Nelia Lagura-Prieto

MA graduate Nelia Lagura-Prieto talks about her experience of studying a Masters in Corruption and Governance and how it has equipped her with the tools to help her in her quest for a more effective anti-corruption regime.

Why did you choose your course?

As an environmental lawyer, I discovered how corrupt government officials were enabling the illegal, unsustainable and unjust utilisation and extraction of natural resources in the Philippines. Idealistic hope directed me towards the Office of the Ombudsman, the constitutionally mandated anti-corruption body of the Republic of the Philippines. My hope was that this organisation would address corruption-aided environmental abuse through sanctions and prosecutions.

During my first years as Corruption Investigator and Prosecutor, it became apparent that while administrative punishments and criminal prosecutions of corrupt officials have positive contributions to the fight against corruption, they seemed to have very limited impact upon what appears to be systemic corruption in the country.

What made you apply to Sussex?

My search for clear and defensible answers led me to the University of Sussex for three reasons: firstly, I have always wanted to do my masters in the United Kingdom which is known for its high education standards; secondly, the course at Sussex offered a wide range of subjects and dedicated expert professors; and thirdly, the University environment offered opportunities for establishing connections with people from other countries and disciplines.

What has been your experience of the University so far?

Studying a Masters in Corruption and Governance at the University of Sussex is both challenging and rewarding. It has been a long time since I studied my law degree and the different style of teaching and assessments has not been easy to grasp. However with the help of supportive, inspiring and expert professors who are always ready to give assistance, the big and well-equipped library, and the always ready to assist administrative team, I have been able to make the necessary adjustments and achieve what I came here for. 

How has your Masters at Sussex helped you develop?

I have learnt about the different aspects of corruption that I never thought existed before I came to the University. I now understand the extent of the problem, the grave challenges the fight faces every day, the arduous processes that come with efforts to curb corruption, and how in most cases the efforts were unsuccessful. The course structure and teaching, the administrative support, and the professors gave me hope that while the cause is a very difficult one, corruption can actually be effectively addressed and should be addressed.

What are your future plans?

Through the guidance of my professors, and the very accessible support staff and facilities, I learned and gained more than I hoped I would. With a Masters degree in Corruption and Governance from the University of Sussex, I am confident that I have the necessary tools, knowledge and connections to help me in my quest for a more effective anti-corruption regime.