Hello everybody. I would like to receive your valuable comments on my SoP.
Application essay - sop
It was in 2013, entire Bangladesh was steaming at Shahbag near the University of Dhaka where I studied; be it students, professionals or day labours, thousands of people from all across the country was protesting against the supposedly too lenient punishment of the war criminals of Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971. Amid series of political and social events that took place during and following the Shahbag Movement, I was most shaken and ignited by the brutal killings of bloggers and journalists who wanted to exercise their freedom of speech, one of the core principles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Later, after receiving admission to the university in 2014, I have been actively engaged in various civil rights movements centred at the university and during those times, I religiously followed such events, most importantly the institutional and structural responses to these issues. My exposure to these events and university education from the department of International Relations (IR), made me realize that human rights are not only matters of practice or basis to draft legislations and policies. In societies like Bangladesh, it is of no effective use unless human rights are studied and assimilated into the very infrastructure of its societies and the state itself.
Inspired by this tremendous drive to bring sustainable and meaningful changes in current political and social realities in Bangladesh, I am applying to Master of Human Rights Studies program at Lund University for I believe, attending this program for two years at Lund University will deepen and widen the way I fathom human rights in the present socio-political setting of my country as well as of the world. Given the research oriented and interdisciplinary nature of the program and the excellent research projects undertaken by the humanities laboratory of the university, I am convinced that upon admission, I will have the blessing to learn from some of the finest researchers and practitioners in the field of human rights and related disciplines. Moreover, an internship opportunity offered by the Human Rights Studies division at the department of History of Lund University could orient me to the practical aspects of interdisciplinary human rights practices and how human rights are put to work at infrastructural settings in Sweden.
Besides, throughout my undergrad and postgrad studies in International Relations, I took courses that bequeathed me with strong academic premise for further specialization in Human Rights Studies. For instances, I studied State, Civil Society and Human Rights; International Law; Refugees Migrants and the Displaced; Development and Governance, Political Science and Introduction to Global Issues and the academic results in these courses reflect both my academic strength, passion and competence to delve into the interdisciplinary realm of Human Rights. Additionally, as part of my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, I did conduct qualitative research and wrote thesis papers in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies respectively on "The Changing Landscape of Islamist Terrorism in Bangladesh" and "Ethnic Crisis in Burma: A study in the context of Burmese nation-building". In addition to my academic research experience, attending courses at my department on methods of qualitative and quantitative research in social sciences, have endowed me with skills and knowledge of research in social sciences which I believe will be of crucial importance in undertaking and working in research projects at Lund University.
While attending academic courses at the university, I realized that it would not suffice to graduate without excelling at other social and leadership skills and consequently, I was driven to join debating club at the university to improve my oratory and verbal reasoning skills. I also volunteered to emergency humanitarian response missions to flood ravaged islands of Bangladesh as well to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. Visiting one of the largest refugee camps in the world, allowed me to witness the practical consequences of human rights violation and genocide. I came to feel that, notwithstanding the individual states' reverence for human rights, persecution of vulnerable communities like the Rohingyas happened anyway and may be, had the realization of human rights been a strongly institutionalized practice in Myanmar, the Rohingyas might not have to suffer such blunt humiliation and violation of their rights that they deserve as human beings.
Besides, I have worked as research fellow at Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) where I was responsible for conducting research on sexual harassment at workplace. My research paper titled "Addressing Sexual Harassment at the Workplace: A Study on the RMG Industry in Bangladesh" has been submitted to Indian Journal of Gender Studies and is under review. Currently, I am working as a project officer at WARBE (Welfare Association for the Rights of Bangladeshi Emigrants) Development Foundation which is actively working to promote migrant workers' rights in around 11 districts of Bangladesh. I hope that, in parallel with learning from the program I am applying to, given my 3 years of professional involvement with areas so closely linked to human rights and the multifaceted nature of my experiences, I could contribute to the program itself by bringing in perspectives that are native to Bangladesh and South Asia overall.
Once I graduate from this program, I will return to Bangladesh and share my knowledge and experience among my community by publishing in academic journals, newspapers, and arranging workshops, trainings, symposiums and using the public forums for this purpose. I will engage with the civil society organizations in Bangladesh who are working for trailblazing Bangladesh towards expanding the democratic space in the country and where people can exercise their rights as human beings. I plan on collaborating with both the non-governmental and governmental organizations with a view to advocating and helping in integrating policies and programs that will facilitate the process of creating a democratic space where individuals can express themselves without any fear of being persecuted for their believe and their rights are structurally protected by the state.