Real world impact: How can the Master of Public Policy help you lead social change?

A 2012 graduate of the Master of Public Policy (MPP), Alejandra Leal is the national coordinator of the Safe Mobility Coalition, an alliance encompassing 95 civil society organisations that advocate for increased mobility safety in Mexico. She took on this position in her capacity as co-director of Céntrico, a non-profit organisation that implements sustainable mobility projects in Mexico and Latin America. “Every year, 15,000 people die in road crashes in Mexico – most of them are pedestrians, who pose the least risk to other road users. Working for safe mobility is working for social justice,” Alejandra says. 

Coordinating a network of civil society organisations and liaising with public authorities at the local and national levels is not an easy task. It requires a deep understanding of how public organisations work, skills in market analysis and management and the ability to mobilise and create synergies among different actors. In the MPP, students learn those skills through theory and practice, bridging the gap between the study of governance challenges and the successful implementation of policies to address them. They also get to interact with colleagues from all over the world and to have stimulating discussions on a wide range of public policy issues.

“95 civil society organisations put the principles of the Hertie School into practice: promoting public debate, engagement and advocacy to build consensus among all sectors involved in mobility and road safety” says Alejandra.

A game changer: Mexico's first Mobility and Road Safety Law

Thanks to the Safe Mobility Coalition’s advocacy work, Alejandra celebrated her greatest professional success to date: in 2020, Mexico changed its constitution to recognise the human right to safe and sustainable mobility. Two years later, Mexico enacted its first national Mobility and Road Safety Law – a real game changer, says the alumna. “Due to our persistent mobilising of civil society, including the families of victims of road crashes, Mexico introduced a speed limit of 30km/h on secondary and 50km/h on primary streets, prohibited driving with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.25mg/L, made safe vehicles compulsory, and mandated helmets for motorcyclists and the use of child restraint systems in cars,” Alejandra explains. Thanks to her coordination, and the work of everyone at the coalition, the national road safety agenda continues to advance so that no one else dies on the streets due to a preventable crash. 

Alejandra Leal Vallejo is this year’s Hertie School Alumni Achievement Award winner. Looking into the future, she paints a hopeful picture: “The objective is to sustain the collaborative efforts between all sectors - government, civil society, private sector, and academia - towards developing, implementing, and monitoring safe mobility public policies and to guarantee the right to mobility. The law has initiated the process of updating local regulatory frameworks and publishing a National Strategy, and transforming the reality on the streets can only be achieved through a governance approach.”


About the Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy is an interdisciplinary, practice-oriented degree that draws on the tools and insights of economics, political science, sociology, law, public management and organisation, statistics, and data science to enable future leaders to understand complex governance challenges so that they can design and implement innovative and sustainable solutions.

Students can select one of two areas of concentrations: Policy Analysis and Management and Organisation. Regardless of the concentration that you choose, the MPP will enable you to effectively analyse data and complex empirical evidence, design, implement, and evaluate effective policy instruments, and make informed recommendations on actionable solutions to societal challenges.