Karine Ataya

Executive MPA 

Class of 2018

LSE has allowed me the opportunity to grow and evolve, and to finally do what I always had set out to do.

Karine is a Private Partnerships and Fundraising Officer for the World Food Programme.

Karine Ataya, EMPA

My childhood had me travelling back and forth to Lebanon on summer vacations, and so I grew up around United Nations Interim Force staff based out of Lebanon. I would watch them managing chaos around us, and always dreamt of wearing the UN jacket and badge, helping those in need.

In 2016, I decided that a switch in career was something I could actually afford to do after eleven years of working in Dubai, and going to LSE allowed me the flexibility of studying and working at the same time. I joined the Executive MPA programme in December of 2016, and enrolled in what I would later call a whirlwind of challenges, opportunities, successes, and lifelong friendships. For some reason, joining the programme allowed me to make decisions which I never thought possible: I resigned from my job with the Australian Government, moved back to Lebanon, and simply took a year off. I therefore focussed on my studies and being with my family – both brought me so much joy and happiness.

Joining the programme has brought so many changes in my life. I became a better writer and learned how to look at the bigger picture. The programme also taught me different skills and covered topics which would help me achieve my ultimate dream: working for the UN. The programme was very challenging, and I struggled to get through in certain classes due to the simple fact that I had not studied in so long and was rusty. But that was the beauty of this challenge!

By June 2018, I was approached by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a post in Dubai as an Associate Partnerships Officer: a post that advocates for the work being done with refugees. One year later, I joined the World Food Programme. WFP is an innovative UN agency which not only saves lives but changes them too. The focus is on using school meals as an incentive to bring children into schools and encourage parents to do so: thus ensuring kids are well fed, safe, and leaning how to improve their own lives and the lives of others. Food is a universal language - bringing people together, encouraging sharing, and breaking barriers – and this is what WFP allows me to experience on a daily basis.

LSE has allowed me the opportunity to grow and evolve, and to finally do what I always had set out to do. Working for UN agencies allows me to make a difference in people’s lives and for someone who loves children and has always worked in this field, it makes my heart grow bigger every day.  

Karine is happy to connect via LinkedIn.