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I am originally from Orléans Canada – a suburb of the Nation’s Capital: Ottawa. I have two major career goals for my life: (1) to become a university professor/researcher and (2) to become the superintendent of one of Canada’s beautiful National Parks. I started my student career at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. I spent three years in Lindsay graduating as an Ecosystem Management Technician and as a Parks and Forest Recreation Management Technician. Following this, I spent a fourth year in Fleming at their Haliburton, Ontario campus and got a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Adventure Tourism Management. Knowing full-well that this would not be it for me as a student I then applied to the Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. During my studies at Lakehead University I took some Finnish language courses and decided that I should put them to good use by going on exchange there.
I came to the Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in European Forestry to build on the relationships which I had started during an exchange visit as a Bachelor student in 2006. Ever since my first visit to Joensuu I had been searching for an opportunity to return and pursue graduate level studies and the timing was somehow perfect for me. I was particularly interested in the variety of courses which were offered from all of the partner universities and the fact that the program awarded a double degree. The double degree in particular will provide me with an edge over other job applicants once I am back in Canada and searching for PhD positions.
I have worked several jobs in the past from paper boy to liaison officer, to forest firefighter. The latter of those jobs is the one which has steered me towards an academic career. Mother Nature is a formidable force to be reasoned with and wildfire is one of the ways in which she manifests her power over us. Many aspects of forest disturbances interest me, not only the suppression of wildfire, but what effects decades of suppression have had on our forests.In the course of the MScEF I have been able to connect with several people who will be able to help me further develop my career in fire ecology and management.
Although I am leaving Europe this spring, I know that I will be back and I know that the relationships which I have developed within the MScEF program has opened doors for me around the world and will help me further my career and enjoy my private life.
I was in the original batch of MSc EF students. Back in January 2002 12 of us from Spain, the USA, Germany, and the UK met for the first Introductory Course (now known as “Trends in European Forestry”) in Garpenberg in Sweden. In those days the programme was quite different to its current format, including the fact that it only lasted a year.
Dr. David Gritten continued his studies and graduated with a PhD at the University of Eastern Finland. He is currently working for RECOFT, an international NGO that operates in Asia. RECOFT's mission is "To enhance capacities at all levels to assist the people of the Asia-Pacific region in developing community forestry and managing forest resources for optimum social, economic, and environmental benefits."
I was born in Swat; a small district in the northwest of Pakistan that nature granted with enchanting beauty, prolific fields and enthralling mountains. This is probably due to the nature of this valley that got me mesmerized into sceneries, trees and forests, which ultimately brought me to the field of professional forestry. Due to the nature loving tendency, I always wanted to travel abroad, experiencing the diversity in natural landscapes as well as exploring different cultures and learning new languages.
The program M.Sc. European Forestry intrigued me not only because of its up-to-date curricula that prepared the graduates to face the current global challenges, such as the climate change in today’s scenario, but also because of its expeditious plans that I always dreamt of. Because of this program I happened to see the world in terms of travelling, meeting new people and experiencing unique traditions, which, I suppose, are the key elements in one’s personal development. During my Applied Period at IIASA (Austria), I participated in various international workshops and seminars that broadened my professional horizons beyond simple and traditional forestry. Today, I am in very high spirit that I had opted for this course, which proved a milestone in professional career. I simply pay tribute to the organizers and faculty members of participating universities of M.Sc. European Forestry that taught me and my fellows the European Forestry in global context.
“Mr. Muhammad Sohail graduated in 2008 in European Forestry from the University of Joensuu (Finland) and Wageningen University (the Netherlands). After successful graduation, Mr. Sohail remained in the Netherlands doing consulting assignments on carbon forestry and climate change for various companies. Now he works as Coordinator with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan in the area of Program Development mainly on climate change and REDD+ projects”.