Kristine Landau-Jagalur is a Program Officer with West Africa team at the International Republican Institute. In this role, she manages country-specific programming focused on legislative strengthening, political pluralism and tolerance, fiscal transparency and citizen engagement in political processes. She holds an M.A. in International Development Studies with a concentration in gender and conflict and B.A. in International Affairs from the Elliott School at George Washington University. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a semester at Sciences Po in Paris, France, and a semester studying in Dakar, Senegal. Kristine has worked with a variety of stakeholders in Washington, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State and The World Bank. She has experience living and working abroad, serving as an English language teacher in Guangdong, China for one year and conducting monitoring and evaluation work for several months in Gujarat, India.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am currently a Program Officer at the International Republican Institute (IRI). In this role, I manage programs that support inclusive democracy and promote accountable and transparent governance. No two days are the same and I have a wide range of responsibilities. These include producing reports and briefers, managing budgets, drafting proposals, designing governance programs and coordinating the efforts of various stakeholders. One of the best parts of this job is interacting with our teams and partners in the field and watching their passion for supporting democracy in their communities in action.
What professional organization, websites, or events would you recommend for students interested in your field, and why?
I would recommend approaching classmates, teachers, colleagues, and friends who have worked on the topics that you are interested in and asking them about their experiences. They can give you an overview of which organizations to consider reaching out to, what opportunities might be available, and how to set yourself up to pursue them. I would also suggest seeking opportunities to live and work abroad as frequently as possible. It will change you at a fundamental level, remind you why you’re passionate about the field and will give you invaluable experience that prospective employers expect to see on your resume.
What was your favorite Elliott School course and why?
It’s impossible to pick just one! Some of my favorites included Women, War & Peace with Professor Aisling Swaine and International Peacekeeping with Professor Paul Williams. Both touched on my concentration of gender and conflict and the content was presented in a way that made me think critically and question my own assumptions. I would also recommend taking courses that teach you practical skills. I enrolled in a research methods and design course and brushed up on my French with a professional-level language course and have been able to use what I learned multiple times since then. Practical skills like these really help candidates stand out during job searches.
What part of your career do you find most challenging and how do you stay motivated?
Working in international development requires a lot of hard work and drive. What keeps me motivated is a real passion for supporting inclusive, democratic governance. Remembering that I’m privileged to have the opportunity to work in support of this goal every day gets me through the inevitable tough and stressful moments.
The best compliment I’ve received … ?
The best compliment that I’ve received is that it’s clear that I care about the people that I work with, both in DC and in the field. It means a lot to me because it’s the reason why I do this work, and it’s nice that others can see that!
The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by alumni profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!
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