Ismini Drosoforidi shares her experience as a student in the Human Rights Studies M.A. Program so far.
In which program are you enrolled and when is your expected graduation date?
I'm currently enrolled in the Human Rights M.A. Program and I will be graduating in December of 2023.
What is your research focus? What drew you to this particular issue/set of issues?
My concentration in the program is human rights in business. The intersection of human rights and business is an emerging field, and the new legal and policy frameworks will certainly challenge how corporations operate.
Which class would you recommend to other students interested in the same issues as you?
NGOs and the Human Rights Movement and ESG: Aligned Corporate Governance. Both classes give you not only the needed theoretical framework but also help you hone your practical skills. I would also recommend taking classes from different schools. Personally, apart from making great friends, I have learned so much simply by interacting with my classmates and I will forever cherish that!
Where did you grow up? In which countries and/or cities have you lived?
I'm Greek, born and raised in Athens.
What is a must-read for a human rights student?
Any piece written by Makau Mutua, especially "Savages, victims, and saviors: The metaphor of human rights"
What are your goals (professional or academic) after graduation? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My biggest passion is creating robust partnerships between the public and the private sector. My interest in bridging the gap between corporate capital and non for profit organizations led me to found my startup, a platform that made Corporate Social Responsibility procedures easy for Greek companies. Our aim was to have a measurable impact on the betterment of society. After graduation, I see myself working in the intersection of human rights and business either at a multilateral organization, such as the UN or in the private sector.
What is your favorite spot to study (or spend time) on campus?
You can always find me in Butler Library!
Anything else you wish to share about yourself or your experience in the program/Columbia so far?
I’m thrilled to announce that I was selected to be the Columbia University representative at the 2023 Clinton Global Initiative cohort.
Former President Bill Clinton launched the CGI U in 2007 as part of the Clinton Foundation’s mission to inspire young individuals to step up and lead in their respective communities. Each year, the Foundation selects a cohort of students with diverse backgrounds that come together in order to work on the world’s most pressing challenges.
During the first week of March, I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, where this year’s meeting took place. It was simply mind-blowing to meet other inspiring young trailblazers that aspire to collectively reshape the future. The year-long leadership program will equip us with all the needed tools to become competent social entrepreneurs or public servants.
At its heart, the CGI community looks beyond the mundane of everyday life and aspires to inspire young people to achieve more, be more, and offer more. This philosophy is rooted in a deeply held belief that the world can indeed be a fine place, and worth fighting for. And I couldn’t agree more.