While an undergrad studying political science at Cairo University, Mahmoud Elsayed explored how to pursue his deep interest in improving education and labor outcomes throughout the developing world. His passion eventually brought him to Georgia State University for his advanced degrees and will lead him to the World Bank as a Young Professional this fall.
“I’m most interested in studying how government policies shape people’s schooling and labor market decisions and how to improve the work of government in areas such as education and health,” he said. “So I decided to apply for a public management and policy degree program at GSU.”
He joined the Master of Public Policy program in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, a partner with Cairo University, in 2012. Nearly six years later with a Ph.D. in Public Policy, he joins his wife Fatma Romeh Ali, who earned a Ph.D. in Economics in 2016, as an Andrew Young School alum.
Elsayed and his family will soon move to Washington, D.C., and the World Bank. His acceptance into the Young Professionals Program is an honor achieved by only 40 to 50 applicants out of thousands every year. He will undergo two additional years of training in D.C., then work with governments across the developing world.
“I grew up in a very small village in Egypt with less than 2,000 people. From a young age, my parents planted in me the idea that ‘education will help you achieve whatever you aspire to achieve.’” Having experienced that goal, Elsayed believes he has a lot to give back.
“Egypt, for example, has a large segment of the population that does not have a formal education. The government has a big responsibility to ensure that these people, and their children, have access to a quality education and a better health care,” he said. “For many people in Egypt, especially those from disadvantaged communities, education is a ladder that helps them move up in society.”
As it successfully educates more students, Egypt must deal with another big issue: how to deal with a large pool of people who finish college and do not have jobs or are underemployed, he said.
“Young people represent the largest share of the population in Egypt. More than 60 percent of the population is under 30. They are very well-educated compared to their parents. The problem, however, is that many of them are either unemployed or do not have access to jobs that match their skills.”
Elsayed hopes to continue to evaluate and advance labor market and education policies as he goes forward in his career. “My big question is, do these policies and programs work? And if not, what should be done to fix them?”