Institutt for politikk og forvaltning

Sait Matty Jaw

Sait Matty Jaw has a BSc in Public administration and a MA in African history. He is currently writing his thesis about diaspora activism and democratization.


In a nutshell I think it has prepared me for a future career in academia
Why did you choose the Master's program in Public Administration to further your studies?
I choose the MPA program for two reasons. Firstly, its promise of an enriching academic life based on history and track record. Secondly it is my background and where I hope to be in the future.
I come from a small country that faces enormous challenges in its socio-political and economic development agenda. For me, at the root of these problems are weak and dysfunctional institutions couple with public policies that serve the interest of the few. As a social justice activist, I have been concerned with these issues and to be able to contribute efficiently and effectively I need a larger worldview from a country and an academic program that portray such. This I expected of the MPA program and it is exactly what I am getting.
How has the transition from Bachelor to Master level studies been?
I must say I have always been prepared to face any challenge. My background in activism has prepared me for such. The challenge has been transiting from resource poor university to one that provides almost everything you need. At first it was a cultural shock. Now, I have all the resources at my disposal to be educated and better myself for my humanity.
How have you developed academically while attending the Master's program in Public Administration?
The MPA program I must admit has transformed me greatly. It has helped me to transit from that emotional activist that I was into one that values more how data and research can amplify a particular agenda. Now I am more able to present my ideas scientifically and also to argue logically and with clarity. In a nutshell I think it has prepared me for a future career in academia.
What is the subject of your master's thesis? Why did you choose this topic?
The subject of my thesis is Diaspora Activism and Democratization. I am investigating the implication of diaspora activism on Gambia's democracy by exploring the different ways Gambian anti-regime activists in the diaspora use the internet to advocate for regime change. I choose this topic for two reason. First to understand how people engage in the absence of a public space. Since 1994, Gambians have been living under competitive authoritarian regime where they are allowed to vote but not publicly disagree with the government. The internet provides a new medium for the absent public sphere. Secondly, I want to write about the struggle for democratic change in my country and what the future holds for us as a people.
What is your best memory from studying at the Master's program so far?
I always say that my talent is networking, meeting people building memorable relationship and all. I think my best memories in the program are the people I have come across with. The ever present academic and administrative staffs that will assist you anytime, reply to your emails quickly and even ask you to keep sending them more emails if you need any extra help. It has been amazing. I also think I was able to build good relationship with my colleagues both from the Norwegian program and the English one. I always say that real power is not in the four corners of the classroom but in the social. The more social events you attend the more fulfilled you become. The memories of hanging out with my friends will forever be cherished.
Why should new applicants choose the Master's Program in Public Administration?
I would say that the MPA program is very research oriented and practical for someone looking for a career in academia or professional. It is also very diverse both in academic staff and student composition. It gives you different realities and help you to make up your own reality.
Why should new applicants come to Bergen, and the University of Bergen?
Bergen is not just the normal student towns that you hear it is real. It is diverse and multicultural. It has so many student friendly pubs, social events and a lot of mountains to hike. The nature is amazing. There are also many academic seminars, debates and public forum that can enrich your academic life. I keep saying that Bergen is the perfect student town.
Do you have any tips for new Master's Students?
The only tip I have for the new students is to be open minded. Focus on the books but also don't forget the social. It is where the real change takes place.