Carlos Baeta ’18 at United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Office

By: Carlos Baeta ’18

During the Spring 2018 semester, I interned at the United Nation’s Department of Social Affairs within the E-Government division. During my internship, I was under the supervision of IPED alumnus and former Matteo Ricci scholar Deniz Susar ’08.

As an intern, my tasks included data analysis, research and report writing relating to some key deliverables within the office. The most salient project I worked on was the 2018 E-government survey, which will be published later this year. The E-government survey is important insofar as it highlights the importance of a government’s ability to leverage existing technologies to provide key services to their constituencies. Put differently, it analyzes how governments in the UN’s 193 member states use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) to ensure sustainable development.

To this extent, it would be remiss of me not to mention how important IPED was in ensuring that I was able to maximize my experience at the United Nations. Firstly, the research methodology and analysis that I conducted on the E-government survey was similar to Dr. Schwalbenberg’s Foreign Aid and Development class. Given this, my experience working on the Fordham Francis Index (FFI) allowed me to understand the E-Government Development Index and its component parts from day one. Secondly, the Applied Econometrics class and my background in management consulting assisted in analyzing and presenting the data in creative ways. Finally, I believe that the extensive writing courses that we took as well as the robust feedback that we get from the professors improved my research and writing ability respectively.

In conclusion, I would recommend current and future IPED students to leverage Fordham’s proximity to the UN as a means of getting international experience that complements the coursework. Furthermore, I believe it prudent to use the IPED directory and alumni networks during the application process. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that IPED provides all of its students with the tools necessary for becoming economic researchers or public servants after graduation. The UNDESA is an opportunity that I would highly recommend to compliment your academic experience.

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Gurpreet Singh ’19 at Chhaya CDC

Gurpreet Singh ’19 currently works at Chhaya CDC in Queens NY. Chhaya CDC is a local non-profit organization that advocates for the housing and economic development needs of New York City’s South Asian community. It’s mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Gurpreet works alongside IPED alumnus William Spisak ’13.

Gurpreet leads Chhaya’s Asset Building program to target South Asian immigrants and other marginalized communities in New York City to promote economic independence and financial stability, as well as contribute to the organization’s programmatic vision, and growth for the community. Gurpreet runs the organization’s Peer Lending Circle, a microfinance program that helps new immigrants establish credit and savings in the United States. In addition to the lending circle, Gurpreet coordinates Chhaya’s English classes and assists in its emerging small business initiative, where the goal is to preserve small businesses in New York City.

Gurpreet is a lifelong resident of New York City and is excited to continue his education at Fordham. He is Matteo Ricci fellow and is expected to graduate in the summer of 2019.

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International Project: The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago

By: Robyn Emory Murray ’18

The Fordham delegation leaving on their first day of the Camino

Last month, three IPED students were invited to join the International Project on “The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago: Harnessing the power of tourism to promote cross-cultural dialogue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Benjamin Boltz (IPED ’19), Owen Fitzgerald (IPED ’18), Robyn Emory Murray (IPED ’18), and Evan Soloman (M.A., Ethics and Society), were chosen by Dr. Melissa Labonte to participate in the program, which consisted of three phases: online learning modules, walking the Camino de Santiago, and the concluding forum.

IPED students with Provost Freedman

The focus of the program, organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Helsinki España University Network, and the Compostela Group of Universities, was to reflect on human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the value of tourism in achieving those goals. “Walking the Camino was incredible. The idea that people had been walking to Santiago de Compostela for hundreds of years along the routes that we were taking created this tangible connection with history and, for me, Christianity what I had never experienced before.” – Robyn Emory Murray

Owen, Evan, Robyn, and Axelle (KU Leuven) arrive in Santiago de Compostela

Student Owen Fitzgerald ’18 reflects: “Ultimately, this initiative helped me to garner broader knowledge of these rights that are intrinsic to all human beings and to gain a deeper understanding of the impact cross-cultural dialogue can have, especially in the context of tourism. For me, each of the 81 miles hiked served as an opportunity to reflect on these topics with other impassioned students – together on the same journey toward ensuring a more free and peaceful world.”

Countryside in Galicia, Spain

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Enrico La Viña ’19 Presented Research in Chicago

By: Enrico Antonio La Viña ’19

On 6 April 2018, I presented a poster on my research entitled “­­The Varieties of Populism in Southeast Asia: Comparing the Electoral Victories of Duterte and Widodo” at the annual Midwestern Political Science Association (MPSA) conference in Chicago. MPSA is a four-day academic conference, and it is one of the largest political science conferences in the world. The poster presentation was based on a paper that I wrote for my Comparative Political Analysis class under Dr. Ida Bastiaens.

Enrico presented his research on Southeast Asian Populism.

In my paper, I account for the differences in the populist practices of Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. I argue that the level of confidence that voters have in the established democratic system is linked with the kind of populism that will emerge. An anti -establishment populist such as Duterte is more likely to succeed if citizens have become disillusioned with the system. Conversely, a relatively reformist populist such as Widodo is more likely to be elected if there is enough trust in the system. This paper addresses two gaps in the literature on populism. First, the populists of Asia do not neatly fit into the right-wing/left-wing populist typology. Second, most often cited explanations for populism– socio-economic inequality and cultural backlash– do not explain the variation in campaign promises regarding a revolt or reform of the system.

Enrico presented at the 76th Annual MPSA Conference.

This conference contributed in three ways to my professional development. First, I hope to eventually publish this study in an academic journal. The feedback I received will be of immense value as I prepare this study for publication. Second, I observed and interacted with prominent political scientists from around the world. I was therefore able to attend insightful presentations, understand recent developments in the field, and expand my network. Lastly, the experience of preparing for and delivering a presentation at a high-level conference will be invaluable in the future.

Attending this conference so early on in my academic career will certainly pay dividends in the long-run. I was honored to represent the FordhamInternational Political Economy and Development Program in the conference.

Enrico stands with the poster he presented in Chicago.

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