Simon Murtagh

MSc in European Politics and Policy

Class of 1998

Meeting people of such bravery and integrity, as I have done in Africa, is the highlight of my career.

Simon Mutagh 3x2

Tell us about your journey since graduating from LSE

I headed straight off to Brussels after LSE in 1998 and got bruised in the hard knocks school of Europolitik. I lasted about 7 months there and then came home to Dublin, I’d been away about three years by then. Since then, I’ve worked in journalism, politics and activism with a strong focus on Africa and human rights. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and work in Africa a lot. 

How has studying in the Department of Government helped you since graduation?

I think it equipped me a lot more than I realised at the time to understand political work and theory. It’s amazing how many times I’ve been able to say things like, ‘there is this thing called the separation of powers’. I enjoyed the older style lecturers like Gordon Smith and the focus on historical political party formations – that has really stood to me in my work in politics all through the years.

What's been the highlight of your career so far?

Well, I’ve worked a lot on relations between Africa and the EU and I think we’ve helped swing the balance of power back in the right direction a few times. This is a work in progress. A couple of years ago, I came across some activists who were raising awareness about the revolution in Sudan. They were all doctors who had returned to Khartoum and they tried to save the protesters attacked by government militias in the Khartoum Massacre on 3rd June, 2019. I was so moved by their stories that I made a short film interviewing three of the doctors, Sara, Sarah and Rania. It's called ‘The Martyrs of Khartoum’. Meeting people of such bravery and integrity, as I have done in Africa, is the highlight of my career. 

What is your fondest memory of LSE?

I used to like the little Italian café at the side of the Old Building, I used to like going in for breakfast there. And there were some old rooms at the top of the Old Building where you could read and there was music at times, I think. I wonder if it’s still there? LSE has changed a lot since then, I wonder if those rooms survived the makeover.