Oliver Trowell

MSc in International Development
Birbeck, 2020 to 2022

I am currently studying for an MSc in International Development, following the completion of a BA in Global Politics and International Relations at Birkbeck University last year.

I began my studies later in life due to a progressive illness I have suffered since birth, which was partially resolved following a life-changing operation I received at the age of twenty. Nevertheless, the time I spent unwell gave me plenty of opportunities for independent study, which was largely focused on the politics, history and culture of the Middle East; with my interest originally spurred by the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011.

I decided to study at Birkbeck as the evening courses it offers enabled me to begin a career relevant to my interests. I started my career working in the NGO sector, in strategic communications as a politics and conflict analyst, during which the focus of my work was to counter the messaging of extremist groups operating out of Syria and Iraq. I also participated in a counter-extremism initiative with young people from religious and community groups across London with training from the Mayor of London’s office. I presently work in public affairs for the real estate sector, which involves lobbying local politicians, MPs and community groups, and supporting the planning application process on behalf of large-scale property developers.