By Saber Osman

16 April 2021 - 10:00

Saber’s passion for protecting the environment began at school in Cairo, but it really took shape when he gained a master's in Climate Change from the University of East Anglia.

Within two years of graduating, Saber was advising the Egyptian government and the United Nations on Climate Change. He is included in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Roster of Experts as a reviewer for climate change reports from developed and developing countries. 

The UNFCCC is one of the most influential treaties in the modern world and is central to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement - which aims to keep increases in global average temperature to well below 2°C, recognising that this would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Saber plays a key role in achieving this ambitious aim. He shares how you can develop your skills and knowledge to achieve great things below.

 

My interest in the environment dates back to high school in Cairo where I excelled in Biology and Chemistry. I enrolled at the Faculty of Agriculture in its Environment and Biological Agriculture Department (EBAD) and from there I transferred to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). 

It was at the EEAA that I decided to look at my career ambitions. I was working alongside many leading international consultants and was very impressed by their academic qualifications and professional calbre. I realised that if I was to be truly successful in my field, I would need to develop my skills, knowledge and professional abilities even further.

For me, there was no better way to do this than with a master’s degree in the UK.

'Having this internationally-recognised qualification has certainly helped me get ahead and access better opportunities in my career.'

It goes without saying that the UK has some of the most renowned and prestigious education institutions. I knew that studying there would give me a first-class education and the step up that I was looking for.

I chose the University of East Anglia for my master’s degree because it’s a pioneer in the study of the environment. Their master's in Climate Change is unique and would give me access to the world’s best research and information. 

In Egypt’s environmental development sector, postgraduate education is very much a basic requirement. And having this internationally recognised qualification has certainly helped me get ahead and access better opportunities in my career.

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David Kirkham, Fisheye images / University of East Anglia 

'The multidisciplinary master’s degree gave me access to many new areas, allowing me to gain conceptual knowledge, as well as the technical expertise I would need.'

At the University of East Anglia, the multidisciplinary master’s degree gave me access to many new areas, allowing me to gain conceptual knowledge, as well as the technical expertise I would need. 

It also helped me develop a critical view of my work. I studied and worked with experts from various countries, benefiting from their deep knowledge of environmental issues around the world. This enabled me to better understand the problems we face in Egypt and to find ways of overcoming them. 

Moreover, the network I built during my UK studies has helped me get advice on climate-related issues.

'Protecting the environment remains my number one passion - and I am keen to transfer all my knowledge and experiences to new generations.'

My master's degree has undoubtedly given me an advantage over other candidates. The UK’s style of teaching gave me the necessary skills to conduct high-level research, but also allowed me to look at the wider picture of climate change - such as societal impacts and political issues.

This well-rounded education has allowed me to perform better in my job, which benefits the organisations that I work with, as well as my country. Through my day-to-day interactions with colleagues, I can share and transfer the knowledge that I learned in the UK. This provided me with a fast track for progression, helping me fulfill my ambition of attaining leadership positions in the environment field and allowed me to influence development policy in Egypt. I have managed to achieve many of the things I’d once hoped for. 

Alongside my work I’ve also managed the The Advisory Board of Climate Change in Cities in Egypt (AB-CCC). While working for the Egyptian Government, I was one of the main developers of the institutional reform of the Climate Change Council in Egypt, to ensure the mainstreaming of climate change issues in central and local government. I’ve also undertaken many more senior positions in my country, helping to ensure that Egypt is able - and willing - to make positive changes as the world adapts to sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living.

Without question, my studies in the UK are the reason why I’ve been able to achieve these things. I’ve been able to use the things I learned there to inspire my own teaching - an Environmental Planning course for master's students at the Institute of National Planning (INP), while also raising public awareness concerning climate change issues in Arabic through my YouTube channel. Protecting the environment remains my number one passion - and I am keen to transfer all my knowledge and experiences to new generations.