Manea is using the skills she gained from the Persuasive Writing Credential program to continue producing policy research on climate change and security.
Headshot of Dr. Gabriela Manea
Dr. Gabriela Manea

Dr. Gabriela Manea was born in a small town with medieval origins in southern Romania during the Communist reign. At 14, she was set to take her first major exam to be accepted to high school when the Communist Party was dissolved.

“This new political landscape, combined with my new educational opportunities, encouraged me to want to learn about languages, politics, and international relations.”

After high school, Manea pursued those educational opportunities at the University of Bucharest, earning an undergraduate degree in political science in an international program conducted in French. “This program was my first exposure to Western politics, and I wanted to use the information I learned to support a democratic party in the new political landscape. I took a position in the Media and PR Office for the National Peasant Christian Democratic Party and learned a great deal about politics and the dynamics of the Romanian political system. This experience inspired me to build up a career in public policy, and I subsequently transitioned to a civil servant career at the National Agency for Regional Development. However, after about two years I realized that the role was not exactly what I wanted, so I decided to go back to school.”

Manea then pursued a master’s degree in social sciences through the Global Studies Programme at Albert Ludwig University Freiburg in Germany and the Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. There, she underwent an interdisciplinary study of social science and politics with a focus on globalization.

“Academics and empirics were exciting to me,” Manea said, “especially because of the influence the Communist regime had on my early life.” She decided to pursue a PhD in political science at Albert Ludwig University Freiburg to complete her academic journey, culminating in her dissertation, “The Constitution of Collective Identities and Interregional Human Rights Norms Diffusion: Analyzing Human Rights Interaction and Discourses in EU-ASEAN [European Union-Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Relations and the ASEM [Asia-Europe Meeting] Process.” After this, Manea became a post-doctorate lecturer in international politics.

However, due to the challenge of becoming a full-time professor in Germany—there is no traditional tenure track—Manea decided to pursue an opportunity as a Principal Program Manager in the Policy and Research Department at DCAF–Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance.

At DCAF, Manea is an editor for an internal publication and explores global security and strategies of engagement. “In my editorial role, I engage with colleagues in policy implementation and help create a generalized knowledge base to inform their work. In my other role, I work on international policy focusing on sustainable development, security, and peacebuilding.” She also works to increase awareness at DCAF about climate change and continues to produce research and promote the importance of sustainability.

Manea said much of the work she does at DCAF has direct policy implications—and that led her to the Persuasive Writing Credential (PWC) at Harris. “Policy was a field where I felt like I could increase my knowledge, and I wanted more than just a short workshop; I wanted to learn from professionals about what it means to ‘do’ public policy and how to write it to make change. This is what the PWC was able to offer.

“The PWC opened my eyes to things I wasn’t thinking about before when dealing with policy. I became equipped with new ways of looking at policy questions and a more operational, systematic way of developing recommendations more similar to empirical research.”

Manea plans to bring the skills she developed in the PWC back to her position and research at DCAF. “The program gave me the tools to feel more confident in my current position. I still use what I have learned from my background in academia, but I apply it to new frameworks. This benefits not only me, but also my current organization and future research in international politics and climate security.”