Nour AL SHEIKH HASSAN, Class of 2019

Nour AL SHEIKH HASSAN, Class of 2019

Project Officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | Graduated from the Master in Policital Science, Programme in Comparative Politics
  • Nour AL SHEIKH HASSAN | Graduated from the Master in Policital Science (2019)Nour AL SHEIKH HASSAN | Graduated from the Master in Policital Science (2019)

Can you tell us about your academic background?

After obtaining my scientific baccalaureate, I did a year of literary preparatory classes before taking the Sciences Po competitive entrance exam and enrolling at Sciences Po Rennes. During my bachelor's degree, I specialised in social sciences and did several professional and linguistic internships in the Middle East. Afterwards, I joined a dual Master's programme in political science research on the Middle East / Maghreb region, run by Sciences Po and INALCO (*). I graduated in 2019.     

How did your interest in political science begin?

I am of Syrian origin, and I grew up with an interest in the geopolitics of the Middle East.
I wanted to study the region I come from, which in the West is mostly portrayed in a negative, caricatured and partial way. This is where my attraction to political science, and social sciences in general, comes from, as they are essential fields of study for anyone who wants to understand the complexity of the world. Political science provides edifying frameworks for analysing the functioning of our societies, so we can understand each other. Beyond intellectual reflection, political science also enables action because it is by understanding the ins and outs of a crisis or conflict that we can advocate for sustainable and effective solutions.

What were the main stages in the construction of your career plans?

During my years of study, the Syrian crisis led me to become involved in the refugee issue, particularly from the point of view of women. While I was profoundly enriched by the teachings of the School of Research (formerly the Doctoral School), as well as the work I did on my research thesis, I realised that I did not want to continue in the field of research. I specialised in the sociology of migration and gender studies, and my professional roles have always related to these fields. Today, I am happy to have joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in France as a project officer on refugee participation. This has allowed me to reconnect with my preferred subject.       

What have been the contributions of your education to the position you hold today?  

My political science research background has allowed me to sharpen my critical and analytical skills. Intellectual rigour is essential for research work, and I have developed a multidisciplinary and complex understanding of the subjects I work on, both of which are very valuable assets. Research, especially fieldwork and data collection, requires excellent interpersonal, adaptive, and listening skills, which are extremely important qualities in the professional field. My training at Sciences Po also allowed me to acquire a work methodology, particularly through the mastery of qualitative research tools, that I re-use for each of my roles.

Would you have any advice to give to a student who wants to go into the field in which you work today?

Having worked in the social sector and now in the humanitarian field, I think it is essential to always distance yourself from and maintain a critical perspective of your work. This is why it is important to have developed, upstream, a theoretical and empirical knowledge of the subjects one wishes to engage with. It is also essential to question your own position as a future professional and to practise humility. In the social and humanitarian sector, the relationship between professionals and the end user must be one of reciprocity: the people concerned are the most likely to know their needs and must be an integral part of project development. This is how we can ensure the relevance of a project in which the people concerned determine their own emancipation. 

=> (*): This double degree (Sciences Po / INALCO) is no longer offered at the Research School.


=> See all the Graduates' Portraits

[ March 2022 ]


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