Athanasios Kafkalidis has had a varied and diverse career since leaving University but still considers Edinburgh to be an important part of his life.
MSc in Comparative Public Policy
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Your time at the University
After graduating from Brussels Free University (Université libre de Bruxelles) with a BA in Political Science, I decided to continue my postgraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh in order to gain insights of the experience of studying in an English speaking University and get acquainted with the Anglo-Saxon way of thinking and doing. Furthermore, I wanted to deepen my knowledge on policy making mechanisms in a comparative perspective. That is why I chose to follow the MSc course in Comparative Public Policy.
My favourite memories of my time at the University of Edinburgh are closely related to moments I have enjoyed with my international friends (they came from India, Mexico, US, South Africa). I will always remember dinner with my Indian friends at the University’s dormitories dinner was supposed to be mild for a southern European, but it turned out to be extremely spicy, although they had done their best, truth be said. Student parties and excursions up Arthur Seat, in the Highlands and the Shetland Islands.
There is no shortage of such opportunities at Edinburgh but the onus is on you to take advantage of them.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Since April 2014, I have been working for a Greek Government Agency, the Hellenic State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), which also acts as the Hellenic Erasmus+ National Agency. At IKY, I am part of the Erasmus+/Higher Education team and I am responsible for the International Credit Mobility action and Erasmus+ centralised actions (Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, Capacity-Building in the field of Higher Education, Jean Monnet Activities). The Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility action will allow Greece’s Higher Education Institutions to open up to the world and will act as a unique Internationalisation instrument for the country’s Higher Education system. Working for IKY, allows me to observe and monitor an important EU funded policy initiative implemented in Greece. My studies in Edinburgh contributed positively in the deepening of my knowledge and experience in the field of policy design, implementation and evaluation. All the courses I took as a student at the School of Social and Political Science, allowed me to apprehend and grasp complex issues related to policy making that I use in my everyday professional life.
Furthermore, I am an active member of the Alumni Association of the Political Science and Public Administration Department of the University of Athens, were I gained my second postgraduate Degree (MA in European and International Studies) upon my return from Scotland. As head of the Foreign Policy and Defense reflection group, I organised two events that brought together Policy Makers, Historians, University Professors, Think Tank Representatives, and others. My participation in student groups/associations active at the University of Edinburgh, as well as my participation in various inspiring speeches delivered by important personalities in the field of Politics and not only, at the University of Edinburgh, acted as an inspiration for the organisation of my future events in Athens.
Before my latest Job at the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), and after having graduated from the University of Edinburgh, I returned for a couple of months in Brussels, where I undertook an internship at the Press and Communication Office of the Permanent Representation of Greece to the European Union. A couple of months later, I returned to Greece and worked as a intern for two Government bodies, the Hellenic Data Protection Authority and the General Secretariat for Youth (Ministry of Education) through which I had the opportunity to apply academic theory into practice and gain insights into different national policy fields such as, data protection and youth policies.
Following my second MA in European and International Studies at the University of Athens came the time of my military service for which I was transferred to Cyprus (Hellenic Force in Cyprus), where I was acquainted with the Cyprus issue and the Hellenic army’s defense policies and administrative procedures.
On my return to Athens, I collaborated with the Academy of Entrepreneurship (AKEP), a Greek nonprofit organisation, and gained valuable insights of the Greek, European and Global entrepreneurial ecosystems. During this collaboration, I and a colleague of mine introduced and disseminated a French Tech Challenge in Greece, the Hello Tomorrow Challenge. During my time at AKEP, I also received a scholarship from the Malaysian Ministry of Economy for my participation at the Global Startup Youth Conference as a young policy maker, which took place in Kuala Lumpur.
I would advise current students to take advantage of every moment spent at the University, the wonderful city of Edinburgh and Scotland. Take advantage of its history, discover the city, its landmarks, and its natural and cultural heritage.
I would advise current students to take advantage of every moment spent at the University, the wonderful city of Edinburgh and Scotland. Take advantage of its history, discover the city, its landmarks, and its natural and cultural heritage. Make friends from around the world, you will never regret it! Use all the valuable resources offered by the University library, engage in discussions with your professors, take part in student’s societies. You will never get bored!