Edwin Gaarder
Master: International Development
Concentrations: Emerging Economies, Middle Eastern Studies

The place(s) I call home

Norway and Brazil

Prior to PSIA I was

A shipping agent and manager at Brandão Filhos Fortship, Fortaleza, Brazil. 


My life at PSIA

I chose my program because I wanted to acquire skills that would be useful in an international career, and to reflect on the issues that matter most to our generation. The Masters in International Development was appealing because of the sheer range of classes on offer, the option to specialise in two subjects, the reputation of the teachers and the diversity of the student body. I particularly enjoyed all the debates that are held at Sciences-Po on a regular basis, often with the participation of high-profile speakers, not to mention the cutting-edge research that is made available to students through professors, who are often full-time practitioners elsewhere.

My objectives

My preference would be to join a development bank or work as a consultant on projects in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. I would also be interested in returning to the private sector, to work on public-private partnerships and/or government relations. I feel that PSIA has furnished me with the tools necessary to succeed in these areas, including skills in accounting, finance, project management, policy evaluation, economics, etc. Although the course includes a vast range of different topics and features a rather heavy workload, the results have allowed me to impress my supervisors at the WTO and complete a successful internship programme. I have full confidence that my post-graduate job search will be equally fruitful.

My best tips

My most inspiring classes so far have been Islam and Politics in a Changing Middle East by Stéphane Lacroix and Révolutions et Contre-révolutions arabes by Gilles Kepel. It was a privilege to be taught by these two world-renowned experts in the Arab World and to hear their first-hand accounts of political phenomena in the Middle East, like the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamism. It was also inspiring to be invited to lectures and field trips outside Sciences-Po, which provided additional motivation to do well in class. I feel that I now have an in-depth knowledge of all the issues at stake and would be able to engage in high-level discussions about the complex political situation in the region, which is why I took the Middle East concentration in the first place.

My life outside PSIA

Paris is a marvellous city for students, with a thriving night-life, a multicultural population and a range of extracurricular activities on offer. Whatever your demands, Paris will be able to meet them! Cinemas, theatres, museums, dance studios, gymnasia, bars, galleries, parks, sports stadia, restaurants… a multitude of distractions exist ‘within the walls’ (intramuros) of this fascinating city. Funnily enough, my favourite thing about Paris is the vélib system. At an extremely low cost, you can cycle around the city on public bikes and discover an incredible variety of different wonders. Although the cost of living is generally high, it is possible to survive on rather little once you become familiar with the nooks and crannies of the urban scene. All in all, I highly recommend doing a Masters programme at PSIA, for academic, professional and personal reasons. It is an experience I will never forget!