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GAMP - IWRMs first batch experience

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This Course was Designed for Me!

IWRM – What Students of the First Intake Have to Say

In 2007, IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) started as the first of the German-Arab Master’s Programmes. Nearly ten years later, we wanted to know what students of the first intake think of their study programme now and which route they have taken since. We spoke to three of them and their experience with GAMP is still highly valued.

IWRM students at their graduation

GAMP:  You have started studying IWRM in 2007. What was your motivation to apply for a German-Arab programme?

Wahib: I had been looking for opportunities to continue my education and to improve my professional and personal skills – so when I heard about IWRM I was very interested in the design of the course.

Anselm:Being of German origin, having studied the Arabic language and being fascinated both by Arab culture and the environmental challenges facing the world and the Arab countries in particular, my first reaction when I read the announcement for the IWRM Master was: this course was designed for me! I have to get in! :)  

Rami: I was also looking for a unique Master Program in Water Management which provided scientific knowledge and experience in multi-disciplinary approaches. Additionally, I saw added value in the IWRM program since it offered exposure to different cultures and different ways of thinking and analysis.

Wahib: And this was not only theoretical knowledge of cultural diversity: What we hear or read about is so different from what we see with our own eyes and live. In addition, quite honestly, it was helpful that the program provided a scholarship.

Rami1

Rami is making changes in Jordan

GAMP: What experiences did you make with your German/ Arab colleagues?  

Anselm: There was so much cultural learning - even among the German students and between the Arab students, there were great cultural differences.

Wahib:  Additionally, we did not only differ in our cultural background but also in our technical and social background. So there was also a strong scientific learning curve.

GAMP: What was the most surprising / interesting / unexpected experience while studying IWRM?

Anselm: An unexpected experience was that we became active co-designers and co-creators of the whole GAMP program, as we were the first batch, the guineapigs so to speak. This gave us a whole other learning tangent, as we analyzed everything in that light and grew a lot in terms of responsibility and self-organization as a group.

Rami: True! It was interesting to watch the integration of the design of the program courses between the Arab and German teachers.

Wahib: And also for us as students, the various activities of the IWRM master program such as tandem research, attending summer schools, field visits to many projects, organizations in both Jordan, Germany and other countries were an exciting experience. We participated in many interesting and even entertaining activities which was one way to see and discover the world and make precious memories.

Anselm:  Lastly, one of the most surprising experiences for me personally was the realization that I did not want to work in water management. It seemed too politicized and corrupted to me and I could not identify with the development work being done by European, American and Japanese agencies in the Arab world. I was drawn to more grassroots and entrepreneurial approaches.

Ibing

Anselm has decided to take a different route

GAMP:  So what route have you taken since 2007 and your following degree?

Anselm:  After graduating in 2009, I stayed on in Jordan, quickly landed an interesting job and then co-created Jordan’s first recycling Service Company with three Jordanian partners. With only 10 000 USD local start-up capital and no outside subsidies, we created over 50 jobs in three locations in Jordan within 2 years. This gave me a lot of faith in the field of entrepreneurship as a more holistic and resilient force of development, compared to a lot of what I saw being done with foreign aid. The company still exists to this day, though I left Jordan in 2012 and have since then worked as a social entrepreneur and consultant in local food systems and holistic design, based in France. I am now adding a new field to my work: coaching for eco-village and other collective projects.

Rami:  I stayed in the sector and have been working in the development sector trying to create changes in my country.

Wahib: Me too. Although my route was a bit more focused on applied research. After several years of working experience in Yemen, I recently enrolled as PhD candidate in Wageningen University and Research Center (Water Resources Management group).

GAMP: Are there any special learning outcomes that still influence you in your daily life?

Wahib:  I found it helpful to develop both professional and personal skills like responsibility, independency, handle difficulties, communication and how to be adaptive to life in different environments.

Rami:  What really struck me was the way of creative thinking which combines different aspects of IWRM in finding solutions for water problems.

Anselm: I still benefit from the “in-between-the-lines learning” on Arab culture and the development world. Academically speaking, though, I most benefited from the courses on water harvesting and conservation, which has greatly enhanced my understanding of (eco-) systemic design approaches like permaculture and the way I look at landscapes.

alqubatee

Wahib has moved to the Netherlands for a research project

GAMP:  What would you suggest for new and current students of the German-Arab-Master’s Programmes?

Rami:  Learn from each other and exchange experiences; keep in touch after finishing the program! Networking among professionals contributes to problem solving and enhances development processes.

Wahib:  Take the chance to study abroad and use the advantages of such programs to strengthen your scientific and personal skills. Try to focus on mutual learning and transferring knowledge and experiences among the participants of different countries and different backgrounds. In addition: Build solid friendships and connections for the future communication and cooperation between the alumni.

Anselm:  What I say to all future students: Most of the learning happens BETWEEN the lines and OUTSIDE class! Don’t rely solely on the provided content for your own learning - a course is always what you make of it!
I believe that a whole set of inspired and inspiring future leaders and change-makers are coming out of the GAMP programs.

About:

Mr. Rami Salameh is a Water and Environmental Management Expert with more than 12 years of technical experience in water and environmental management fields. After finishing his M.Sc. in IWRM, he held managerial and senior positions in different consulting firms and international organizations including ACWUA, Oxfam, GIZ and USAID projects. Rami lives and works in Jordan.

Wahib Al-Qubatee  holds a bachelor degree in geology/ physics and a M.Sc. in IWRM, a diploma in geophysics from Sana’a University, Yemen. He worked as a director of Thematic Map Project at Geological Survey and Mineral Resources Board (GSMRB) and a researcher at Water and Environment Center (WEC), Sana’a University. Recently, Wahib enrolled as PhD candidate in Wageningen University and Research Center, Water Resources Managements group.

Anselm Ibing  is a consultant and change agent with a goal to reconnect humans to nature, by promoting regenerative agriculture, holistic design and collective eco-projects. With an M.A. in Arabic and International Relations and the famous M.Sc. in IWRM, he currently works as a freelancer with Terra Genesis International, a US-based consulting company and with the Mouvement des Colibris, a major French NGO.