Allan Michel Jales Coutinho
As a native of Natal, Brazil, I faced responsibilities not normally assumed by a child – having to combine work with my studies in order to help supplement my family’s income. Growing up with few assets and in a region of extreme inequality, I became passionate about social justice, education and public service.
Despite these initial challenges, I was fortunate to be able to enroll in one of the best public government-sponsored technical schools in the country and attained proficiency in English. I also became involved with social movements and volunteered for several non-profits. In the course of four years, I developed educational projects for children and at-risk youth.
Due to my leadership experience, community involvement and academic achievement, I was selected from a pool of 6,000 Brazilian students by the U.S. Dept.of State to become a Brazilian Youth Ambassador. In the same year, I received several additional honors from other institutions in Brazil and abroad.
All of these experiences served to strengthen my desire to work in the public sphere. I truly enjoyed advocating for governmental and non-profit initiatives. In 2012, I was offered Green Mountain College’s Make-a-Difference full scholarship which initiated my studies in the interdisciplinary field of International Development. As a student, I coordinated several community projects for UNICEF, Model UN, and other non-profits. In my junior year, I was selected by the Japanese Ministry of Education to become a JASSO scholar and further my studies in the field of Development at Nagoya University, a top Japanese National School.
I am enthusiastic about the prospect of continuing my education with the hope that it will provide me with the tools to create positive change and inspire political support for educational reform in Brazil and abroad. I am committed to making a difference and creating sustainable public policies in the field of education that will better serve the children of the future.