Fitiavana Andry from Madagascar wants to play a part in her country's future. Fitiavana belongs to the first cohort of Sciences Po - MasterCard Foundation scholars, a programme that supports committed students from Africa.
Fitiavana, you are from Antananarivo, Madagascar, where you were elected “best young patriot”. Can you tell us about this programme?
“Young Patriots” is a programme launched by “Generation Citizen Madagascar”, an association attached to the Ministry of Heritage and supported by the American Embassy. Its purpose is to train high school students from the capital, Antananarivo, in the notions of citizenship, civic engagement, leadership and democracy. During the course, the “best young patriot” award was launched to motivate participants to get more actively involved and express themselves more, and I won. Being best young patriot basically means being a leader, helping others as best as you can, serving them, and being a spokesperson when required.
You started studying at Sciences Po in September 2017 in Reims, France. What courses are you taking?
As I’m in first year, I take all the core courses and the compulsory courses in mathematics, political humanities and languages (English, and I chose Arabic as a second language). I was surprised to see that we started from a general, global point of view before getting into the specialisations and issues relating to Africa. But this meant, for example, that I could take a course on political institutions, which I found very interesting because I learned—and more importantly understood—the workings of the political system since the nineteenth century and the repercussions this has in other areas.
What are your first impressions of France?
France is quite a different world from everything I had experienced so far, because this is the first time that I've left Madagascar! Practically everything is new to me here. At first I thought everything was complicated, but in fact you just have to give yourself some time to adapt; after that you get used to the country pretty quickly.
What would you like to do after Sciences Po?
After Sciences Po I'll keep studying, if possible until I get a PhD. I thought of specialising in international relations, but lately I've also been interested in business issues and startups. For later on, I know that Sciences Po will give me a fairly solid grounding, personally as much as intellectually, because here it's not just about learning your lessons and passing courses, but also about developing your personal skills and abilities.
What developments would you like to see in Madagascar's future?
I would like to see developments in every area! I would like there to be less corruption, more transparency in the management of state affairs, and stability. I would especially like politicians to focus on sustainable development issues. From an economic perspective, I find that the benefits derived from the various sectors should have an impact on improving infrastructure (roads, public buildings, etc.) in each of the island's regions to bring about real, lasting development. Finally, the improvement of teaching conditions is particularly important to me, especially in rural areas. I would like every Malagasy child to have the right to the best possible education, because education is basic to making any activity a success.
Do you plan to take part in these developments?
Yes, it's up to us as young people to meet the challenges that our predecessors could not meet. The future is being built today and the best time to bring about much-needed changes is now. It is true that for the moment, even if I'm not over there, my studies here are already part of these changes because I'm accumulating knowledge and experiences that I will later be able to share, and thereby encourage other young Malagasy. I want to contribute to the advancement of Madagascar so that our little brothers and sisters can have a better future, a better life.
- About the Sciences Po undergraduate College and the Europe-Africa programme
- About the MasterCard Foundation programme and scholarships at Sciences Po
Read more about the first cohort of Sciences Po - MasterCard Foundation Scholars