Charlotte Gilby ’20

The IR Program would like to congratulate all those students who graduated from the IR Major in 2020. We want to honour the knowledge and insight these students have to share even though they are not able to do it in person, so will be featuring many of them in a series of interviews here online. Go forth, grads, we are proud of you! 

Name: Charlotte Gilby

Started at UBC in: 2015

What was one significant learning moment that happened during your degree? 

Laws and traditions that I perceived as static are far from that. Traditions are dynamic. Laws can be easily changed (with a simple majority in most cases). Change is inevitable and I can ensure these changes are progressive and inclusive through good research and appropriate lobbying.

What is one thing that you did/were involved in that you think future IR students should consider? 

Go Global seminars. I partook in the “African International Security” seminar with Dr Coleman in 2018. Her class challenged me (and everyone in the class) to be a better global academic. I developed many skills such as interviewing and report writing but I am most grateful for learning how western academia and journalism are still colonial in their approaches to topics involving Africa. Due to this course, I found my academic interest lies in migration and I am now heading off to my MSc in Migration come Autumn.

Most memorable or favourite IR class? Any why?

POLI 464D & F

POLI 464D & F African International Security (seminar and research trip). Dr Coleman’s seminar has opened my eyes to a whole host of different ways to view the world and by extension, this has shattered many of my damaging preconceptions of issues. Also, in spite of the many late nights doing the hundreds of pages of reading, I still remember much of the content because the discussions we had in our seminar were meaningful. These discussions opened the door to many other topics and debates which I used as inspiration for later projects.

Any advice for future IR Majors?

Tip 1: Take as many opportunities as possible to push yourself out of your comfort zone at university. This is because post-graduation you are less likely to have access to, time, scholarships/funds, an institutionalised support network and inspiration.

Tip 2: Write at least one paper in your undergraduate that you actually believe in and put the effort into researching and writing.

Tip 3: Attend talks that are around campus and just listen to what they have to say. I didn’t start attending these until my final year and regretted not going to more.