Scrivner Institute Community Profiles: Fatema Tuj Juhra (MPP '24)
Fatema Tuj Juhra (MPP '24)
What made you choose the MPP program at Korbel as an international student?
Being a student of International Relations from Bangladesh, I was always interested to understand the critical dimension of international politics. I always have been enthusiastic to find solutions and assess the impact of these solutions. After my graduation from the University of Dhaka, I have worked as a Lecturer at the Department of International Relations in Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). This is a newly established public university under Bangladesh armed forces. In this regard, courses like Public Policy, Governance and Development became more thought-provoking to me because those were the spheres [that], I think, Bangladesh requires more specification and expertise. Being assigned to the Bangladesh Military Academy as an instructor of officer candidates of the Bangladesh Army, gave me another incentive to specialize in public policy. I think that the process of advising future officials or policy makers should be conducted with a more specialized perspective. They are going to represent Bangladesh in UN Peacekeeping, administration, securitization and others. When returning to my home country after graduating, I will have gained more experience here and will implement what I have learned into my teaching.
From the three schools I had to choose for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies was my priority. I found the MPP program of Korbel a very interesting one for its critical approach to public policy. It focuses on both domestic and international issues. In addition, the specialization courses of my own interest were the most rewarding for the degree. I am now doing my specialization in human rights and security and I am very confident that I made the right decision.
Which classes in the program have been the most interesting or impactful so far? What are your future career goals? How has the MPP program/Korbel helped prepare you for what you’re interested in pursuing?
I liked the course Introduction to Public Policy from the first quarter. Though I am not a math person, I also liked the Cost-benefit Analysis course. It provides a different perspective for recommending a policy option. In the last quarter, I was in the course Gender, Security and Human rights. That was also wonderful.
Currently, I am focusing on pursuing my PhD to collect expertise on public policy and human rights in Bangladesh. I am planning to do an internship related to policy issues of human rights now. Dr. Naazneen Barma [Director of the MPP program] is very helpful, and I have been talking to her for guidance and suggestions. Korbel OCPD [Office of Career and Professional Development] is also very helpful to recommend proper suggestions to the students. I appreciate the events they organize as well as the personal coaching. After completing my higher studies, I am planning to stay in academia and continue research work.
Are you involved in any clubs, organizations, or other opportunities outside of your program? If so, can you tell us more about those experiences and how they have impacted your experience in the MPP program?
Not directly in any clubs right now. First year students of MPP are working to create a student club on policy issues. We will arrange seminars, meetings with alums as well as the community, movie session and other events. I am super excited for that.
Secondly, as I am from Bangladesh, [and] we have a small group of Bangladeshi students from different programs. We talk about our classes, topics and our experience. These interdisciplinary insights help me to relate different issues with MPP. We also have friends from other Asian countries. We love to talk about the politics, culture, food and other issues which are very similar to each other. Lastly, it is not related to the academic program, but I love to roam around different parks in Denver. I am waiting for the flowers to blossom and I plan to go to the Crystal Lake in late spring. As I love nature photography (though I am an amateur), capturing wild spring flowers of Crystal lake will be a wonderful experience.
Any fun facts or other information you would like to share?
I am not very fond of quantitative analysis. I was literally afraid of the course Cost-benefit Analysis...but I am really overwhelmed to know the impact of CBA in policy making. In cases of human rights, valuing the cost or benefit is so complicated. In this cases, I have always questioned everything. Like- how can we measure the value of human life in monetary value? After doing this course, still I am not convinced but I have the idea that how it can be used in public policy. It was a great learning experience.
Also, I went to Washington DC in April to attend a Fulbright seminar. I met 120 Fulbrighters from 70 different countries and got to know their stories and passion which was really inspiring. I have never felt so global before. Moreover, I also had the chance to go to University of Denver's Kennedy Mountain Campus in the summer break. The workshop on life plans and values within the natural and scenic mountains helped me to think about my passion and future plans.
What do you like most about Denver? Any favorite place or activity in town you want to share?
As I live near the university, I love the roads with restaurants and cafes. There is a 90s vibe in some of those buildings. I have mentioned the parks. Chessman and Washington parks are my go-to places for a walk. Also, the museums in Denver are really world class. I love the Art Museum. I am planning to go to Vail in this Spring as they have fun spring activities.