This is a post from The Human Security Angle: the newsletter of the Master’s Programme in Human Security at Aarhus University.
Ivar, why did you decide to study Human Security at Aarhus University?
Due to my International Relations background, in combination with the experience I gained from the environmental sector during a gap year following my Bachelor’s, the main elements I was looking for in a master’s programme was that it should be highly interdisciplinary, while also having a strong focus on the societal impacts caused by climate change. I found the Human Security programme particularly intriguing as, on top of fulfilling both of these elements, it also gave students an opportunity to go out and put your skills to practice during the fieldwork semester. These are the main reasons that made me apply for the Human Security programme.
Where did you do your work placement, and what did you learn?
In the fall of 2017, I did an internship for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Eastern Uganda that works towards providing sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable women and children. Some of my tasks included revising their overall strategy, work with their social media channels, and complete administrative tasks. Working for a small NGO, I often had to set my own initiatives in order for things to happen. This meant that I quickly had to learn about the many daily challenges such organisations face. I would say the main thing I enjoyed while working with the organisation was that it relied primarily on the local community to come up with solutions for poverty by providing them with the tools to make a difference, both for themselves and for their community. I also did a second internship for an institution called Nordic Innovation in Oslo, where I was lucky enough to be offered a more permanent position afterwards.
What are you doing at the moment?
I currently work as an advisor for Nordic Innovation, which is an institution funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers that promotes cross-border trade, sustainability and innovation. The goal of Nordic Innovation is to make the Nordic region into a leading region worldwide in sustainable growth, while also increasing regional cooperation and entrepreneurship. I work primarily with programmes focusing on sustainable cities and smart mobility, where much of my tasks involve the facilitation of projects, the planning of conferences and workshops, dealing with various administrative tasks linked to the programmes, and representing Nordic Innovation at events across the Nordic region and abroad.
What have you taken with you from your human security studies?
I think the holistic nature of the Human Security programme has given me a broader mindset in how to approach various tasks and challenges, as well as how to work efficiently with people from different professional or academic backgrounds. This is particularly useful in my work at Nordic Innovation, as many of our project partners consist of public and private actors from various fields. In addition, both of my internships have allowed me to try different types of work, providing me with invaluable practical experiences and a sense of direction regarding my future career.