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Stephanie Swinehart attends the 2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute

Written by Guestblogger:  Stephanie Swinehart, IPED 2019

2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute participants. Stephanie is on the 2nd row (standing row), 8th from the left.

I recently represented Fordham at the 2018 Borlaug Food Security Summer Institute at Purdue University from June 3-16 in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Institute, now in its seventh year, is an annual two-week program for graduate students interested in developing a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security. Discussion topics ranged from genetics & plant breeding, ecology, and funding agricultural research to climate change, pastoralism, and the global challenge of meeting future energy demands. The two-week summit featured presentations from a team of experts in the academic and private sectors including Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize winner; Shenggen Fan, Secretary General of the International Food Policy Research Institute; and Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug, the Institute’s namesake and recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

Stephanie with Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize winner

Stephanie presenting on her research at Fordham and on her work with UNDP


While there, I presented research that I have been conducting with a team at Fordham on pastoralism in East Africa and on my work as a program assistant at the United Nations Development Program in New York City. This opportunity not only allowed students to increase knowledge in new areas, but facilitated unexpected opportunities for collaboration between the social and agricultural sciences. While the challenges to global food security are great and often feel discouraging, the goal of the institute was to empower students with the multidisciplinary tools to be the next generation of changemakers in the field of food security and climate change.

Stephanie with other Institute participants

Millet variety test fields at Purdue University’s research farm


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9th Cohort of Emerging Markets South African Exchange Program Welcomed in New York

Written by guest blogger Carlos Baeta

For the 9th summer in a row, the IPED commons had witnessed a cacophony of activity that directly corresponded with the arrival of 22 African students to our picturesque Rose Hill campus. The students above, have been selected to attend IPED’s flagship advanced certificate in Emerging Markets and Country Risk Analysis program.  This year’s cohort consisted of twenty South African students that included eight top-performing economics students from the University of Pretoria as well as twelve middle management employees from the National Treasury, The South African Reserve Bank, Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), amongst others. What separates this years program, however, is that it has been extended to include two students who are Economics and Finance lecturers at the Catholic University of Ghana in West Africa.


Throughout their six weeks in New York, the 22 students  took two rigorous courses in Strategic Financial Management and Political Risk Analysis. These courses were completed alongside local IPED and Economics graduate students and taught by Professor Rengifo and Entelis respectively. Beyond interacting with Fordham faculty members, the students had the opportunity to engage and network with real business leaders and policymakers through several organized site visits in New York and Washington D.C respectively. These included meetings with large international institutions at the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations and at multinational corporations such as IBM, Bank of America, Merill Lynch and Credit Suisse.

After returning to South Africa,  the students will by joined  by Fordham IPED and Economics graduate students at the beginning of August to complete the third and final Emerging Markets course at the University of Pretoria in South Africa’s capital city.

2018 represents the 9th year in which students from South Africa participated in this dynamic academic and cultural exchange program. The impact of the program is seen from the successes of its alumni. Many have gone on to represent leadership positions in both the public and private sector across Africa and the world soon after receiving their qualification from IPED. They continue to reference their experience in New York as an important experience in  their career development and education.

Carlos Baeta was among the participants of the Emerging Markets South African Exchange Program in 2015.  He later returned to Fordham to complete the  MA IPED (2017) and MA Economics (2018) programs. 

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Mahlatse Ramoroka (IPED 2019) Presents at the 2018 International Journal of Arts and Sciences Conference

Mahlatse Ramoroka (IPED 2019) recently participated in the annual  International Journal of Arts and Sciences (IJAS) conference at Harvard University’s Medical. Held last May 21-25, the conference is an interdiscplinary academic conference which aims to provide opportunities for academics from a range of disciplines and countries to share their research and develop networks.

Mahlatse presented a research paper she authored under the supervision of Professor Idalia Bastiaens of Fordham’s Political Science Department, titled “The Rise of Kleptocracy in Democracies: A Case Study of South Africa”. In this research paper, she explores the possibilities of kleptocracy as a commonly authoritarian phenomenon, finding its way into democracies. The argument presented contends that kleptocracy in a democratic context, articulates the practices of a leadership era and not the identity of the political regime. The case study evidence provided, indicates that South Africa as a unit of analysis, defies the characterization of kleptocracy – which is anchored on the unquestioning obedience of authority and a heavy absence of accountability. Therefore, classifying it as such, has proven to be too great a stretch. The study concludes in the hope that further research within the same area of study will be initiated with Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia as case studies.

Beyond the academic itinerary, the conference included educational tours to Maine which showed spectacular old seafarers’ houses. Overall, Mahlatse considers the experience to have afforded her a great opportunity to learn from other scholars, while also getting feedback on her own work. For the future, she hopes to take on more research projects which seek to impact and shape political discourse.

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Fordham IPED Alumni Networking Night 2018

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

Alumni presenters and IPED professors (L-R) Michael Fajardo ’14, Sahra English ’08, Dr. Jonathan Crystal, Elizabeth Wisman-Strojan ’13, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg

On Thursday, March 8th IPED students and alumni gathered for the annual IPED Alumni Networking Night at Fordham Lincoln Center. After everyone enjoyed some hors d’oeuvre and conversation, three alumni, Michael Fajardo ’14, Elizabeth Wisman-Strojan ’13, and Sahra English ’08, presented on their career paths. Michael Fajardo ’14 is an Investment Analyst at Goldstein Capital Corporation, an investment adviser that manages a mortgage-backed securities focused hedge fund. Michael spoke about his experiences as an international student and then as a professional in the private sector. Elizabeth Wisman-Strojan ’13 is the Director of Government Affairs at the New York Housing Development Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Her work with the University Neighborhood Housing Program in the Bronx as a Fordham IPED Coverdell Fellow influenced her career path in affordable housing. Sahra English ’08 is Vice President of Global Public Policy at MasterCard. She is responsible for leading the company’s global trade agenda and leading international advocacy strategies for trade negotiations.

Fordham IPED students receiving Awards and Placements standing with IPED alumni

Following the alumni presentations, Language Immersion Study Awards, Arrupe Overseas Field Placements, and Public Service Field Placements were awarded to current IPED students. Many thanks to Ms. Donna Odra and everyone who attended the annual Alumni Networking night for making this night a success!

Fordham IPED Class of 2019 Graduate Assistants


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United Nations Career Trip

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

Friday, October 20th, the first year IPED students embarked upon a full day of meetings and events on the United Nations complex in Manhattan, New York. The day started with a visit to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Equator Initiative office. Jamison Ervin, the manager of the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, spoke with the group about the Equator Prize, the New York Declaration on Forests, and why climate justice is integral to development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several Fordham IPED students work at the UNDP Equator Initiative office part time through the Arrupe Fellowship. Students asked questions about development finance, internships, and nature-based solutions for development.

UNDP and Fordham IPED celebrate a robust partnership.

UNDP Jamison Ervin presenting to Fordham IPED students.

After that, the IPED Fordham group headed to the UNICEF office where we were greeted by Liliana Carvajal, Statistics and Monitoring Specialist at UNICEF and 2004 Fordham IPED Alumna. Liliana showed us data on infant and maternal mortality and explained how to use this data to track trends and progress on the SDGs. We also heard from an HR representative to hear more about the application process for potential internships and jobs at UNICEF in New York.

IPED Alumna Liliana Carvajal ’04 at UNICEF.

Fordham IPED students at UNICEF presentation.

Fordham IPED visits UNICEF.

For lunch, we went to the prestigious UN Delegates Dining Room. We shared a meal with our Director, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, as well as current and former Alumni who work at the United Nations.

In the afternoon, we were hosted at the United States Mission to the United Nations by Political Advisor to Ambassador Nikki Haley, Leslie Ordeman. He explained the process of creating and relaying policy briefings to the ambassador and international parties. He also shared about his background and what it looks like to choose the Foreign Service Officer path.

Leslie Ordeman, Political Advisor, speaks with students at the US Mission.

The day concluded with a tour of the United Nations Headquarters. Guides showed us the UN Security Council Chamber, the UN General Assembly Hall, exhibits on the damage of nuclear war, and human rights documents, among other pieces. It was inspiring to be in a place where so much happens. Many of us were inspired throughout the day, seeing our dreams up close and within reach.

UN Security Council Chamber.

Students outside the UN Headquarters.

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