30 November 2017

Washington, DC Chapter

Peta-Gaye Bookall (centre) is the Scholarship Winner for 2017/18

Peta-Gaye Bookall, a Jamaican national, is pursuing a Master in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute. She graduated from Columbia University, NY in 2009 with a Master of Science in Social Work and from Mount Holyoke College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, in 2005. Whilst at Mount Holyoke College she was awarded the McCulloch International Studies scholarship for her junior year abroad studies at the University of Sussex, Falmer, England (2003-2004).

Peta-Gaye Bookall IHEID Washington Chapter Scholarship Winner.jpgPeta-Gaye served as a Child Protection Social Worker in London (2010-13), a Child Protection Officer with UNICEF, Pakistan (2014-17) and an International Consultant for Child Protection Case Management and Response Services with UNICEF, Nigeria (2017). In 2016 she undertook training with RedR Australia in Melbourne and has been a RedR Roster Member since December 2016. RedR Australia Humanitarian Roster enables United Nations agencies, international non-government organisations and the Australian Government to access experts trained to respond to humanitarian crisis.

Peta-Gaye has a passion for volunteerism and has actively contributed to improving the lives of vulnerable persons in Jamaica, the UK and the USA.

Why did you choose to apply to the Graduate Institute?

The Graduate Institute is distinct to all other postgraduate programmes I have reviewed to date. It takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to preparing candidates for success in the field and its direct linkages to international development agencies in Geneva is an added value. Additionally, the Graduate Institute has the right combination of intellectual and professional advancement opportunities. Accessing conferences, lectures and talks of international relevance abounds. Also, there are countless opportunities to meet and collaborate with like-minded professionals and students, literally, from across the globe.

How did this scholarship make a difference for you?

In the past, I had to reconsider continuing my education due to the fact that I lost my father (2003) who supported me during my bachelor’s degree. Also, the financial crisis of 2008 rendered me ineligible for continued funding during my Social Work degree. The Scholarship from the Washington DC Alumni Chapter covers both tuition and provides funding for living expenses for the academic year 2017-2018. It has assuaged any concerns I may have about financially supporting myself whilst studying at the Graduate Institute. I am able to pursue the Graduate Institute’s rigorous curriculum with excellence, mitigate against the chances of prematurely stopping the degree program due to a lack of funding and propel my personal mission of creating a better world for vulnerable children and populations.

What is the focus of your studies at the Institute; on which topic do you plan to write your master thesis?

I hope to focus my research on achieving sustainable results for children exposed to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation within the development and humanitarian contexts.

What are your plans for your professional career after your studies?

After the Graduate Institute I am certain that I want to return to the field and continue working for the betterment of vulnerable children and populations. Exactly where in the world and with which organization is completely open at this time!

The Washington DC Alumni Chapter scholarship has the objective of promoting awareness of the Graduate Institute in the United States and helping the Institute recruit graduate students of high quality. The scholarship is for a first year doctoral or Masters student, irrespective of nationality, entering into studies at the Institute from a university in the USA. It is awarded based on academic achievement with economic need as a secondary criterion. There are no restrictions on the section or field of study. The Scholarship is for CHF 18,000.