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Profiles in Giving

Kassoum Ouattara, N11

What He Brings

"Kassoum Ouattara epitomizes what Tufts is trying to achieve with its Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance degree," says Peter Walker, Irwin H. Rosenberg Professor of Nutrition and human security director at the Friedman School's Feinstein International Center. "Kassoum is typical of many humanitarian field workers. He started at the bottom and worked his way up, has a lot of gutsy field experience, and is at a point in his career where he realizes he needs to better understand the big picture into which his work fits, and be better equipped to carry out the political, social, and economic analysis that is needed to plan big humanitarian operations.

"Kassoum brings with him to Tufts not just his field experience, but his personal experience of being a citizen of a country, Burkina Faso, which has experienced many major crises in the past. So for Kassoum, this is personal, not just academic. This personal experience is incredibly valuable in the classroom, where discussions of famine and civil war can seem all too academic. Injecting the experience of people like Kassoum into the teaching environment totally enriches it for everyone."

Why Tufts

"The knowledge I am getting at the Friedman School is beyond my expectations," Ouattara says. "After graduation, I will return to Catholic Relief Services in West Africa and continue working in the area of humanitarian assistance. I hope to use the knowledge I have gained at the Friedman School to advise and mentor other colleagues, to positively influence the agency's humanitarian policy, and to design high-quality emergency projects to more efficiently assist people affected by conflict and natural disaster.

"Coming from a country where almost 30 percent of children do not have the chance to go school, I see my participation in this program as a dream come true, thanks to the generosity of those whose donations have made my education possible."