Kyle Harris

MA Global Governance

Kyle HarrisKyle Harris’ graduate studies have been bookended with a wealth of globalized experience. After living and working in Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia, he returned to UWaterloo for the MA in Global Governance (MAGG) program based at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Now about to graduate, Kyle has been living in Johannesburg, South Africa, since his MAGG internship there with CIVICUS, an international organization dedicated to strengthen and protect citizen action and civil society worldwide.

While in Japan, Kyle worked with an organization called Peace Boat, in collaboration with the Orizuru Project. The two work with Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to educate people around the world on the effects of nuclear weapons. This previous work informed Kyle’s graduate studies in nuclear disarmament and human rights. For his major research paper he examined how citizens can be empowered to action for nuclear disarmament. “I worked with professors Jim Blight and janet Lang on the psychology and history of weapons, which can help us to understand why they still exist and why it is necessary to abolish them. The question is how.”

After completing his academic work, Kyle moved to Johannesburg for his internship, which was later extended to a permanent position with CIVICUS as Campaign Officer. “I have three key deliverables,” he explains. “The first is the development of an online platform where people can share personal stories of citizen action.” The site allows users to request and volunteer services in areas such as marketing, web design, and fundraising. “My second deliverable is a project called Global Citizen Day of Action. We are going to have people from around the world take to the streets and ask members of the public: ‘do you feel that you are free to speak out, organize, and take action in your country?’” Photos and responses will be posted online, and eventually an interactive map will allow users to see which populations feel free to take civil action. Kyle’s last deliverable is an International Innovation Award that will gather citizen activists from around the world to disseminate their stories and strategies.

“I’m really enjoying Africa; it is a place of opportunity,” says Kyle of his work with CIVICUS. “It’s exciting to see ideas form. We are having conversations with the members of the United Nations, as well as civil society and government leaders, and I believe that we have the potential to be a major influence on post-2015 development.” When asked how the MAGG program prepared him for his current work, Kyle speaks about the interdisciplinarity of the program and the real world parallels. “There is a delicate balance between security, economics, and human rights. Learning in this interdisciplinary manner helped shed light on the inner workings of global governance in the real world.”

University of Waterloo

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