Ali Taha

Tea Cimini is an alumna of the Munk School’s Peace, Conflict and Justice (PCJ) program. She is currently studying global affairs as part of the joint Master in Public Policy (MPP)/Master of Global Affairs (MGA) program between the Munk School and the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs in Paris. As one of the first students to tackle the dual degree program, Cimini spoke to us about how her academic experiences have influenced her desire to affect positive change.

 You did your undergraduate degree at the Munk School. Why did you join the PCJ program?

I came to U of T because I really, really liked the PCJ program. It’s very interdisciplinary. It doesn’t take the standard approach to international relations that you find in other programs, which are strictly based in political theory or international relations theory. In my year, the program was also based in other subjects like psychology and sociology. During my time with the program, we had courses on feminism, international security, and transitional justice. It was a really cool and unique experience.

What are the advantages of the dual degree program?

The Master in Public Policy is focused on policy analysis and policy evaluation. At Sciences Po they do a lot of stuff related to cognitive insights into policy, which basically try to explore why policies fail from a behavioural cognitive standpoint. And now the MGA program at the Munk School is very much focused on challenges, solutions, and innovation, which is something that the other program didn’t have. Together, they’re a great combination.

What impact do you want to make on the world or your local community?

I really want to work in development. I think that I’ve always been interested in public-private partnerships and the delivery of social services by non-state actors, and the work that I’m doing with the Reach Project now is helping further that interest. I’m also trying to stay aware of the fact that I come from a position of privilege, so my work will always be informed by how I integrate feedback from local communities while I try to make a positive impact.

Who has influenced you the most?

I think that I’ve been really influenced by people in my nuclear family, especially my brother and sister. My sister is very entrepreneurial. She’s a fashion designer in Italy and used to work for a big fashion company. Now she owns her own brand. It was really difficult at first, but she was so driven and never took “no” for an answer. My brother is the same way, but he comes at it from a different angle since he’s in finance. I look up to them a lot.

What does the future hold for you?

I did my summer internship at the World Bank, and I worked for them remotely until the end of November. Eventually, I would like to be more on the policy side of things. In the long run, I think I would like to be involved in development in a more policy-oriented capacity. But for now, I think that I would love to continue doing research.

January 23, 2020