“I came across the MDS Program and immediately knew this was the right program for me,” she said, “I saw myself benefitting from the faculty’s expertise and from the list of courses offered which covered many themes I was interested in such as diasporic communities and memory, forced migration, human rights, and migration inequalities.”
The Migration and Diaspora Studies MA program offers thesis, research essay, and coursework pathways. Ismail chose the coursework pathway because Ismail was working during her studies and found it more convenient to integrate with her work schedule. During her studies at MDS, Ismail’s research interests revolved around refugees and migrants in the Middle East and North Africa, with a special focus on Jordan due to her Palestinian-Jordanian background.
When asked about her journey at MDS, Ismail shared, “my time at MDS was enriching, exciting, and educational. The program offered me critical and relevant literature on the different dimensions of migration and diaspora studies. Also, one of the greatest elements about the MDS Program is the diversity of its students.”
Ismail’s cohort, the very first student cohort of MDS’s graduate program, introduced passion and cultures from all over the world into the learning environment which significantly expanded Ismail’s knowledge. She also highlighted that the various career and professional backgrounds of her fellow students, including experience working for local and international humanitarian organizations, governments, the UN and academia, have largely enriched class discussions and interactions.
Having a B.A. degree in English Language and Translation and a Graduate Diploma in Refugee Studies, Ismail has previously worked for several NGOs in the Middle East focusing on the human rights violations committed against migrants and refugee workers. She also has experience working for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and UNHCR in Jordan.
“The MDS program expanded my theoretical understanding of migration and diaspora studies upon which I’m currently building my practical expertise in the field.” Around the time she was completing her M.A. studies at Carleton, she received an offer to work as an Associate Protection Officer with UNHCR in the Pakistani province of Balochistan where she is currently on site. To Ismail, “this would not have been possible without the MDS experience”.