The fight for equality has been central to Christine Mangale’s life from an early age. “I grew up in a small village outside Mombasa, Kenya, to remarkable parents, who responded to the circumstances of their poverty by supporting all of their children in their pursuit of an education.” While Kenya now provides universal primary and secondary education, it was unusual for families to send their daughters to school when Christine was a child. After graduating, she went on to work as a community organizer in Mombasa and Nairobi.
Christine has come a long way from where she began. Today she is a program director at the Lutheran Office for World Community. She also engages in discussions at United Nations forums on topics ranging from humanitarian affairs to sustainable development.
The Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs was a natural fit for Christine, as it prepares students to take up their responsibilities as global citizens advocating for social justice and striving for an equitable and just world. “It’s hard to encapsulate what I have learned at The New School, but words like ‘inspired,’ ‘developed,’ ‘supported,’ and ‘community’ all come to mind,” says Christine. “When you work around an institution like the United Nations, you are daily exposed to the biggest challenges facing the world today. It is hard to maintain an optimistic worldview, especially as the work often feels like an uphill battle, with very slow and very incremental change. The community of faculty, students, and staff at The New School was like a shot of epinephrine. During the pursuit of my degree, I found new life and motivation to continue my work for human rights, equipped with new skills, perspectives, and resources.”
Being part of the program and engaging with faculty and peers were enriching experiences for Christine. “My peers from school are now my peers in the sector, and our relationships will be assets that will benefit us all moving forward. The professors at The New School are remarkable and are experts in their fields and deeply invested in the success of their students.”
Christine’s advice to current students reflects her commitment to lifting up others. She says, “Prepare to read and talk a lot. This advice is particularly for my fellow international students—who, like me, did not grow up in classrooms with ‘participation points’ but instead are coming from lecture-based pedagogies. Be open to diverse opinions, experiences, and dynamic perspectives—both your own and those of your facility and peers. I would encourage students to harness their energy and creativity to make a positive impact on this world. I would encourage them to lift their voices in their communities first. Lift issues of marginalized groups in society that are missing in spaces of influence by telling the stories of people, while not getting lost in statistics or the magnitude of the challenges we face. Above all, act, and demand action whenever you encounter injustice.”