Department of Political Science


Introducing the Executive Master of Public Administration Pentland-Churchill scholars

10 September 2019

The Global EMPA is intended for experienced leaders – analysts, decision makers, and managers – in domestic and international organizations, and in the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

NYU logo

The program equips public service leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to design and implement effective and sustainable solutions to unprecedented global challenges.

With the generosity from the Rubin Foundation and the International Churchill Society, two full scholarships were made available for successful applicants for the Executive Masters in Public Administration run jointly by the UCL School of Public Policy and the NYU Wagner School. The scholarships are each worth £52,605 and it is our great pleasure to announce that the scholars for 2019-20 are Juliana Ama Kplorfia and Luis Diego Cob. These individuals showed outstanding management-related experience, a clear sense of how they can contribute to public service, and demonstrated a capacity to benefit from the program.

Juliana Ama Kplorfia

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/LHUrscPxoL8


What is your name?  

Juliana Ama Kplorfia, PMP 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a certified Project Management Professional and the Deputy Director for Finance & Administration at the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana with more than ten years’ experience in public policy advise and implementation. I advise on strategy on the Board of the Ghana Gulf Chamber responsible for building and improving trade relations between Ghana and the countries of the Gulf Region. I am policy analyst, a gender and social change activist and a mother.

As an accomplished social change activist, I am the founder and Executive Director of the Girls Excellence Movement - GEM which conducts monthly Inspiration-On-Wheels outreach to schools to inspire girls to excel, while advocating for policies towards the attainment of SDG 5. GEM has impacted over 11000 girls and 126 boys across 48 senior high schools and distributed over 700 boxes of sanitary pads over the last 10 years. GEM has also distributed over 300 boxes of Mathematical Sets to encourage girls to take up maths and conquer it.

I earned the Project Management Professional Certificate in 2015 from the PMI, USA while studying for my first MPA at the SungKyunKwan University (SKKU) in South Korea. I have a post graduate Certificate in Public Finance Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in 2012. I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Accra in 2008. I aspire to become a highly pragmatic policy analyst, a change management specialist a management consultant as well as an expert in public sector project management.

Why did you apply for the programme?

I believe this program will equip me with expertise to employ international best practices and cross-disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges across the world. I applied for this Program  when it was introduced to me by Prof Paul Smoke, because the outline presented very interesting modules. The Strategy and Organizational Change and the Institutions modules caught my attention because they aligned perfectly with my quest for skills upgrade.

Having played central roles in the Transition Teams that ensured the smooth handing over of political power from one government to another after the 2012 and 2016 elections respectively, at a point becoming the link between the incoming and the outgoing governments, I have realized the importance of Organizational Change Management. Because not only does power change mean a change in personalities, in Ghana it means a change in the national developmental, economic and social protection agenda. These drastic changes throws the country off balance for a few months, a situation I think needs to be better managed to ensure a smooth transition that ensures continuity as it pursues progress. And Organizational Change Management knowledge and organizational re-engineering skills would help me achieve the above. This is the reason I applied for the program and since I couldn’t afford the cost, I applied to the Pentland Churchill Scholarship.

What did the application process entail?

The process entailed writing the essays in response to specific questions. The shortlisted persons were interviewed via skype and the announcement was made later via email, all these with a span of three (3) months. Though I knew I was qualified and the process was quiet straight forward and easy to follow, I was quiet scared because only two offers were available for all applicants across the globe. It was a challenging search for the most deserving applicant. That sense of competing with all applicants across the world for one of the two offers was intriguing as well as it was nerve racking. Emerging as one of the two recipients of the highly competitive and prestigious award is exciting and empowering.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to acquire new skills and sharpen existing skills as well as get exposed to international best practices in leadership, policy and institutional change management among others. These will equip me directly to provide a lead for the overall national goal of sustainable economic growth and development. I’m also looking forward to a beautiful relationship with my colleagues and learning from their diverse cultural and social backgrounds even as I am burning with passion to share mine with them. 

Future gazing – what are your goals and aspirations? How will the program help you achieve them?

I aspire to become a pragmatic public policy analyst and an expert in Public Sector Project Management, equipped with expertise to employ international best practices and cross-disciplinary strategies to solve complex challenges across the world and this program will afford me the skills and requisite exposure to do so. My long term life goal is to join International Public Service, especially the UN to influence policy and organisational change in the direction of social impact and all-inclusive governance. I want to leave a legacy as the woman who inspired girls to aspire and work to grab seats at all decision making tables in all fields of human existence across the globe.

Luis Diego Cob

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTcrPBPa9DY&feature=youtu.be

What is your name?  

Luis Diego Cob

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I was born and raised in Costa Rica, where I grew up surrounded by fascinating natural settings. This built in me from a very young age, a great connection with the environment, and led me to dive into pastimes like surfing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, and become an environmental activist. Growing up, I was also often reminded of the pressing social needs of many at-risk communities, and quickly developed a passion for service with a dream to create a more inclusive society. 

Inspired by this, after I graduated from college, opting out of a corporate career, I decided to live in Mexico City and help establish two international NGOs, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), and The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) where I led and coordinated stress management and violence reduction programs with some of the most vulnerable sectors of society, particularly in prisons and juvenile detention centres.  I observed how people came out of prison much worse than how they came in. Even when they really wanted to change, they did not have the tools or conducive environment to do so in. The techniques taught by the IAHV and the AOLF generated a significant difference to come out of their violent tendencies.   I later had the opportunity to do the same work in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.  Wanting to develop the know-how to offer economic opportunities to these populations, I began two socially oriented business ventures in Costa Rica.

In 2018, while on a project offering trauma relief techniques to first responders and community members of the Thomas fires and “mud slides” in California, I fell terribly ill.  In the intensive care unit, I asked myself the question, “If you die today, do you feel you have done everything possible to make a difference in the world.” Despite feeling deeply satisfied with my life, the answer was a biting, “No, you could still do a lot more.” I vowed that if I survived, I would do everything in my reach to make a larger contribution in the world.  I now seek the Global EMPA to do just that.

Why did you apply for the programme?

I applied for the Global EMPA because, I was looking for a one-year program that was both academically rigorous, and academically flexible in its curriculum, and would allow me to focus on a particular area of study.  I was also looking for a program specifically on Global/International Public Policy.  The EMPA was the only program I found to be offered in two top notch institutions, located in possibly, two of the most influential cities in the world.  This offered both a European and an American perspective on global public policy. All of these qualities made the EMPA program stand out from many of the other programs that I looked into.  

What did the application process entail?

The process for the Scholarship application was very straightforward and simple. It entailed three brief questions about one’s goals for, and after the program, as well as a current C.V. Compared to other scholarship and university application processes, this was by far the simplest. I think that the creators facilitated and simplified the process for the applicants, leaving the hard work up to the deciding panel.  This made the application process very quick and easy.

What you are most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to learning from the faculty of both Universities and sharing ideas on how to generate a positive, sustainable difference in the world.  I am also looking forward to meeting the diverse student bodies on both campuses. 

Future gazing – what are your goals and aspirations? How will the program help you achieve them?

I would like to either, return to Costa Rica and work in the non-profit/public sector, or to collaborate with an international organization for the social and economic development of low or middle-income countries.  I think that the experience gained from the program will greatly enhance my ability to make that meaningful contribution I vowed to make while I was in the ICU.