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Ahyan Shandilya wants to build an Alumni Network at the Hebrew University

I would like to acknowledge the valuable support and generosity of esteemed donors, team of British Friends of the Hebrew University and the Braun School of Public Health for providing me full scholarship to study in Israel. Along with my previous academic and professional particulars, I am also highlighting briefly about the experience in Israel during the last year and future plans.

About myself: I am Ahyan Shandilya from India. I am the proud recipient of the Harry and Leah Cohen, British Friends of the Hebrew University, scholarship in public health in International Master of Public Health (2011-2012) at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Hadassah, Jerusalem Israel.

Apart from IMPH, my educational/professional qualifications include Bachelor of Commerce (Honors), Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (equivalent to MBA) and Postgraduate Diploma in Disaster Preparedness and Rehabilitation.

During my professional stint, I worked in areas of health and care, women’s empowerment, conflicts and disasters at national and international level. I have over 10 years of experience in networking and coordination with donor agencies, government departments and other international organizations. I was trained as a master facilitator on community-based first aid, and a member of the South Asia Regional Disaster response team, I possess good understanding of community-based disaster risk reduction.

In my last assignment, I was working with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), South Asia delegation and involved in supporting regional health programmes including planning, implementation, monitoring of programmes as well as coordination with country programme teams. I was involved in preparing proposals for funding and project documents detailing implementing modalities as per guidelines. I facilitated a large number of training programmes for volunteers and professionals working in the community.

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Why I joined this course? I have been continuously making efforts to enhance my knowledge on public health disciplines to be able to reduce the health risks and suffering in my part of the world. While working, I was encouraged by two alumnus of same course not only about the quality education but the variety of exposures provided by the school through different meetings/seminars/visits. Recognizing the importance of public health in coming years, I firmly believe that this course will help me to foster in my mission to prevent and lessen human suffering by promoting humanitarian activities especially better health care services for people living in rural areas, the poor, women and children. This course has improved my theoretical and professional abilities to serve not only my home country but also other countries and regions. 

How was the year? The opportunity to learn the basics and important aspects of public health from the esteemed lecturers of the Braun School of Public Health added great value to my practical experience in this field. The reputation of the school as being among the best in the field, distinguished faculty members and students from diverse countries make it more unique than courses offered by other universities.

Israel, a country with the combination of ancient and modern values, encouraged me to gain knowledge on public health issues along with the exposure to a rich and diverse culture. The visits to a range of cultural, natural and recreational sites are distinctive feature of IMPH programme of Hebrew University which offers the students to experience the beautiful country, Israel. These visits not only lighten the pressure of intensive course but also helped in nurturing the relations among the international students from different parts of the globe. During our stay at university campus we visited many magnificent places in the country.

Our IMPH Course Director, Prof. Yehuda Neumark is an instrumental personality whose guidance and leadership made this course more contented for international students. A BIG THANK YOU to our course and administrative team for their wonderful support. In short, the students from 15 different countries, our supportive school staff, and eminent faculty members were all part of a family for one whole year. 

What I am doing now? I completed this course successfully and arrived safely to my home. With profound gratitude and respect, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all those involved in the successful completion of this course. Presently, I am applying for job opportunities in different humanitarian organizations. In coming months, I will share further updates with you.

Suggestion: I believe that the completion of course is a beginning not an end.  The alumni network meetings or refresher workshop/programmes will be very much welcomed in or outside Israel. This will help further in building their network and strengthen the relationship with all Hebrew University International Public Health scholars.

At the end of this note, I am grateful for your kindness and your strong collaboration with Hebrew University in encouragement for disseminating quality education to students from all over the world. I pray and wish that this will continue forever to benefit as many scholars as possible and ultimately community from vulnerable part of the world.

My sincere regards to Cohen family members and team of British Friends of the Hebrew University.

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