“IE University offered a one-of-a-kind program that prepared us to enter the world of development with not only the knowledge but also the tools and skills necessary to create lasting change.”

Hala, Jordan

Master in International Development

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Hala Abu-Dayyeh

About me

I was born and raised in Jordan and am the youngest of four children. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I worked in the private education sector for a couple of years. Shortly after, I decided to change careers to the development sector, which is when I began to volunteer with Save the Children in urban and rural areas as well as refugee camps. I went on to work at an international NGO for three years, where we implemented UNHCR projects in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. Although the three-hour daily commute was one challenge among many, the camp was an unforgettable and invaluable experience. My goal is to contribute to the design and implementation of human-centered community empowerment projects. I am passionate about collective action and truly believe that every one of us can play a role in making lasting change in the world.

Hala Abu-Dayyeh, Jordan


Master’s student

Seeking to create lasting, sustainable change

Hala Abu-Dayyeh - Student Story | IE GPAChasing her goals and motivations each and every day, Hala’s time at IE University has helped her see the world through a wider lens. Firmly believing in collective action, she continuously seeks to empower communities, specifically those most affected by the global pandemic. As she was looking for a master’s degree in English that explored the work of the United Nations, she found that IE University’s Master in International Development offered the areas of knowledge, diversity and international reach she wanted in a program.

Hala has always been interested in higher education,but couldn’t find a degree that enticed her enough to take a break from her career. After receiving an invitation from IE University to attend an event held by professors in Amman—the capital of her home country—she decided to see what the university had to offer. The event led to conversation with IE Alumni, and after that, she had one foot on the plane heading for IE University. She fell in love with the university’s international culture and the diversity represented in the programs. What’s more, she finally found a program that matched both her personal and professional goals and interests.

Hala Abu-Dayyeh - Student Story | IE GPAIE University’s Liquid Learning approach was new to Hala, and she admittedly resisted the sudden change. However, once she got used to the structure, she found that it was a style of learning unlike anything she’d experienced before. She noticed that Liquid Learning strengthened her soft skills in time management, prioritization and the use of technology.

The Master in International Development offers a partnership with the United Nations System Staff College (IE-UNSSC), which Hala says introduced her to what goes on behind the scenes in the UN. Providing students the chance to meet and learn from practitioners, the IE-UNSSC partnership allowed Hala to grow in many ways. She was able to network with UN staff members at all levels, as well as with other like-minded individuals who are active in the international development and sustainability fields.

Hala Abu-Dayyeh - Student Story | IE GPAMotivated by her experience with the IE-UNSSC partnership, Hala teamed up with other students to complete her capstone project about the initiative. In response to the UN 2030 Agenda, the UNSSC opened the Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development (KCSD) to provide online courses for thousands of people around the world. Hala’s group project aims to evaluate the methodologies of the courses in terms of sustainable development and behavioral change. They designed a methodology, developed a behavior-analysis survey and shared it with previous university students. Using visual analytics tools to analyze and interpret the data and behavior change feedback, their final goal was to provide evidence of facilitated behavioral change towards the SDGs.

When reflecting on her experience in the Master in International Development, Hala describes it as a unique journey that allowed her to cross paths with people she wouldn’t have met otherwise. She feels that the program gave her a multi-perspective lens with which to view the world. A recent takeaway for Hala was the idea that anyone can drive innovation with a bit of consideration and close attention to detail—noting that the best solutions are usually the simplest, but they need a creative and critical mind.

Hala Abu-Dayyeh - Student Story | IE GPAWhen looking to the future, Hala would like to take the experiences and exposure to the tech industry offered by the program to continue learning about innovation and technology. Her idea is to explore a career where she can learn new skills and industry knowledge to better adapt to the fast-paced technological progress of today’s world. Once she’s cemented these skills, she’d like to reconnect with the humanitarian sector and integrate her new skill set in an area that allows her to aid in programs targeted towards vulnerable populations.

Hala would recommend the Master in International Development to anyone who is interested in working in or learning more about the most pressing issues involving international development. She was inspired by her cohort’s backgrounds, cultures and experiences and believes they made her journey what it was. IE University offered Hala a one-of-a-kind program. And as graduation approaches, she feels that she is fully prepared to enter the world of development with not only the knowledge but also the tools and skills necessary to create lasting change in such a complex and uncertain world.