#WeAreElliott: George William Magera

#WeAreElliott: George William Magera

George Magera smiling in a village he was raised in Uganda.

George Magera graduated from Uganda Christian University with a Bachelor of Logistics Management in 2018. He is currently pursuing a Master of International Policy and Practice degree with a concentration in Security. In 2018, he was elected Leader of the Peoples Progressive Party-Uganda (a political party in opposition in Uganda), working and campaigning to champion change from a military-led government to a civilian-led government with harmonious military relations. He also co-founded an NGO in 2010 that has been addressing the challenges of health, poverty, and education in Uganda. With a political, business, international relations, and civil society background, he intends to use his skills and knowledge to create a much better world safer from terror and abuse of power and using clean energy sources for the next generation.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

I am originally from Uganda, East Africa. In 2017, I joined active politics and in 2018, I was elected Leader of a political party (Uganda Peoples Progressive Party-Uganda). As a leader, I understood why Uganda has had one president for the last almost 40 years. We know how to engage but not much about why we do what we do. The mindset of seeking and asking for better from our leaders and ourselves is something you don’t see in Uganda.

The United States plays a crucial role in development in Uganda but does little to help with human rights abuse and abuse of power. As much as the U.S. could do more because they can if they choose to, it is left for Ugandans to work it out the hardest way possible. It has always been a military takeover and thousands of lives lost ever since Uganda became independent in 1962. I chose Elliott because it had a program (Master of International Policy and Practice) that is perfect for mid-career professionals willing to change to another field of work. As a lifelong learner, I loved that it is in the heart of DC where I can witness democracy at full display. With less data in Uganda on almost all issues concerning democracy, my goal was to learn how to use data-driven diplomacy to bring about the change we seek as a nation.

What has been your most challenging academic experience at the Elliott School and how did you overcome it?

My most challenging academic experience has been navigating the use of online technology to learn. Also, I found it hard to adjust to the American system of learning since my background is a fully British one. I didn’t have a lot of experience using research to get through my studies. At the beginning, I found myself having to do a lot of reading and research and that was tough. I worked incredibly hard to make it a habit. With that background, I had to study more to break the barriers of a non-research mindset to understand the American education system and mindset.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I would either be working on my Uganda presidential aspirations or could even be President of Uganda.

Now that you’re a graduate student, what do you wish you knew during the graduate application process?

If I knew how hard you must work to get your graduate degree, I may not have applied. I come from a background of not so much hard work in terms of academics. Uganda’s study mostly replicates what you have been told so your job is to memorize it all instead of research and making discoveries. I didn’t know I had so many abilities and skills in me until I had to apply myself and discover all that I can become.

What has been your most valuable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

How to use data to design policies in relation to diplomacy (Data Driven Diplomacy).

What is your favorite place to visit in D.C. and why?

The Lincoln Memorial. Our history and present in Uganda are marred with violence by leaders and self-interests other than the greater good for all and a legacy that would outlive us all as a symbol of how mankind can make a better world for those coming after. The next generation should always be better, and we need to look to those who worked hard to make democracy better and we emulate them by doing much better ourselves.

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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.