ComDev alumni interviews: Erliza Lopez Pedersen

by Rebecca Bengtsson on April 10, 2014 · 1 comment

in Alumni,ComDev,Comdev News,Student Projects

Bild 07-04-14 kl. 09.29 #2Erliza Lopez Pedersen graduated from ComDev in June 2013 and in addition to her ComDev degree she has a Master of Arts in English. Erliza is the first doctoral candidate in Communication for Development at Malmö University.

– The ComDev programme is, in my opinion, in a league of its own. The seminars provide wide-ranging contemporary debates in development, culture, and media giving the students an avenue to choose which one is the most suitable and relevant to their interest. For me, the best part was having classmates from around the world, and this certainly created a dynamic, multi-diversified online class. It was a great learning experience to listen to different perspectives, and a fun challenge figuring out how to coordinate our schedule for our group work.

What did you write your Degree Project about? 

– It focused on culture and the problems surrounding the au pair programmes in Denmark. At that time, and it still is, a heated debate on whether or not the au pair programme was about cultural exchange or cheap labor. During my ethnographic inquiry, I found out that there were several factors contributing to the problems, however most of them were related to power differences between cultures and empowering one’s self was/is a necessary solution.

In what ways would you say that the ComDev programme has been beneficial for your career?

– Although it is a cliché, but being an immigrant woman, I had to invest in education to be able to compete with the young and well-educated locals. My Mass Communication education from the Philippines was not enough, so I had to really start from zero. Combined with my background in communication and social activism, ComDev was the perfect choice. When Malmö University announced the opening for a ComDev Doctoral Programme, I applied for it and my proposed project on media and social actors was selected. ComDev has in many ways empowered me academically to do something for immigrant communities, to constantly strive for social change both as an academic researcher and practitioner.

What is your doctoral research about?  

– It focuses on participation and empowerment through media. There is, presently, a web-based radio catering to the Filipino community in Europe, I will be studying the relation between civil societies and the radio network, how their combined efforts are affecting the communities to talk about the challenges we are facing as immigrants, as one example. The ComDev aspect of my research is on how communication, through radio programmes, empower the community to participate in debates and provide information that are necessary for policy changes both in the homeland and host country.

On Wednesday 9 April Erliza presented an introduction to her doctoral research. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here.

About ComDev
Communication for Development is one-year, online-based master’s programme running over two years part-time. The application window for ComDev is open until 15 April. For more information on how to apply, go to University Admissions.

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