Country director for Medair

Carl Adams' MA in Development Studies helped prepare him for supporting refugees in Bangladesh in the most inspiring and challenging role he has ever had.

Carl Adams sitting outside a bungalow

Key facts

Career: Country Director for Medair
Master of Arts
Development Studies

"I am currently Country Director for Medair, a Swiss humanitarian relief and recovery agency. Based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, I support the response to Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their homeland, who now form the world's largest refugee camp on the Bangladesh / Myanmar border.

"My average day involves coordinating meetings with UN agencies, other NGOs and local authorities; overseeing a team of national and expat staff who are running health, nutrition and shelter programmes in the camps; and general operations of the organisation.

"I find my work incredibly dynamic – no two days are the same when working in often unpredictable contexts in response to disasters and conflict. My current job is probably the most encouraging, inspiring and frustrating role I have had, often all at once.

The most memorable moments for me are seeing people who have shared the hardship of losing everything and endured unimaginable conditions begin to feel visible and dignified again as a result of the respect and assistance given to them.

"I have always been intrigued at the intersection of different issues, and how these impact people in varied and often disproportionate ways. A lot of my undergraduate study was in global politics, history of the global South, and Law. I was attracted to Development Studies as it looks at these different fields to understand issues, such as sustainability, in their many forms.

"I valued the diversity of the student body in Development Studies, which created a great environment to share and learn. The experience of the professors and the international reputation of the university appealed to me greatly.

"Through my masters thesis on disaster response, I learned discipline, self-motivation, critical thinking and how to make sense of large volumes of information. It also taught me the importance of time management and planning, along with strong writing and analysis skills.

"For anyone studying arts, I would recommend a mix of classes which help to broaden your learning experience. For postgraduate study, aim for a thesis supervisor who gives critical and constructive feedback and researches in the field you are interested in."