Nipun Ummey Qulsum

Nipun connects Tilburg knowledge and UNICEF

Tilburg Trails 3 min. Aniek Verhoeven

Where are our international alumni now? Did they stay after graduation, return to their home country or did they end up going elsewhere in the world? What did they get out or their studies? Is Tilburg University still on their minds? Where did the path from Tilburg University lead for alumna Nipun Ummey Qulsum from Bangladesh?

Took home from Tilburg
In my backpack

Never say sorry for things you have no control over.

Where are you now?


Graduated on
17 October 2014

Master Victimology and Criminal Justice

Nipun Ummey Qulsum studied at Tilburg University with a scholarship of the University Fund.  After graduation, she moved to Somalia for a job with a non-profit organization where she was able to apply the knowledge gained in Tilburg.  One year later, she returned to Bangladesh, where she now lives in the city of Sylhet together with her husband Tanveer and 4-year old daughter Nefertiti.

When I think of Tilburg University...

Nipun: “The most fantastic part of studying in Tilburg was the support of my classmates and teachers. Being a newcomer from a small South Asian country, it was extremely challenging for me to survive the curriculum. Back in Bangladesh, I had hardly been introduced to the subjects I studied at Tilburg University. All my classmates and teachers were equally willing to help me in understanding the course materials. Eventually I passed the courses with a good score. I am ever grateful to them.”

"I choose to study at Tilburg University because Victimology and Criminal Justice was the newly oriented field then. It was not available in other universities in Europe. Studying at Tilburg University, I think, was one of my keen decisions taken in life so far and I would most certainly recommend it."

I can connect the things I learned at Tilburg University with my work at UNICEF

What is your take-away message from Tilburg University?

"My thesis supervisor, Suzan van der Aa, once advised me to never say sorry for things you have no control over. It’s still working in my life although the culture of my country hardly approves of it. However, I still believe in that statement. Study wise I learned to look at the bigger picture without losing sight of the details. It’s the same in my approach to life. I try to keep details of everything so that I can manage any situation. I also learned to document well which is still helping me to be meticulous in my daily life."

"I have a good sense of humor but it has become more sophisticated, so people get a more tactful impression of me. I think I learned that from my life in the Netherlands."

Nipun Ummey Qulsum

What are you doing now?

“At this moment, I am a proud staff member of UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund). I have been working at UNICEF since February 2017. My role is to coordinate Emergency preparedness and response-related activities here in Sylhet division, where I am posted. I also take care of the activities getting implemented in urban areas of Sylhet division. Most of my daily work is to coordinate the roles of the various partners. A specific document which I work on is UNICEF’s divisional level Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, its contingency plan for natural disasters (i.e., floods and earthquakes) and capacity-building of partners to keep up the emergency preparedness of Sylhet division.”

Combining Tilburg knowledge with experience in the field

“Working for the UN was always my dream. I have worked in the field of child development since 2007. My career started working with Save the Children. Later with Child Helpline International, BRAC and Islamic Relief Worldwide, which incorporated 14 years of attachment with the developing world. All these jobs equipped me with the necessary knowledge on victimization of children and their caregivers, which was strengthened through my education at Tilburg University. I learned about the details of such victimization, its historical background, causes, and effects, its impact in every stage of life and how one can overcome the trauma of being victimized by bringing positive changes. Now being a staff member at UNICEF, I can connect the things I learned at university with my work at UNICEF. I know the laws and regulations, international treaties, and the tricks of applying them, having learned from examples in other parts of the world. All this has ignited my desire to learn more by doing what I believe I am in being part of UNICEF. My latest achievement is that I am a globally enlisted trainer of ‘Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action’ that form the core UNICEF’s policy and framework for humanitarian action and constitute required knowledge for all UNICEF personnel.” 

Nipun’s footprints at Tilburg University

"My passion to study in a foreign country and even being away from my family was always appreciated by my university teachers. I was devoted to learning the details of the study material since I was not that familiar with the subjects. They tried their level best to bring me on the same page by overcoming the barrier of gaps in my knowledge."

"I used to make bus tours every now and then which helped me to learn about the country and its people. My classmates were always amused seeing me getting introduced to Dutch culture in that way, but I recommend it to all newcomers."