Studying International Development to create a world community for migrants

Adedamola Ladipo_250[O]n April 12, 2015, a terrified Sub-Saharan African (SSA) migrant on a sinking ship in the Mediterranean frantically called the European journalist, Meron Estefanos, for help. Shortly after, more calls came. At least 400 people are believed to have died and a week later, the worst migrant boat tragedy on record lead to the death of approximately 850 migrants. The most astonishing and depressing fact is that this story is not unique. SSA migrants have been drowning on the Mediterranean for years now. My life could have been analogous to that of the migrants if my parents had not afforded my family and I the opportunity to move from Nigeria to England and America. Growing up as a “third culture kid” (i.e. a culture outside of my parents) molded me to have a multicultural worldview. It also motivated my professional and educational goals to aid migrants by advocating for development in SSA. My current mindset, however, did not come about overnight.

When I moved to America 14 years ago I was the Nigerian kid, with a British accent, living in Virginia; hardly the quintessential, suburban Virginia high school student. Seldom did I find myself feeling comfortable in any particular social group. I was an aloof kid with an affinity for many “nerdy” things and a cultural background that often perplexed people. I found myself reclining into a state of confusion, alienation, and lack of self-confidence. It was not until my volunteer work in college that I realized these traits, which I had come to perceive as burdens, were gifts, for I was part of a much larger social community of global citizens.

I often reminisce back to time spent volunteering as an English as a Second Language teaching assistant for SSA migrants. I naturally interacted and brokered relationships with the migrants and my colleagues. I became cognizant of my global responsibilities, which heightened my value for diversity and my stance against social injustice. As worthwhile as these volunteering days were, I knew working to aid the exploited and marginalized needed to be at an institutional level for longitudinal impact. A degree in International Development will be my next step in doing my part as a global citizen. My principal task upon obtaining this degree will be to get nations to achieve transparency, accountability, and amalgamated policy to create a “world community” for migrants.

Witnessing the plight of the disenfranchised and wanting to garner greater understanding of the international arena to develop solutions to economic crises propelled me to study International Development. I chose this degree to work with like-minded individuals, broker relationships between SSA and European nations, inspire innovative perspectives and initiatives, and provide solutions to avoid the ongoing tragedies on the Mediterranean. As a young adult, I was able to overcome my personal obstacles and take advantage of my cultural competence. This same opportunity must be afforded to present and future migrants who could have had a story very similar to my own.

We are proud to announce Adedamola Ladipo is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.



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  • Great story and inspiration to hear how your own journey and experiences have fueled your ambitions as well as your advocation for others who experience similar hardships.

    • The human tragedy of the trans-Mediterranean migration represents one of the ever-growing plights that migrant populations have faced in recent decades. It requires a specific attention from every stratus of the development sector as its causes are rooted in many facets that development theories have tried to solve, but its aftermath has surpassed the existing policies and work of international migration bodies. Your thematic focus area as presented in your essay is most-needed in exploring ways to find solutions to this human disaster. This a great prospective work that can be translated to a sustainable solution to the migration crisis across the Mediterranean sea. I wish you success!

  • It is obvious that this is really a passion for Adedamola, and I read only genuine interest and someone who has discovered his passion

  • Adedamola has a wonderful insight into why he wants to do what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. I love when focus and motivation combine into a passion that will undoutbtedly change the word for the better!

  • It’s been a pleasure knowing Adedamola for more than 10 years now, and the one thing I truly admire about him is his enthusiasm for helping other people. After reading this my admiration for him has further been justified. He has a true passion for helping those who might not have the proper platform to voice their plights. Given his background (personal and educational) I think he will truly make a difference in the world by studying International Development.

  • Adedamola has been a friend of mine for many years now. He has always been a strong willed, intelligent, and caring man who strives to better himself. I am so excited for his new journey, and I know he will succeed!

  • Adedamola, has been an inspiration to those that know him. He has contributed to his immediate neighbour and church. He would be an outstanding recipient of this award. He is giving back and will continue to give back to the society at large. He has a unique perspective to live that on other person has. He will be a a blessing to this program.

  • It is obvious to me that Damola is very passionate about his chosen carrier and line of study for his Masters program. He is worthy of the scholarship award.

  • Adedamola displays how he has developed a passion and to help him further himself into international development would not only benefit him but those he wishes to help as well. To award this scholarship to him would be a great impact upon a multitude of people not only him.

  • I think Damola’s story really highlights how truly intertwined the world has become by connecting his personal story of trying to fit in within unfamiliar cultures with the issue of migrants in distress who are just trying to do the same thing, but on a larger scale. We all need to remember that each migrant has their own story of trying to find their place in the world, and that without consistent policy action from Europe and other nations the migrant crises will only continue to worsen.

  • I have experienced the transformation of Damola and completely relate to his experience. This is a well written essay that is not only persuasive but heartfelt. Damola has come of his own and I believe that helping others is his calling.

  • I have watched Damola grow into wonderful young man. It is obvious that he is passionate about migrants and their plight when entering foreign lands. It is commendable that recognizes the need to share his experience of being a migrant so that others may benefit; and he was able to overcome the obstacles of being a migrant. Damola has written a heartfelt, informational, and truly heartwarming essay. A true testament of his upbringing.

  • Damola has always been a leader among his peers. He has a strong academic mind combined with a passion to help others. This young man has a committed work ethic and is an inspiration to his family and friends. I have watched him grow from a shy adolescent to a confident young man whose accomplishments and aspirations speak loudly and boldly of his character. Damola has earned a high degree of respect from anyone who encounters him. It has been my great pleasure to call him friend as I watch and wonder what challenges he will overcome next. He embodies the American Dream and I pray that he is able to plant the traits of who he is into the future generation.

  • The life experience of Adedamola is the center of his present and future and fully portends what he believes in. It is only when you are able to change yourself that you can win to change the world. This is an opportunity to contribute his strong desire and goals as a global citizen that he truly is. The current reality is that Migrants and migration are changing our world from boundaries to cultures and needs a new thinking. No better contribution can come from the opportunity of the scholarship to help develop Adedamola’s realization and experiences to an even greater level of international relations and change.

  • What a beautiful essay! I wholeheartedly cast my vote for Damola. I have tremendous respect for his parents who I have known, professionally and personally, for over 15 years. It is apparent they have passed along their courage, intellect, creativity and drive to their exceptional son. All good thoughts, Damola, as you embark on this exciting new adventure. Tracy Mayo

  • Reading this triggered a distant memory from when I first came to the United States. I can gravitate towards your essay because I too went through something similar. It’s hard to find your niche at times. To find your own identity without falling prey to society’s categorical methods. I completely support you and am inspired by your yearning to want more. You have always succeeded in pursuing your endeavors with or without anyone’s support. I hope I can take your advice and always continue to follow my dreams and attain the boundless gifts life has to offer. I, Lola Daramola, cast my vote for Damola Ladipo.

  • Damola; I wish you all the best in your field of study. So many of us are heartbroken when we read the news articles about migrants trying to reach shores to find a better life for their families only to be subjected to horrible conditions and never reaching their destination. While the most many of us can do is sit back and watch and possibly write a check to a worthwhile organization, it is inspiring to me that you are willing to dedicate your future to helping to change our world.

  • Adedamola is genuinely passionate about helping others in need. His unique life experiences and determination will certainly go a long way toward making society a better place.

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