Erasmus Mundus - Damilola Michael Oguntade: This is where I belong

2022-12-12 Damilola Michael Oguntade is part of the first cohort of the Master's programme "International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development", which Leuphana Graduate School launched last year in cooperation with the University of Glasgow and four other partner universities. After semesters in Glasgow and Barcelona, he is looking forward to his time in Lüneburg and to pursuing his academic interests at Leuphana.

"When you listen to your fellow students in this Master's seminar asking clearly formulated questions and making high-calibre contributions, you think: yes, this is exactly where I belong." ©Papii Anthov
"When you listen to your fellow students in this Master's seminar asking clearly formulated questions and making high-calibre contributions, you think: yes, this is exactly where I belong."

After a semester each in Glasgow and Barcelona, Damilola Michael Oguntade arrived in Lüneburg a few weeks ago. "This feeling of togetherness, of hospitality, of being among like-minded people in a green and sustainability-oriented environment is something I am very happy about in Lüneburg," he says as a positive first conclusion. The Nigerian expects a lot, after all he knows about Leuphana's good reputation in the field of sustainability sciences. He is looking forward to pursuing his academic interest in sustainability, energy and climate law in the specialisation. This has been on his mind since the time of his undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos.

Oguntade enjoys putting his knowledge in these areas to practical use. For instance, he has already participated in several Model United Nations conferences on topics such as combating cyber warfare. He has also worked in Lagos as a policy research assistant and with a think tank advising the local government on sustainability issues. In addition, Oguntade himself has founded an initiative that aims to bring international law and development goals further into the focus of the debate, so that political promises also become deeds. With his Master's degree, he is able to further develop himself personally, but also his ideas in practice. In addition to the support of his fellow students, the programme's lecturers are particularly helpful. For example, the latter have already contributed to events that Oguntade organised with his initiative. This system of support is for him "the most interesting and impressive part of the programme so far." He is confident that he will also find such an environment in Lüneburg, given the broad range of initiatives at Leuphana.

The diverse expertise that the student can draw on is due not least to the multi- and interdisciplinarity that characterises the programme. Several leading universities in Europe as well as partner institutions come together here and enable the exchange between and unification of different disciplinary perspectives. "You don't just need answers from one field, but from law, politics, economics and so on. So it's good to have that kind of broad understanding to deal with the world today and the challenges we face," Oguntade agrees. This can also be seen in one of the three summer schools students can choose from, which are an integral part of the programme. Oguntade chose the Summer School on "Multilateralism under Pressure - What is the Future Role of International Law?" at the LMU in Munich. A decision he does not regret, because the summer school was "at the cutting edge" both thematically and in terms of the expertise of the lecturers.

On the one hand, the choice of the Summer School meant that the Master's students had to part ways after two semesters together, including a move from Glasgow to Barcelona, which Oguntade describes as "heartbreaking" when he thinks back to the potluck buffets with traditional food in Glasgow or the nights in Barcelona. On the other hand, he assures that friendships have already developed over the first year that will outlast the studies. The joint participation in the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and getting through the tight curriculum in Barcelona also contributed to this, he says. Oguntade is also impressed by the contributions of his friends in the seminar: "It's good to be in an environment where people don't feel intimidated by what you are doing, but support you and understand why you are doing what you are doing. When you listen to them ask clearly-worded questions and make high-level contributions, you think, yes, this is exactly where I belong."

The Master's in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development is thus a big step on the career ladder that can lead, for example, to the legal departments of the United Nations as well as national ministries and other international organisations in politics and practice. Oguntade feels that the Master's degree prepares him excellently for this path and recommends it to anyone interested in a career in international law. They are "right at home in this uniquely multidisciplinary degree programme." He himself has already taken further steps in this direction with his non-university involvement, but is still considering a doctorate: "I would like to specialise further in the area of sustainability law or perhaps even energy and climate change law." With the Joint LL.M. in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development from the University of Glasgow and Leuphana and the Master's in International Relations of Global Security, Peace and Development from the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, all doors are open to him in any case.

The Erasmus Mundus Master in International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development was developed in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and four other partner universities (Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, Radboud University, the University of Tartu, the Université libre de Bruxelles). The innovative and multidisciplinary programme is aimed at students who are interested in the interconnections of international law, politics and international relations as well as the global challenges of the 21st century. By deepening and situating international law in its political context, the programme prepares a future generation of lawyers and policymakers for their work in the fields of global security, peace and sustainable development.

Building on this understanding of the interplay of the different fields, Leuphana offers the specialisation "International Economics, Sustainability and Governance".