Jonathan Cornejo

Politics and International Relations BA

The wide choice of modules available meant I could shape my degree and really personalise it.

Why did you choose Kent?

One of the reasons I chose the University was because it was rated highly for politics. Later on, it was clear that Kent was the best choice for my Master’s in International Conflict Analysis. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre has done some excellent work and its reputation secured my decision to stay.

What attracted you to the courses?

I chose Politics and International Relations for my undergraduate degree because I wanted to learn more about international politics and to understand, analyse and critique international events around me. The subsequent postgraduate programme helped me to further improve my knowledge of conflict analysis and resolution, and gain a better understanding of human rights and international law. I was keen to carve out a career in human rights and conflict activism, and I knew this MA would get me to where I wanted to be.

Did they live up to your expectations?

Yes, both courses were excellent and very well run. The School offers a wide choice of undergraduate modules so I felt I could shape my degree and really personalise it. With the MA, my supervisor allowed me to expand my horizons and write my dissertation on a topic I was truly passionate about.

How have your degrees contributed to your career after graduation?

They provided a solid foundation for my career in human rights activism, expanding my knowledge of human rights and improving my ability to analyse current events, which in turn, has improved my capacity to develop campaigns. The prestige of Kent’s Conflict Analysis Research Centre also gave me an edge on the competition when applying for jobs.

What did you do in your spare time at University?

I was heavily involved in the students’ union, which really steered my path towards activism. I was Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Officer at Kent Union for two years, where I campaigned for LGBT students’ rights at Kent. I developed and delivered campaigns to raise awareness and combat stigmas, trained activists in campaigning, and got involved in policymaking structures to make Kent an open and safe space for LGBT students. This developed my campaigning skills and influenced my decision to pursue a career in the charity sector as a campaigner.

Could you describe your career path since leaving Kent?

On finishing my MA, I began looking for roles in campaigns teams in the charity sector. I initially worked as a campaigns and policy intern at Mencap and got a real insight into the sector and good experience for my CV. I then landed a paid role at Rethink Mental Illness, helping to run a national awareness-raising campaign to challenge the stigma around mental illness.

What are you doing now?

I work as a campaigns co-ordinator in Amnesty UK’s individuals at risk programme. I co-ordinate our work on individuals at risk of human rights abuses around the world. Individual cases are at the heart of all our campaigns, so I contribute to national and global campaigns to ensure there is a strong casework element in all our campaign activities. In the future, I’d like to get more involved in global-level campaign planning and focus on thematic human rights issues.

What advice would you give to other students?

Gain as much experience as you can while studying. Volunteering experience is really valued in the charity sector – it can be a great way in and help you to stand out from the crowd in job applications. It’s a competitive sector, but keep at it and you’ll find an amazing role out there!