Who Am I?

ProgressiveSouth: Always seek to better oneself

Who am I?

       After several years working both in Canada and Afghanistan, I became introduced and intrigued by the concept and field of international development. I wasn't sure what this meant, or that it was even a subject of study, let alone a potential career path in itself. Now that I am four years into my degree and about to finally partake in my first long-term development position abroad I have a clearer idea of what the field entails, although I'm not exactly sure what exactly 'development' is.

Source: C.Pembleton, Kandahar City 2010
I will bring a strong mix of experience, the latest research and training to give people the opportunity to become socially and economically successful, regardless of their race, religion or creed. In 2009 after a year of intense military training, I entered a new world by going to Southern Afghanistan - arguably one of the most dangerous places on the planet at the time. Having never left Canada until that point I was unsure what to expect of a developing country, and upon arrival a week-long culture shock ensued. I couldn't get over the lack of infrastructure: no running water, paved roads, electricity, functioning law system, lack of consistency in agricultural practice...it was confounding to see and live coming from Canada. I've read before that poverty isn't synonymous with unhappiness, but when basic services are an unimaginable thing of the future, and death is a daily reality I find it difficult to imagine anyone is truly happy. But alas, progress occurred, even in the 9 months I was there! A main bridge was completed, a first paved road in Dand district built by UNDP, and after forcing the Taliban to leave, children once again going to school. This taught me an extremely important lesson: if progress can occur here, it can and will occur anywhere.

     The first step in becoming an expert is gaining a quality education at an institution that has the ability to provide the expertise and tools necessary to learn enough applicable knowledge to be of use outside of educational institutions. The University of Waterloo provides this through an honours International Development which provides an exceptional 8-month placement in an ever-changing group of countries across the South.  Here in Canada I've had the excellent opportunity to study environmental studies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to supplement what I've learned in development, and the combination is already opening doors. After much deliberation I ultimately decided that in Hanoi, Vietnam I would be able to best support organizations such as the Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC) who I will be working with, and most importantly be able to learn aa much as possible while there.

I encourage full participation, ask questions, start arguments and keep the conversation going: we're all in this together

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  1. Coming from a country like Pakistan, your experience as a Canadian in Afghanistan will help you make relevant and positive decisions in taking development measures.

  2. I really like your introduction Corey. Very optimistic indeed. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks Sumbal!I suppose we all need to be optimists, with a touch of realism