MNU Alum Serves the Developing World

Jan. 31, 2013
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When Barrett Alexander graduated from MNU in 2010 with a double major in Intercultural Studies and History, he wasn’t satisfied with a 9 to 5 job. Instead, he chose do what he had always dreamed about – travel the world.  

With that goal in mind, Alexander began a master’s program in International Development at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, in 2011. Through the program, he spent seven weeks in the West African country of Sierra Leone, where he researched the political participation of youth in the region – a topic he went on to expound in his master’s dissertation.

His graduate work has also given him the opportunity to research human rights issues within some of the most conflict-ridden areas of the world, including Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan.

Alexander said that throughout his travels, his sense of adventure keeps him going.

“I do what I do because I love traveling,” Alexander said. “I greatly enjoy the complex challenges that lie in the development sector and I have a passion for getting to know world cultures, religions, languages and peoples.”

It’s clear from his words that Alexander’s life has been one of dedication, accomplishment, and compassion. But how has he achieved those goals?

MNU’s preparation has helped fuel my desire and passion to work in developing contexts

The story, he says, is one of community – of a campus full of people who helped him discover who he was and how he could make a difference.

“MNU impacted my current situation greatly by pushing me to excel through conversations with lecturers, fellow students, and people already working in the fields I wanted to pursue,” said Alexander.

But for him, the MNU experience was about more than earning academic honors – he also learned the value of using his accomplishments to serve others. 

“During my time at MNU, I was greatly impacted by the extraordinary emphasis placed on students finding their passion and using that to help the world around them,” he said.

This compassionate emphasis, which forms the basis for the university mission statement – “Pioneering Sprit, Passion to Serve, Purposeful Lives” – led him to participate in mission projects every summer during his four years at MNU.

Alexander just completed his Master of Arts in International Development from the University of Sheffield, graduating with merit. But he has gained more than academic experience. He names his greatest professional achievement as working with Restless Development, a UK-based nongovernmental agency that seeks to encourage civic activity, employment, and reproductive health among youth in developing nations. Alexander’s research for the program was distributed to a number of international aid and development agencies, including the United States Aid Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

“This is my greatest achievement because even while in graduate school, I had the opportunity to work with major international development donors, partners, and policy-makers,” Alexander said.

Since his work with Restless Development, Alexander has begun work for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization based in Washington, DC, that provides emergency assistance to nearly 100 countries.

As he prepares to continue serving in the furthest corners the world, Alexander says both his mind and heart are equipped because of his time at MNU.

“MNU’s preparation has helped fuel my desire and passion to work in developing contexts,” he said.

To learn more about Barrett Alexander’s work and passion, read his contributions to youthpolicy.org, check out his blog, and connect with him on Twitter

To learn more about academic programs and service opportunities at MNU, visit mnu.edu.