A Communication for Development Expert
From Italy to the United Kingdom, from Mozambique to Angola, now in Australia where she currently lives. Her name is Valentina Baù, 32 years old, from Livorno, she undoubtedly has gained both academic as well as a worldwide international experience. She graduated in 2005 in Communication Studies at the University of Perugia, and she decided to continue her studies abroad. “I think Italian universities are simply the best from the point of view of theoretical learning, what is missing in Italy, however, is perhaps practice – she says. If we think about England or Australia, for instance, we see that there the university system is more career-focused: in these countries, in fact, already from their first year, we see that students start developing projects as tasks very similar to those assigned in professional companies”. Today Valentina lives in Australia where she is going to obtain a PhD.
Valentina, did you have any international experience already during your university years in Communication Studies in Perugia?
“Yes, during my last university year I took part in the Erasmus Programme in Brighton (UK). It was a wonderful experience and I planned to complete my thesis there. In addition, just before graduating, I had the occasion to begin a one-year Master’s programme in International Relations Practice, organised by Bournemouth University, still in the United Kingdom”.
What did you do after graduating?
“After discussing my thesis and finishing my master’s studies, I was selected for an internship in Mozambique, to work for the office of Development Cooperation of the Italian embassy in Maputo: it was there that I developed my interest for international cooperation. Then I came back to the United Kingdom where I lived for over four years and a half. I landed a job while taking part in another one-year master in Communication for Development at the University of Reading, near London. In particular, this field of study combines the study on Co-operation with the study of Communication, especially by analysing media systems’ role in developing countries”.
What was your job whilst in London?
“I worked for two NGOs: One World Action and the Panos Institute, still in the field of international development. In 2010 I won a fellowship with the United Nations Department for Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and so I began to work for the United Nations in Angola. I was employed by the Co-ordinating office in Luanda, working as a communication analyst being in contact with the different UN agencies’ communication officers”.
And how did you get to Australia?
“In 2011 I won a PhD scholarship at the Macquarie University in Sidney and I decided to move again. My research looks at the role of community-based media in peacekeeping at the end of a civil war. In particular, I examine two different case studies related to the ethnic conflict which took place in Kenya in-between 2007 and 2008”.
You are going to get your PhD, what about your future plans?
“I would like to stay here in Australia continuing my academic research or working for an NGO. I see a difficult situation in Italy, especially with regard to my field of research. Even if I moved from here, I would consider London again or another European country”.
How did you get in touch with AlmaLaurea and what do you think about its activities?
“I know AlmaLaurea really well as during my period in London I used to collect statistical data from the Consortium in order to write reports. It is very important to update the curriculum vitae on AlmaLaurea website’s database: I have always done so even though I did not receive any job offer”.