a big challenge, especially as English is not my first language. After I started the first week of my classes, I feel like CIE is like one of my previous workplaces, where I can meet and work with people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. Finally, I want to thank my wife for agreeing to take more family burden and responsibility from me, so that I can fully focus on my study. Without her support and contribution, this opportunity would be impossible for me.        

top of page

Ryke Pribudhiana

My name is Ryke Pribudhiana and I am a new student in CIE. You can call me Pri. I think my nickname is easy to say and remRyke Pribudhianaember. I work in Jakarta, but my hometown is Bandung. Jakarta is a nice place to pursue my carrier while Bandung is a right place to live. From Monday to Friday, I used to stay in Jakarta and in the weekend I go back home to Bandung.

I have two years’ experience living in South Korea as an industrial trainee. I was an apprentice. Next, I have seven-year of experience teaching English in a vocational school. Teaching was my first job and I was interested to do it.  I got involved with many students and tried to teach them effectively. Although English is not a popular subject, I worked to make it interesting. This experience made me satisfied because I could do something useful for my students. In addition, I worked in literacy as an evaluation staff member in the sub-directorate of literacy education in the Ministry of National Education from April 2006 up to 2011. Last year, I was relocated to the sub-directorate  for institutional partnership.  My duties included campaigning, supervising, monitoring, evaluating in community education activities like: literacy, women, public library, gender mainstreaming, elderly, parenting, community partnership, life-skill, early childhood program and so on.
By becoming a CIE student, I expect to obtain practical and useful experiences that I will use in my country when I return. I realize that improving the quality of Indonesian education is not an easy thing to do but with new experience and knowledge from UMass, I am sure that I will be able to do it.

top of page

Elshyamaa Ahmed

Elshyamaa AhmedMy focus was always on how to educate people (minorities and uneducated) about good health practices. I was always thinking, what as an educator should I know before teaching people. I realized that in order to reach people’s minds, I need to know how, so my work will be effective.

The CIE represents to me a very unique learning experience. In the center, I’m learning about education theories, education practice, cultures, teaching and much more. The CIE is fulfilling my ambitions to know more and more about education. I think here I’m being prepared to achieve better education in the field of health directed to people who lack knowledge in my country…. and I’m dreaming then worldwide…. I’m pleased to be a member there.

top of page

Fall 2011

CIE Welcomes New Students

This September, CIE welcomed nine new students who come from Afghanistan, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Pakistan, Tanzania and the U.S. All are mid-career professionals who have been working in education. There are eight Master's candidates and one Doctoral candidate. Their experience adds to that of those already here to create an diverse set of students and experiences in the learning community at CIE.

Noorullah Noori

I was born and raised in Afghanistan. I earned my BA degree at one of the provincial Higher Education Institutes, in Baghlan Province, in Afghanistan on 2008.

Since 2002, I have been involved in a variety of practical activities in the area of education development with different international NGOs (e.g. Aga Khan Foundation, Creative Associates International Inc. and Academy for Education Development). Noorullah NooriDuring this time period, I have been mainly involved in designing training materials, delivering training and managing teacher professional development projects. These include projects for teacher training colleges, schools and universities/higher education institutes. My whole work experience has been centered around nonformal teacher education.

From 2008 to December 2010, I was an employee of the Higher Education Project in Afghanistan that is currently led by UMass/CIE. There, my colleague, Dwight Lloyd, designed training materials for a series of professional development courses for faculty members of 18 universities and my role was to supervise the whole training process for over 600 education faculty members. That was a great experience and opportunity for me to learn about the higher education system in my country.

More recently, I designed several short-term capacity building projects targeting different groups for a national NGO in Afghanistan and almost all of them were accepted by US Embassy under their ‘Quick Response Fund’ mechanism. Since I was supposed to begin my studies at UMass, I could only manage the implementation process of one of these projects that delivered training on ‘Management and Administration Improvement’ for almost 400 staff of provincial and 14 district education departments in Baghlan province.

I was very pleased to be accepted for the Master’s program in international education here at UMass. I am very much interested in teacher education with focus on primary and middle school teachers. I am sure that studying at CIE will provide me with tremendous opportunities, significant resources and substantial support to learn more in this area. I am also sure that I will enjoy my studies and work in here very much as all faculty members and staff are highly supportive and friendly.

Donna Lopp

One of the most intelligent people I have ever met is Kanni, a Senegalese woman who never received a formal education.  With little exposure to the world outside of a remote village far from the capital, Dakar, Kanni has an uncanny ability to understand and educate a range of people that spans from village elders to myself.

Donna LoppAs a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal from 2006 to 2008, one of my most rewarding experiences was seeing Kanni and other members of a women’s group sign their names for the first time while depositing their earnings into a bank account.  This seemingly small feat marked a shift towards independence for this group of entrepreneurs, and rewarded them with a sense of dignity in the faces of their often-unsympathetic brethren.

Assigned as a sustainable agriculture volunteer, much of my time in Senegal was spent working in the fields with farmers to establish more sustainable techniques.  Otherwise, I taught basic literacy skills to the women’s group (and anyone who wanted to learn) and worked with the group to build a more lucrative jewelry business. As Senegal Gender and Development (SeneGAD) Representative for the Tambacounda region, I worked with junior high school girls and their teachers and principles to boost scholarship access and rewards.

In 2008 I returned to Brooklyn, New York where my background in the arts, particularly metal casting and fabrication, previously lead me to such jobs as building sets for theater and movies, and fabricating steel, dinosaur armateurs for various natural history museums.  Here, I also volunteered with organizations that serve at-risk youth like Free Arts NYC in the Bronx, and Added Value in Brooklyn.  Now I want to bridge the gap between my career work and the volunteer work I have done in the US and abroad.  I realized that what ties it all together and the direction in which to focus is Education. 

It is easy in the US to take education for granted.  This realization was never more apparent to me than in 2003 when I biked through much of South East Asia, visiting several schools.  Although the widespread misconception that all Americans know only wealth without sacrifice is just that, a misconception, it was never more clear to me than in rural Laos and Indonesia, of just how much opportunity I have had.  Growing up relatively poor by US standards, and being more expected to achieve a living wage than a higher education, I explained to the locals whom I spent time with and insisted on my being “rich”, that I am more like them than they assumed.  At the end of the day, we were both right.

From my first trip abroad in 1995 as an art student participating in an international program at Tallinn University, Estonia, to my recent work as a research assistant and liaison between soil scientists at Cornell University and New York City community gardeners, I have been intrigued by different cultures and customs, our ideas about each other, and how we learn.

With a rich multicultural atmosphere and a strong emphasis in non-formal education, CIE is a perfect match for my interests and academic pursuit.  As a lover of hiking, biking and simply being outdoors, the Pioneer Valley is a natural playground similar to the one where I grew up in North Carolina.  I am thrilled to be here and I feel right at home.

Mjege Kinyota

My background has been and continues to be one of  being a good teacher in my life. I started teaching when I had just completed my secondary education in 2004. Although I was not a certified teache, I enjoyed teaching lower primary science and mathematics Mjege Kinyotain one of primary schools in western part of Tanzania. To me this was teaching and nothing could convince me that it was not.

During my high school I was at least flexible and one could convince me that teaching was a profession and that necessary skills were needed for one to teach effectively.

I have been teaching chemistry since then and this was the driving force for me to pursue a bachelor degree in science education at the University of Dar es Salaam majoring in chemistry.

Currently I am a teaching assistant in the department of curriculum and teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam, College of education. Although teaching in Tanzania is a profession with very low status, I feel comfortable to be called a teacher and I have an impression that this feeling will never end.

Nothing can describe how I feel to be at CIE. I can feel an atmosphere with rich learning experiences that will enable members to gain a wider perspective of educational issues and challenges both in international and national settings and their implications for educational policy and curriculum development.

For sure, teaching is life and life is teaching.

Gulzat Kochorova

For the last five years I have been engaged in a very interesting and exciting job – introducing newly developed Humanities Curriculum specifically designed for Central Asian undergraduate students.  This Curriculum consists of eight interdisciplinary courses that are supposed to be taught using student-centered teaching methods by using teaching skills such as critical reading, thinking, and writing.

Gulzat KochorovaWhile this kind of curriculum as well as teaching methods are more or less common on international level, for Central Asian region it is a quite new thing. So the implementation of Humanities Curriculum was done by means of week-long intensive workshops  (6 days, 7 hours per day) for university faculty. While I was mainly responsible for administrative part of curriculum implementation, I enjoyed the on-going discussions during the workshops on various human and social issues, as well as pedagogical challenges existing in higher education. I was also excited to see how certain participants were changing their professional, and sometimes, even their life view-points by the end of the workshops!

Thus I think I witnessed sort of social transformation via education. I saw that changes are possible within the focus of a certain group. But unfortunately I also saw that very local changes are not enough. I saw that these instructors realized the importance of changing and were willing to implement new things they have just learned, but existing the higher education system that was built up during decades of soviet regime simply does not allow them to change.

Thus I realized that support for changes must also come from the top of education management that should introduce supportive policy, as well as its effective implementation mechanism.  Having worked in the sphere of higher education reforms for several years, I think I gained a lot of practical knowledge. I became acquainted with international standards of higher education. I learned certain aspects of current condition of local education. I have some ideas on what needs to be changed in local education system to approach international standards, but I have no idea on how to make those changes happen, what should be the mechanism for that.

Feeling like I need to explore these issues, and to try somehow to contribute to progressive changes in higher education system of my country motivated me to apply for Graduate Program in Education Policy. One of the best opportunities to do so was offered by the Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship Program, funded by the US Department of State, and administered by IREX (International Research and Exchanges Program).  I was fortunate to be selected by this program and placed here at CIE, UMass. May be I sound a little too ambitious, but I am really ready to be one of those who makes to work effectively the mechanism of higher education policies in the Kyrgyz Republic, and I believe CIE is the right place to prepare myself for this.

Benjamin Oganga

My interest in teaching and of course, of being a teacher, was at the first place inspired by my beloved Mother Winfrida, who voluntarily worked as a Literacy Teacher,  teaching literacy to the elders in my village of Kowak, Tarime District, MaraBenjamin Oganga Region in Tanzania. That was the time of government campaign all over the country around 1970s and 1980s where the government wanted to make sure that all adults and children who did not get the chance of going to school during the colonial times and who because of that did were not able to read and write, are taught and have the reading and writing skills.

That was the beginning of my interest in Education/Teaching. After I graduated from Advanced Level Secondary studies in 1999, I soon joined an NGO called Primary Network Education (PEN) to teach Primary School Teachers that were required by the Government to upgrade to Grade A Teachers from Grade C Teachers. I worked with PEN in the rural areas of Kahama District, Shinyanga region for a year before joining the University of Dar es salaam in 2000 where I pursued B.A. (Education) and graduated in 2004.

After my graduation I taught at Kowak Girls High School for two years and as Education Officer at The Mwl. J.K.Nyerere Memorial Museum for four years before being transferred and promoted to Kigoma region where I worked as Personal Assistant to the Regional Commissioner.

Since then  I have been working in the government – Central Government for almost seven years, and my interest is in Education Policy, Planning and Management in International Education. This is due to the fact that in most of the developing countries like Tanzania, education systems and quality of education are highly influenced by the policy and planning processes at the governments’ central levels. However there is a lack of competent policy planners in the developing countries and in Tanzania as well.

I am therefore happy that I am here at the prestigious University of Massachusetts doing my Master’s in International Education with concentrations in Policy, Planning and Management. I therefore hope that after my graduation the to-be gained skills, knowledge and experience will help me to contribute towards the development of education sector in my country. I anticipate using the knowledge, skills and experiences I have learned from fellow students from other countries to positively influence educational projects, policy and planning for the development of my country.

Anna Swai

Hello, I am a married woman, a pure African person blessed to have three handsome boys with the age of 14+ and below. I come from Tanzania, a country with plenty of National Parks, Conservation and reserved areas having different, distinctive and interesting animals! Have you ever heard of a toad which gives birth instead of laying eggs? It is amazing to have a viviparous toads! Welcome to Tanzania where you will see animals belonging to Amphibians class but they give birth!!!!

Anna SwaiActually I am a teacher by profession since 2001, and I have been working under the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT) in different schools for almost 8 years now teaching Physics and Biology.

When Decentralization by devolution took place in our Country, I was appointed by the Permanent Secretary of MOEVT as a District Academic Educational officer under the department of Secondary Education. I have been working under MOEVT in collaboration with Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government for two years. Being an academician at District level has given me motive of concentrating on equal accessibility of education to girls in comparison to that of boys. In my District, probably it’s the same case in our Region statistics, especially in rural areas, enrolment of girls to schools at Primary and Secondary School level is below 40% compared to that of boys! This is due to poverty, ignorance of parents and lack of intrinsic motivation of girls towards education.

There is a philosophy which says “If you educate a woman you educate a whole nation, but if you educate a man you educate a single person”. I do believe in this slogan. Most of the parents in rural areas at my home country are not educated hence they don’t know the importance of educating their children. For any nation to have sustainable development in all aspects, it has to provide quality education to all children regardless of gender, race, color, physical abilities, mental abilities and financial abilities and the like. My government should enhance equal opportunities in access to quality education to all Tanzanians.

I believe that my time of being here at UMass will be expressive, fruitful, and enjoyable and once I go back home after being well equipped with new knowledge and leadership skills from UMass, it’s my pleasure that I will share what I have learned with decision and policy makers so that they can make some changes on the educational policy such that there will be a notable change of education system in my country.

Milka Ndura

I would have never imagined or it would have ever crossed my mind that one day I would be studying in CIE. My journey to CIE was rather short but exciting. Milka NduraI was in Kenya working with a civic organization called Twaweza which is a new citizen-centered initiative, focusing on large-scale social change in East Africa. It is here that I met and worked with a student from CIE, Martina Ochieng who was and still is my mentor and which opened doors for my career path.

I also worked with Twaweza’s partner Uwezo which assessed basic literacy in Children aged 6-16 years. Both in Twaweza and Uwezo I was able to get international experience as I worked with people from the other African countries and continents.

My interest in International Education was catalyzed by an event while I was working with Twaweza.  I attended a workshop on Citizen Education and Education which was organized by University of Alberta. At this particular moment our Education partners had launched a report on ‘Are Our Children Learning’ from the report a key question emerged from discussions with my colleagues, was our education system failing us? To what extent does the Kenyan Education system engage critical citizen education? These questions haunt me.

I felt I needed to explore these questions to exchange ideas with others as well as develop new questions in the words of Wole Soyinka “I believe that the best learning process of any kind of craft is just to look at the work of others” to understand a story I must see it from another environment and not be a character in the narrative but to be an objective observer.

I believe that my studies in the CIE community will enable me to learn how to transform the questions into an opportunity not only for my personal growth, but for the good of many while developing a career path in something meaningful. I also feel it would allow me to understand my country, my continent and the world in a new and exciting way.

Naeem Khawaja

For me, the essence of human life is the sense of contribution and the firm resolve to contribute to alleviate the pains of humans. Helping people to realize and utilize their potential is the core of life and I have a conviction that the most economical and sustainable way to help people realize and utilize their potential is to provide them with quality education. So, education is the channel I have chosen as a means of contribution to humanity and I have been living for it and will continue to live for it.

I grew up in one of the remotest areas of Pakistan. I have been the beneficiary as well as the victim of an education system where corporal punishment was believed to be an effective teaching strategy. And when I recall that school period of my life, I feel that many of my very talented and gifted fellows would not have dropped out of the school if those severe corporal punishments were not there. Those dropouts reallyNaeem Khawaja motivated me to join the education sector and after completing my undergraduate studies, I joined the education sector as a teacher and then I have been serving in different positions both in private and public sector. And this experience has helped me to develop a philosophical standpoint about what the governments’ role should be in the education systems.

Can we develop and move towards an education system which on one side doesn’t violate the very noble concepts of social equity and justice and on other side is continuously improving itself as per changing needs of the society? How can we learn from the changes taking place in developed countries’ public education like public-private partnerships, charter schools and vouchers so that at least the basic education is not being treated either like a business product to make more money or like an unnoticed and dull activity just to keep the children busy inside the school boundaries on tax payers’ money.

Now being at CIE, I feel that I have reached a place where there are innumerable academic and human resources from all over the world, a true multi-cultural environment and a learning community with very diverse educational backgrounds and skills. All this makes CIE a wonderful place to learn. Also, Amherst being a very beautiful and scenic area is promising to make this learning experience more charming and thrilling and being in such a peaceful place is already making this academic venture more enjoyable than I ever expected.


Hassan Aslami

Salam! I grew up in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. My interest in pursuing graduate studies in Education has grown during my almost five years tenure with USAID funded Afghanistan Higher Education Project and it had become a dream for me to study in a prestigious university like UMass. I am thrilled that I am here at CIE now and doing my master’s program.
I have a B.Sc. degree from the Faculty of Agriculture, Kabul University. Most recently, I was working for Afghanistan LandHassan Aslami Authority (ALA) as a Monitoring and Evaluation Director since 01 March 2011. I worked for almost five years as a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, then as a Manager, and finally as a part-time consultant for the Afghanistan Higher Education Project (HEP) since November 2006. I also worked as a National M&E officer in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) for almost two years. Besides, I have worked for three years as a Senior Reporting & Data Management Officer and one year as Administrative Assistant with CARE International in Afghanistan.

In particular, working with HEP has greatly helped me to learn about problems and opportunities, especially in the education sector. I personally believe that upon completion of my studies in Master of Education Policy and Leadership I will surely use my expertise and knowledge to help provide better planning and management of development activities in higher education. Studying at UMass will also provide me with opportunities to get familiar with different cultures and to grow in different ways. In fact, knowing another culture is very important for development now-a-days. When we are out of our environment we feel freer to experiment with different ways of doing things. We may try different things and either reject or adopt them. People can change and it is easier to change when we are away from our family surroundings. Hence, by studying in UMass I will not only learn about more modern development experiences but also learn more about different cultures and learn more about myself from the perspective of other people.

There are two main reasons for me to select Center for International Education (CIE) for my master’s studies. Firstly, the University of Massachusetts has been a key partner in implementing Higher Education Project in Afghanistan and the people there know about most of the problems in Afghanistan. So, I will have the opportunity to discuss some of the specific problems with my professors in addition to gaining academic knowledge and find solutions. Secondly, as the students at UMass and specially at CIE are from various parts of the world I will also learn about other countries in similar situations to those in Afghanistan and learn from what has worked for them and what has not succeeded.