November 2020 Student Spotlight
November Student Spotlight with Fatima Doukoure, Executive MPA ’21
Associate Director at Child Welfare Organizing Project, Fatima Doukoure talks her time as an elected official, her work in Mali, and her Executive MPA experience at Marxe.
Tell us about your time as an elected official of the City of New York for the Community Education Council of District 4. What were some of the greatest challenges and accomplishments?
In 2016, I had the privilege to serve the families of school district 4. The families of East Harlem put their trust in me to be their voice at the community council for district 4. Initially I had simple goals, I wanted to advocate for families whose schedule did not permit them to be present at their children’s school. After I took function, a greater goal emerged. Community council for district 4 was riven by partisanship. This became my greatest challenge. I had to restore a collaborative work environment so that we can collectively face the numerous challenges facing our district. As a result, we were unable to make decisions that directly impacted our constituents. It took several months of negotiations to finally persuade enough members to make the necessary changes to uphold the oath we all took for the families of district 4.
One of my greatest accomplishments was to have a cohesive group that were invested in betterment of the district.
You have some distinct connections to the country of Mali. Can you talk a bit about your work there and what’s going in in the country currently?
In July 2013, I was invited by the youth organization La Voix du Peuple” LVP as its chief strategist to help elect president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK). Our effective strategies led to a broader coordination with then candidate IBK’s party Rally for Mali and amplify youth involvement considering that IBK was already eyeing a generational change in Malian politics and government. The success of the presidential elections, led candidates in our electoral circumscription to contact me and request support for the legislative elections; whereby one of my candidates became speaker of parliament in the sixth legislature.
During his second term, president IBK was faced with recurring growing insecurity in the north and Central of Mali, allegations of corruption and fraudulent legislative elections. These events led to the birth of the M5 movement which set their objective on the resignation of President IBK and his regime as the only sustainable solution to the multidimensional crisis. After several months of civil disobedience, on August 18th 2020, a mutiny overthrew the government. In the eyes of many analyst, this coup could have been avoided had IBK agree to make concessions in order to preserve the Malian democracy. At this moment the faith of the Malian people is uncertain. There were severe severance of ties between Mali and key stakeholder such as the UN Security Council and ECOWAS. This decision by the mutiny will have serious socioeconomic consequences for coming years; as the country also works to implement profound institutional reforms in view to prevent Coup D’états becoming the norm.
What drew you to the Marxe School’s Executive MPA program? What do you feel you’ve learned so far that can be applied to the work you do?
When I was working for Child Welfare Organization Project (CWOP), I was quickly promoted to associate director of the organization. My career goal at that time was to become the executive director of the organization. The board made it clear that without a master’s degree, they could not promote me to lead the organization. I immediately started my search for a master’s program. While looking at the different institutions, 3 things were non-negotiable. First was the in person instruction, second was to not surpass a 2 year commitment and third was affordability. I found all those criteria at the Marxe School. Some of the added benefits I found once I started the program were the advantages of the cohort model and the immediate usage of class material in my work place. One example that stood out to me most was my communication in public context with Professor Lewis. I specifically remember an article called writing an email with military precision that I was able to use at work and reaped the benefits. As a result, I was able to communicate more effectively and precisely with my team. Professor Lewis boosted my confidence and gave me the tools to strengthen my written communication skills.