Neil Clarke, Managing Director/ Head of Europe and Central Asia Programmes, Minority Rights Group Europe

I graduated from the MA in 2003 and after applying for a number of positions with London based NGOs, joined Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in 2004. MRG was an organisation I had been familiar with during the MA, as it had provided speakers for course, internships for my classmates and had staff also undertaking the program. MRG’s focus is human rights advocacy on issues related to ethnic, linguistic, religious, national and indigenous minorities.  It has a partner led approach and works through locally based organisations across the world. During my time in London I worked across a range of regional and thematic programmes: Asia, Europe, Africa, Development, Conflict and International Advocacy as a programmes assistant and later Coordinator. In 2009, I moved to Budapest, Hungary and became Managing Director of Minority Rights Group Europe an organisation established by MRG to lead and implement MRG’s work in Europe and Central Asia. In that time I have been responsible for developing MRG’s programmes predominantly in the eastern regions, with programmes currently active in the South Caucuses, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Turkey.

The MA was the crucial factor in deciding to make human rights activism my career. It contributed to building my personal confidence, establishing my personality in a genuinely multi-cultural environment and a provided broad and practically focused learning on apporaching the means to realise human rights. All of these aspects have been important in an organisation like MRG, whose work addressess a full spectrum of rights issues.