Dr Magnus Abraham-Dukuma

LLM Oil & Gas Law, 2016
From Aberdeen to Climate Change Advisor

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
I chose to study at the University of Aberdeen because of the School's reputation for high-quality education delivery in the domain of energy and natural resources law.

Why did you choose your particular course?
I have always been passionate about understanding how law can be used to govern energy and natural resources in ways that promote the environmental, climate, cultural, social, and economic wellbeing of societies and ensuring better outcomes for current and future generations.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
The striking memorable experiences I can recall are the willingness of academic and non-academic staff at the School of Law to help with any concerns and the facilitative approach to teaching, in a manner that provides ample opportunity for effective hands-on learning.

If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
Three key points from me:

1. Get an excellent understanding of the nature of your programme and its demands early into your study.

2. Set SMART and ambitious goals (e.g., getting a distinction, finishing with publications or publishable papers)

3. Work smart and hard, and try to finish tasks ahead of time for an opportunity to address extenuating circumstances and exigencies.

If while at Aberdeen you benefited from a scholarship, what was the scholarship and what difference did it make to your time at Aberdeen?
I studied at Aberdeen through the International Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship Programme of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (now Total Energies). This scholarship enabled me to complete my LLM study seamlessly, and I am eternally grateful to Total for this memorable experience and life-transforming opportunity.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Senior Associate

What did your first role involve?
General legal practice and advisory services in relation to energy and environmental law issues in Nigeria and beyond the frontiers of Nigeria

Who was your first employer?
Cosmic Chambers

What is your current job title?
Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Change

Who is your current employer?
Gisborne District Council, New Zealand

What is your current role?
Advising government on effective approaches to addressing climate change using suitable mitigation and adaptation measures, and supporting a just and inclusive transition to a low-carbon future.

What is your current location?
New Zealand

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now
I progressed from my first job after my time in Aberdeen to completing a doctoral research on energy and climate governance at the Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law (CEREL), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. My extensive research at CEREL on energy and climate policy generally, and climate change mitigation in the oil and gas industry and how to govern a just transition equipped me with relevant competencies and ideas about how governments can respond to the threats posed by climate change with suitable policy and strategic interventions. And I am happy to be working on an important issue for the good of mankind.

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
Yes, my degree at Aberdeen broadened my horizon about the environmental externalities of carbon-intensive industries, especially the fossil fuel industry, and got me thinking about how to advance my knowledge to be able to provide solutions that cut across countries. It also helped me in honing my research, writing and analytical skills. These skills are helping me contribute to the climate governance literature through research publications and to add value to global climate action today.

One Top Tip

Discover a path of passion and work hard at it with SMART short-term and long-term goals, with persistence and an unquenchable audacity of hope.