Jeremy Bruce, MGA Class of 2018

Jeremy at the International IDEA office wearing the traditional Myanmar dress of Longyi.

Who are you?

I am a second-year student in the Master of Global Affairs program and my research interests are centered around economic and political development in transitional democracies. Most recently, I worked on a program which promoted constitutional dialogue in Myanmar. I’m also interested in agricultural development and food security in the global south, and have a chef training certificate from George Brown College.

Why the MGA?

Prior to joining the Munk School, I worked at an international university in the UK, and so I believe strongly in the value of a globalized education. I think a lot of career opportunities for young graduates today require a much higher level of international competency, and a broad enough range of skills to move comfortably from sector to sector. The interdisciplinary nature of the MGA curriculum is designed to give students the theoretical framework and practical skills to thrive in any environment, from the headquarters of an international investment bank, to the field office of an NGO delivering local programming in a developing country. That’s exactly what I think a modern post-graduate education should do.

What was your MGA internship?

I spent four months at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Myanmar working as a Communications and Programming Intern. International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization which promotes sustainable democracy worldwide, and the program I worked on supported constitutional dialogue with partners in Myanmar who are key stakeholders in the peace process. To work on democratic capacity building in a country transitioning away from a military dictatorship was an unparalleled learning experience. Sitting in on seminars with Members of Parliament and peace conference delegates, and discussing federalism with members of the Constitutional Tribunal are just a few of the highlights from my internship. Myanmar is also an amazing place to live, and a beautiful country with incredibly hospitable and welcoming people.

Are you involved in any MGA activities outside the classroom?

As the Co-Chair of the Munk School Graduate Student Conference, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team of students from the MGA, Asia Institute, and Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. This year’s conference, The New Nature of Democracy, looked at populism and global trends in democracy. It was a great experience coordinating an event of that scale and making connections with academics and practitioners from such a diversity of fields and specialities. Our keynote Symone Sanders, the youngest National Press Secretary in US Presidential campaign history for the Bernie Sanders campaign, gave a timely and moving speech on intersectionality and identity in the US. It was an experience I will definitely never forget.

What has been the highlight of your MGA degree so far?

I have so many highlights! In the spirit of the MGA, I’m going to give a broad theoretical answer and then follow it up with a detailed, practical explanation of what I mean by saying ‘the people’. Our teaching and education support staff are outstanding, which creates a very energizing learning environment. Our faculty are also very innovative in their approach to learning; one of our evaluations this year was a two-day negotiation simulation centered around a political crisis in the Middle East. The prestige of the Munk School also attracts a lot of fantastic guests, and the access we get as students is unparalleled. Getting to have small seminars with guest speakers like Canadian National Security Advisory Daniel Jean, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs Jonathan Tepperman, or former White House Speechwriter David Frum is a real privilege. Of course, my classmates are really what makes the experience. The best part of my time at Munk so far has been gaining a network of such smart, diverse, and inspiring people.

 

Jeremy (right) with Symone Sanders at the 2017 Munk Graduate Student Conference.