Jimena Montané '14 (Mexico)

January 5, 2016

"now I feel like there are no limits to where I could go in the future"

I’m Jimena Montané Azpiri from Mexico, MESPOM graduate from batch 8 (2012-2014). I’m currently working as Regional Assistant for the Americas at the Ramsar Convention Secretariat based in Gland, Switzerland, where I’m mostly involved in designation/updating of Ramsar Sites, project assessment and monitoring for the Convention’s small grants programmes, and preparation and assistance for different meetings. I’ve been working here since February 2015 - as a result of an announcement published on the IUCN website - and as it’s been a really busy year for Ramsar (COP 12, Standing Committee, and regional meetings) I’ve been able to learn some things about Ramsar and other MEAs, while developing multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural work experience – which MESPOM definitely prepared me for! – meeting really interesting people, and making really good friends in the process.

Being a part of MESPOM certainly changed my life in many ways - it’s hard to describe what an enriching experience this programme is. Besides its purely academic assets (some of which I now get to put into practice!), being exposed to such different cultures, living in different countries – Hungary, Greece, UK, and South Africa - and experiencing different scholarly styles, while meeting and working with very different people, definitely changes the way you see the world. In my case it basically opened it, as now I feel like there are no limits to where I could go in the future. More importantly, the friendships I made during MESPOM are by far the most valuable outcome. We were exposed to such intense experiences, went through some really good and some difficult moments together – it’s not all travel and fun, it’s tougher than it looks! – coupled with the fact that we are all passionate environmentalists and travellers, creates a truly special bond. My classmates are now part of my family and, based on experience, I can confidently say that we will keep making an effort to see each other for years to come.

It’s also been really exciting to realize what a fantastic network we have: in the past few months I’ve met several environmental professionals from the MESPOM family (MESPOM and its sister Masters programmes at all our partner universities) in many different countries! And I’m sure this will continue to happen in the future because, in the end, we’re all working to make this world a better place, and that will always bring people together.