Berhan Hagos hails from the Bay Area by the way of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University where she studied International Comparative Studies, Global Health and minored in Cultural Anthropology. Although Berhan had initially been interested in pursuing medicine, after a summer internship at the Ethiopian Public Health Association, she became focused the practice of public health. While at Duke, her coursework in global health and development informed her fieldwork on the perception of HIV/AIDS stigma in urban communities within Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Furthermore, as an International Comparative Studies major, her region of concentration was the Arab World, which led her to study abroad in both Turkey and Egypt analyzing the geopolitical and economic histories of those nations. In Egypt she worked with an organization that provided services for refugees from across Eastern Africa and Syria. This experience exposed her to the realities of an especially vulnerable community, the challenges refugees faced in access to healthcare and the international policies that governed their movements. She delved deeply into her study of the Arabic language in Cairo, which she continued in Tangier, Morocco through the Critical Language Scholarship program. Prior to her last year at Duke, she worked for a legal counseling and advocacy firm that provided its services to women across the Kilimanjaro region and lobbied for gender rights preceding the referendum of the Tanzanian constitution.
Berhan’s work with various global communities on issues concerning public health, education and gender rights, inspired her interest in completing a yearlong fellowship with Princeton in Africa. She spent her gap year in Gaborone, Botswana where she was a member of the teaching staff at the Maru-a-Pula School. During her fellowship year she has been honing her skills as a public speaker and facilitator as well as indulging in travel across Southern Africa. Berhan is thrilled and eager to return to academia through her pursuit of a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She looks forward to beginning a career of service with USAID as a health officer.