“My experience at IE has been intense, powerful and motivating.”
Carmen Álvarez Marcos
Carmen Álvarez Marcos, Spain
International Relations at Kibera Creative Arts
- Program studied
Until recently, my professional experience was based in marketing for a variety of companies, ranging from e-commerce ventures to well-known FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods). This was a really valuable experience, but there came a moment where I began to feel restless, as though I wasn’t dedicating my time to something that truly mattered to me. It was then that I realized that I had undeniably lost the connection between what I really love and what I was actually doing.
I decided I needed a change, so I made the choice to explore the world from a dramatically new perspective. I became involved as a volunteer with Kibera Creative Arts, an NGO located in the Kibera area of Nairobi. Soon after, I became the project lead for the construction and launch of the organization’s first music studio in the heart of Kibera.
On both a personal and a professional level, this was possibly the toughest challenge I have ever faced. After overcoming numerous unimaginable obstacles, we managed to successfully launch the studio with an opening concert. Staged in the heart of Kibera and boasting a line-up of 57 artists, it was an incredible achievement in such circumstances. Since I left Nairobi, I have continued to work with Kibera Creative Arts remotely and the organization will always be important to me.
In my most recent position, I was working as a storytelling manager for The Wellbeing Project, a social change initiative co-created by several leading organizations in the field. When we started out, we chose to focus on the inner wellbeing of changemakers with the objective of making the field a more supportive place, therefore addressing today’s growing social and environmental issues from the inside out. This incredibly eye-opening experience provided me with a unique lens to observe how the ecosystem of organizations is changing as they make the commitment to sustainable growth. In addition, my work there gave me the space to explore my own inner journey.
As grateful as I was for my past work experience, I still felt a strong desire to advance my knowledge in the academic field of social change. I knew that deeply understanding the complexities of contemporary social problems would require insights from the field of systems change. Particularly, it is vital to understand how the mass concert of state and private sector entities, philanthropists, NGOs and other organizations co-exist in order to thrive.
“Before enrolling at IE, I saw an imminent need to bridge the gap between the private and the public sector. Studying here has reaffirmed that belief. Initiatives like this master’s will be key beacons for the future of sustainable development.”
Furthermore, I was (and continue to be) constantly reminded of the urgency of environmental issues. Faced with the depletion of resources, climate change, and species extinction, the future of our world is gravely uncertain. We cannot help but question how these issues will impact our children in their daily lives and how we can make changes now in order to protect our planet.
It was my concern with understanding how we can craft meaningful change in our societies that led me to pursue further study at IE. I enrolled in the Master in International Development with the hope of deepening my knowledge of the world’s mechanisms and getting closer to an answer to all these questions.
Throughout the master’s, studying with international students has certainly enhanced the program. I have had the opportunity to engage with multiple perspectives, learn from a broad range of experiences and, above all, become intoxicated by a shared energy and passion for creating a better, fairer world.
My experience at IE has been intense, powerful, motivating and, at times, slightly dramatic. Of course, these are all essential components to make life that bit more interesting! In addition, living through the Covid-19 crisis has definitely emphasized the overarching objective of the master’s.
Before enrolling at IE, I saw an imminent need to bridge the gap between the private and the public sector. Studying here has certainly reaffirmed that belief. Initiatives like this master’s will be key beacons for the future of sustainable development.
Ultimately, my long-term objective is to contribute to the betterment of the society we live in. I aspire to keep growing professionally and personally—to find my path to a successful and fulfilling life and influence others to do the same. Most importantly, my priority is to take care of my loved ones and to always be a good person.