Leonardo Palumbo graduated from Montclair State University in 2008 now works in advocacy and humanitarian affairs in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for Médecins Sans Frontières – Holland. He also served as a Senior Policy Coordinator for Eurohealthnet in Brussels. Majoring in French Civilization, he completed a double minor in Italian and International Studies. He also received an MA in Migration Studies at Kent University in 2009.
Here is what he had to say about the Montclair experience in a message from 2015:
“I studied at Montclair along with both of my brothers. As a student, I took advantage of the campus activities, clubs, and opportunities, and was lucky enough to study abroad in Nice and Chambery over the summer. Before graduating, I also had the opportunity to do an internship at the International Institute of New Jersey working with French speaking asylum speakers. After graduating, I left to complete my Masters degree in Brussels – the capital of Europe. Studying in Brussels helped me build the research and analytical skills that I developed at Montclair State. In this Northern European city, I also had the opportunity to (re)connect with my Italian roots – I quickly got involved in the Italian community and had the opportunity to meet family in different parts of Europe.
Upon completion of my Masters, with merit, I worked in a migrants’ rights organization, a NGO working in the field of public health, and a network of public authorities working on health inequalities. These experiences allowed me to gain insight in to the European Union decision-making process, and the policy design and implementation process. Working for European networks, I have had the opportunity to travel to Germany, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal as well as Taiwan.
Keeping up with the Red Hawk spirit, I became involved in young professional networks, such as Young Ambassador Society in Italy, the Young European Health Forum Gastein, Young European Leadership, and the One Campaign Youth Ambassadors program. Through these experiences, I got to work with Italian students on recommendations for the G8 and present ideas for a sustainable Europe in the European Parliament. Watch this interview (in Italian) by the Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement) about these recommendations.
This year with the One Campaign, I will be travelling to the G7 in Germany and organizing awareness-raising activities on malaria.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to study at Montclair where I had professors who challenged students to think critically and pushed them to excel academically. My research and critical analysis skills serve me well in a fast-paced political environment. My time at Montclair also familiarized me with working in a multi-cultural environment. For students of international relations this is essential, and now I make use of this skill in interactions with decision makers from 28 different member states. I would encourage Montclair students to learn about a new culture and travel as much as they can as students.”