I look back to my experience at GSID, I think it was the most important
part of my academic training. I learned a great deal, both intellectually
and practically during my studies at GSID. I would like to express
my appreciation for all those who have contributed to developing
such a fine institution.
I joined GSID in 1998, from my native Congo (Kinshasa), a typical
low-income country. The beginning was extremely challenging but
thanks to effective supports from my supervisor, professors and
other staffs I could finally adjust into the school life. I learnt
a lot, I had to. I was motivated and eager to understand the whole
process of development. For this reason, I had high expectations.
I soon realized that professors at GSID were very
supportive to students. I was particularly impressed by their high
degree of professionalism and field-based experience as well as
their cultural and intellectual flexibility. Naturally, the school's
interdisciplinary curriculum provided a balance between instruction
in the theoretical and the applied aspects of development. What's
clear to me ?now more than 3 years after I completed my PhD from
GSID? is what a good quality education I got. In particular, the
analytical skills and substantive knowledge in the area of development
policies have served me extremely well, then and now in my current
role as a scholar.
Along the way, there were a lot of different stops
and some interesting experiences, all of which were valuable, but
the one I will never forget is my interaction with my seminar members
and supervisor. The latter, an actively engaged mentor with up-to-date
knowledge about the many requirements for all aspects of issues
I was working on. From my supervisor, I also learnt that supervising
foreign students goes behind the simple academic advising, but
requires some dose of inter-personal communication and commitment
Looking back, I think that experience defined who I am as a teacher,
and taught me a new way to think about professor-student interaction.
With my seminar mates, I enjoyed the discussions
about the challenges we had in common and the problems we all faced.
I learnt that most of what you learn in a Ph.D. program comes from
doing research on your own, working closely with your supervisors,
communicating results in seminars (and attempting to publish),
attending conferences, and talking to your fellow students. Soon
after graduation, I missed that interaction and realized how important
GSID was to my growth as a researcher.
From GSID, I had the unique opportunity to develop
the freedom to think critically, independently, and to cultivate
my mind to its fullest potential. Along with such benefits comes
a tremendous personal responsibility?a responsibility to others,
a responsibility to contribute to development, and a responsibility
to teach and to serve, not only in my native country but at the
global level. As a GSID graduate, this is what I perceive my role
I do wish all current and future students would take
advantage of the many opportunities that GSID offer and prepare
themselves for future personal and international development challenges.
My thoughts about GSID are unprintable. The whole experience has
been awesome and I could go on for pages if you would let me, but
I will leave it at this.