What has surprised you most about being a student at the University of Birmingham?

Availability of an effective and holistic support system for students, including academic development, mental health support as well as career and professional development services and opportunities. The University has also successfully established an all-inclusive and multi-cultural academic community which diversifies the entire academic experience for all students. These have been crucial in my experience.

What has been your biggest achievement during your course so far?

My course has provided the perfect opportunity to broaden my academic prowess through a series workshops (online and in-person) organised by DASA, SHAC and CAL. In terms of personal and professional development, I have had the opportunity to network with professionals from diverse disciplines through workshops and joint-lectures, through which relevant discussions pertaining crucial development themes have been facilitated for the purposes of collaborative research and practice. Also, I have had the opportunity to give back to the University and concurrently develop my leadership and professional capability, in my capacity as Postgraduate Students’ Ambassador for the entire University, as well as the College of Arts and Law. It’s been an amazing journey so far.

What are the best things about your course?

My programme provides a rare speciality in International Development, through the lenses of the African context, adopting a comparative approach between the Global North and Global South. I am particularly fascinated by the multidisciplinary nature of the course, where diverse development modules, such as International Development, Contemporary Gender Issues, Human Resource Management, Environmental Sustainability, Public Sector Reform, Inclusive Development, Development in Practice, among others, are practically and theoretically explored through lectures, seminars and conferences.

How has your funding helped you?

Considering the fact that the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship is a fully-funded scholarship, all academic and living expenses have been collaboratively catered for by the University of Birmingham and the UK government. In addition, the scholarship has provided avenues for academic, career and personal development, through several workshops, online courses, mentoring programmes and networking opportunities.

Tell us about yourself and your journey to postgraduate study.

I am an optimistic, versatile, self-motivated, dynamic, resilient and tenacious individual. My greatest motivation is to be fully conformed to the best version of myself and to contribute my quota towards the development of a fair world where there would be equitable availability of opportunities for all persons across the length and breadth of the globe irrespective of inevitable differences such as race, religion, geography, ability or disability.

With my extensive academic, work and research experience and expertise in Disability, within the scope of Health, Education, Employment and Social Protection, I have discovered that realizing goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals ( Reduced inequalities ) is not only crucial in achieving the UNCPRD’s equalization of opportunities objective for Persons with Disabilities, but it is even more pivotal in creating a better, safe and just world, not only for Persons with Disabilities but for the entirety of humanity.

Eliminating inequalities in terms of income growth; fiscal, wage and social policies; global financial markets; migration and movement of people; electioneering processes; healthcare services; legal systems, among others, will be crucial in amending the status quo.

My name is Ato Dadzie-Dennis and I believe that through Inclusive Development, the world will become a better place.

This fueled my insatiable desire to pursue a Master’s Degree in Africa and Development at the University of Birmingham in order to make this goal a reality.

What was your motivation for postgraduate study?

With my undergraduate qualification in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, It has always been my prime objective to pursue a career in Inclusive Development, in terms of research and practice, in line with the 2030 agenda. This informed my decision to pursue a Masters Degree in Africa and Development at the University of Birmingham, with key optional modules in International Development, Inclusive Development, Public Sector Reform, among others.