Patrick GIRUKWAYO Goma, 27 April 2018
Student at AIU
Object: My letter about my experience with AIU;
Dear AIU Managers,
My presentation and how I joined the AIU
My name is Mr. Patrick Girukwayo, from the Democratic Reporting of Congo (DR Congo). . I have 27 years of professional experience (from 1992 to 2017), of which 14 years (since 2003) have been dedicated to humanitarian service in local associations, NGOs, United Nations Agencies and the United Nations Mission.
Now at 48 years of age in 2018; my experience with AIU begun since 2015 when I discovered the AIU website. I joined AIU with a License Diploma in Law (BAC +5), and my great desire was to acquire a Master Diploma in Leadership and Strategic Management. I could not get a university that could provide me this learning since its one of rare domains. I remained with my objectives fixed at AIU with high expectations that I could finally be graduated by getting a master degree. Then how? This was not only a question of time, but also a question of how to register as student, follow courses, accomplish my assignments, make my thesis, and complete the fourth phase and get the Diploma. It was not easy for me if I say truth !
How I suspended and resume course at AIU
At the beginning of 2015, I completed the registration phase 1 and 2, and my first joyful situation was to see various courses for my studies. It was an online library. I selected courses and downloaded then for offline reading at home since I cannot not be connected every time at the internet. This course provided me with many interesting topics, which are actually useful in my professional life. I went to the phase 3. However, due to financial constraints, I was forced to stop my studies and could not continue. One among the special and honorable excellent habits for AIU; is the monitoring of students problems. While suspending my studies, I received many telephone calls and e-mails from the student and finance sections encouraging me to resume my studies. All my best honor to James ROTLEWICZ, Kinmberly DIAZ and Rosie PEREZ who encouraged me to resume and now I and at the graduation process.
My appreciation to the grading of assignments at AIU
As a student, I was getting assignments, and my duties were to respond and sent them for grading. Another specific advantage I observed at AIU; is that each assignment submitted was graded as quickly as possible. At the opening of the website few days, I was enjoying the way the professors were delivering quick correction to my assignments. This is one of major ways, which enhanced my trust and confidence towards AIU and its professors.
How AIU contributed for my career performance in the United Nations
From 2016 to 2017, as preparing my further career advance, and planning to assist the society especially the Africa continent and particular my country, I attached an attention to the courses and all learning processes. I seized the opportunity to read, make notes and interact with my supervisors. At work, in the United Nations for the stabilization of the D R Congo (MONUSCO), I used to use some strategies learn in my AIU course to deliver some advices and training activities. I converted some English modules into French to better interact with the participants at my activities. I am happy to say that the AIU courses helped me to better work as a professional at field level. However, what were major course, which helped me?
Evan though all course were of great importance, some of them were more important for me. Even though, I cannot make details of the each advantage from learnt courses, I will develop few of them. These include: i) the Strategic Planning, ii) Strategy Directive, iii) Conflict Management, iv) Leadership and Direction Course of AIU, as well as other courses.
i)The “strategic planning course” of AIU, allowed me to better make the monitoring and measurement of my activities. At each beginning of the cycle of program, I elaborated my work plan, tools, techniques and systems to define, visualize, measure, control, report and improve processes with the goal to meet customer requirements profitably. My supervisors appreciated the work, since at the end of cycle of the years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, I had achieved many of my goals at 90%. All my e-pass (performance evaluation) were graded with “Outstanding”, “Excellent” “Highly meet expectations”. See some of my activities at : https://monusco.unmissions.org/les-%C3%A9tudiants-du-burundi-du-rwanda-et-du-nord-kivu-soucieux-de-comprendre-le-travail-tel-que-fait
i)The “Strategy Directive course” of AIU, enhanced my capacity in working based on the mission and vision of my organization. I stuck to the MONUSCO’s vision and mission while working in the field with communities. As a community Liaison Assistant, and then reporting Officer, sometimes I faced some high expectations from population, which could not match the mission mandate. My roles were to accomplish the mission’s activities, clarify our key responsibilities and orient the population to other local actors (UN Agencies, NGOs, government,) to provide an appropriate solution. It was one way of accomplishing the UN Values namely “Integrity” and professionalism.
ii)The “conflict Management and Negotiation course” of AIU, allowed me to contribute in reducing tension between colleagues, as well as leading workshops and social dialogues at root level in North Kivu province from 2016 to 2018. I firstly developed my listening skills with a high empathy. This allowed me to receive some people’s complaints against others, and with my skills of mediation, I contributed in solving many problems. Building relationships requires the building of trust. In 2018, I was elected as the president of 450 agents from North Kivu province in MONUSCO (the United Nations Mission in DR Congo). They assigned me to represent them as syndicalist to serve as mediator between the employer and employees.
In addition, in from 2016 to 2017, as Associate Civil Affairs officer, I led some social dialogues and conciliation meetings in Bwito chefferie (Nyanzale village, Pinga, Nyamilima,…) to appease ethnic tension between local communities. In order of developing a culture of peace among them, I used the method of win-win negotiation and assisted the parties to conflicts to reach an agreement. As impact, some of the above areas remained stable even though there is a major need for the government to reduce armed group presence.
As transformed student at AIU and trainer of student in Leadership at ACADEMIE UN JOUR NOUVEAU
iii)The “Leadership and Direction Course” of AIU, modified my style of leadership to be applied in my family and my organization. It was my first gain for my personality. In my role of collecting information and make analysis of reports, I enhanced my ways of interacting with people while giving some directives on how to produce their reports.
From 2015 to 2016, the ACADEMIE UN JOUR NOUVEAU (a national academy in charge of training people in Leadership, based in Goma, led by Camile and Esther Ntoto, see at [email protected]) invited me to teach leadership. Based on my understating of the Leadership Course, and my previous experience, I seized the opportunity as a major way forward to confirm my studies. During two years, I tough the “leadership course” under the topic of “ “transformational leadership”. As outcome, I trained 150 people in Goma town how to enhance the motivation, morale, and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include : i) connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to the project and the collective identity of the organization; ii) being a role model for followers that inspires them and makes them interested; iii) challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers, so the leader can align followers with tasks that enhance their performance.
How I created my own French blog on Leadership and management with AIU experience
Brightened by the course from AIU, and due to the need of sharing my experience and understanding on leadership, I created my own French blog on Leadership and management called “LE TRAVAIL DE L’HUMANITAIRE AU QUOTIDIEN”. You can reach it at : (http://www.humanitaire-leadership-management-conflit.com/), many of friends communicate with me there and get some answers while reading my articles. Some of find me at my linked in profile at : https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-girukwayo-33845965/ ; where I have clearly written that I am a student from AIU, and my wish is to see many of my friends reaching AOI for the same experience.
Drafting my thesis in leadership in Goma town
After teaching, “transformational leadership”, I was surprised to see some of my well known students and collaborators while drafting my thesis. Some should answer to my survey questions on girls and women’s leadership easily as they had known well “what is leadership”. To recall, my thesis intended to analyze “the level of participation of women and girls as leaders in local organizations and associations in male dominated professional area, from 2015 to 2016”. Some couples with my field experience and readings from AIU books, the redaction of my thesis was easy. It has remained one of key tool, which indicates the level of women’s leadership in my town (Goma, North Kivu, in DRC) for researchers in leadership or gender.
Conclusion and expression of gratitude
Without explaining all my experience with AIU due to the lack of time, I can say just in one word that : “I gained much from this University”. Firstly, it developed my personality for being a good leader, enhanced my intellectual and professional skills, contributed in giving me good ways of leading my family and colleagues to achieve expected goals. Using my learnt strategies directives, I contributed in facilitating the MONUSCO (United Nations Mission in DR Congo) to achieve some goals linked with my job descriptions. One of the outcomes of the Leadership and Strategic Planning section, which I followed at AIU. The AIU experience is one of my key important values coupled with my Diploma degree!
I finish by thanking all the AIU academic, financial and professors for the high quality of work they do and the high and rich syllabus they provide with us. Personally, I express my gratitude toward James ROTLEWICZ, Maricela Esparza, Kinmberly DIAZ and Rosie PEREZ who encouraged me to resume courses and assisted in reducing the fees charges until the end of the process. As way forward, I remain determined to do more in my work. In addition, I hope to create Centre in my country where I will continue teach and enhance the local community in leadership and planning.