By: Donovan Hotz ’19
As part of my Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship with the Fordham IPED program I work part-time as an intern at University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP). The organization is a community-focused nonprofit corporation first founded in 1983 with support from Fordham University and later from the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. UNHP’s mission is to “create, preserve, and improve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx.” UNHP provides many services from low interest loans to technical assistance to community leaders, groups, and affordable housing managers through organization around and research of the issues that impact housing affordability and community resources.As an intern, my main work has been in managing the Building Indicator Project (BIP) database. The purpose of the BIP is to identify physical and/or financial distresses on multifamily properties in New York City. Each quarter we send out an updated database to subscribers that include financial institutions andcommunity groups. This report allows UNHP to work with lenders, public agencies, foundations, community groups, and banking regulators to improve housing conditions for low-income families. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work at UNHP events like the Financial Resource Fair for Bronx residents and the organization’s free tax preparation services for low-income NYC residents. It has been nice to balance my work on the BIP with working face-to-face with community members. It has even given me the opportunity to keep up with my Spanish!
As most of my experience in community-based work has been during my Peace Corps service in rural communities in Paraguay, working at UNHP has been a quite a contrast in terms of the issues and challenges that low-income families face in the Bronx. It has been great to learn from and work alongside the enthusiastic and dedicated team at UNHP.
Five Fordham IPED students are working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York City. Two of our students, Greg Fischer ’19 and Sarah Garwood ’19, are Arrupe Fellows and have been supporting the UNDP Global Program on Nature for Development since August 2017. Masud Rahman ’19 and Stephanie Swinehart ’19 joined the Nature for Development team this January 2018. Starting this semester, Mariam Tabatadze ’19 supports the UNDP Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support.Greg Fischer ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development. He currently supports the Equator Initiative through work on their e-learning modules, translations of Equator Prize winners’ case studies, and Impact Investing. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program with a concentration in International Development Studies. He completed his undergraduate degree at Augustana College in Secondary Education and History. Prior to working with the UNDP, Greg spent almost five years in São Paulo, Brazil, as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner where he coordinated a social advocacy campaign project for immigration and refugee issues and held a public office position to represent the immigrants in his borough.
Sarah Garwood ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Equator Initiative and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). She is a graduate student at Fordham University studying International Political Economy and Development with a concentration in International Development Studies. Her research on biodiversity experts expands the capacity of UNDP platforms. She also manages communications and social media campaigns for various projects. Prior to working with the UNDP, she spent two years in Belize City, Belize as a Jesuit Volunteer, supporting education and holistic development programs for at-risk youth. She holds a B.B.A. in International Business and Management from Villanova University.
Masud Rahman ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, and he is assisting the team in Equator Initiative and private finance endeavors, focusing extensively on impact investment matchmaking. He is a Fulbright recipient from Bangladesh currently pursuing M.A. in International Political Economy & Development at Fordham University in New York. He completed his undergraduate degree in business administration before focusing on development economics. He has years of experience working in international development, trade and conservation projects largely in developing countries and underprivileged communities. Sustainable cross-border trade policy and alternative financing vehicles are his fields of interest.
Stephanie Swinehart ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and knowledge sharing of strategic programming, including ecosystem services and illegal trade in wildlife. She is a graduate student at Fordham University pursuing an M.A. in International Political Economy & Development. Prior to joining UNDP, she worked in ecological economic research and agricultural consulting and has field experience as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and as an assistant project manager for a food security and microfinance initiative in Malawi. Stephanie holds a B.S.B.A in Business and International Studies from Saint Louis University. Research interests include resource economics with a focus on sustainable agriculture and ocean initiatives.
Mariam Tabatadze ’19 is a Fulbright scholar from Tbilisi, Georgia and an intern at the Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support of the UNDP. Mariam’s work experience as the government counterpart to the UNDP Georgia team on innovation projects enables her to have an in-depth understanding of her current internship. At the Innovation Facility, Mariam helps research cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, to understand their policy implications. Additionally, Mariam assists in monitoring of the projects funded by the Innovation Facility and formulating the stories to be featured in the 2017 Annual Report.
By: Kelly Cannon ’19
I work at the Belmont Business Improvement District (BID) as a part of my Coverdell Fellowship for the Fordham IPED program. The mission of the Belmont BID “is to promote and expand the economic well-being of the business community, and the community at large, by promotion of the “Little Italy in the Bronx” brand, our strong ethnic heritage and leadership in the culinary marketplace, and by leveraging the mercantile, social, political, and cultural assets within and around or community.” My daily tasks as an intern at the Belmont BID vary, but typically my work includes website management, interacting with local business owners, planning community events, and conducting administrative responsibilities. Additionally, I research the neighborhood and gather information on the happenings in the area. “Little Italy in the Bronx” attracts people from all over the world, and the Belmont BID works hard to promote the area and benefit the community.
Kelly Cannon ’19 working at the Belmont Bid Christmas Event.
Building relationships with the local restaurant owners and shopkeepers in the neighborhood where I live is one of the best parts of my internship. It has allowed me to become more familiar with my neighborhood and develop an appreciation for the rich culture and tradition of this century old community. Instead of only interacting with the Fordham students in the area, I now know Ritchie, who sells plants inArthur Avenue Retail Market and Dave who runs the famous Mike’s Deli.
Local business owners contributed their products to the Belmont BID celebration.
Another one of my favorite parts of my internship was participating in the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in December. The evening brought nearly 1,000 members of the Belmont community to Ciccarone Park. Attendees gathered together to listen to Christmas carols, watch the tree lighting, eat Italian cookies, and drink hot chocolate. Santa Claus even came to the event and handed out more than 600 toys to the children of the community. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my experience at the Belmont BID, as it has enabled me to become more integrated into the area where I not only study, but live.
The Belmont BID Christmas Tree Lighting.
Catholic Relief Services has selected three graduate students from Fordham University to participate in the 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program. All three students are graduating from Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development and are being assigned to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and the Philippines.
Starting in January 2018, Ms. Theresa Hart will be working at the CRS Office in Manila in the Philippines. She will be assisting in the monitoring of various developing projects that CRS is sponsoring in Indonesia, Micronesia and in East Timor. Prior to her studies at Fordham, she served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Micronesia. Tess is from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph in Missouri.
After the Christmas break, Mr. Owen Fitzgerald will be heading out to Burkina Faso in West Africa, a very arid nation that faces serious agricultural issues. He will be assisting CRS on promoting both food security and better sanitation through the school system. Prior to his studies at Fordham, Owen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in neighboring Mali. Owen is originally from the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey.
Finally, Ms. Liia Khalikova is being assigned to CRS in Haiti. Haiti has suffered a number of natural disasters in recent years and Liia will be assisting them with their communications strategy. Liia comes from Tartarstan which is part of the Russian Federation. She is studying at Fordham on a Fulbright Fellowship.
While at Fordham these students have specialized in international development as well as in the management and assessment of development projects.
By: Erika Cox
Five IPED students spent the summer of 2017 learning French. Our resident Arrupe Fellows, Owen Fitzgerald and Therese “Tess” Hart, as well as Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) recipients Erika Cox, Margaret “Maggie” Hutchison and Sydney Kornegay attended Alliance Française to partake in a summer long language and cultural immersion.
Aside from offering 3 ½ hour, Monday through Friday intensive courses, Alliance Française provides various cultural and leisure activities to complete the immersion experience. Class sizes are small and the instructors are engaging, great at answering questions and conscious about allowing students to practice their speaking and listening skills. Students also take advantage of home stay services with a French family, ensuring immersion continues at home. To top it off, not only does Alliance Française have schools throughout France, but all over the world, so students can continue their studies regardless of geographic location.
When asked of her experience in Montpellier, Maggie Hutchison said, “There is a lot going on every day with festivals, night life, beaches and hiking opportunities nearby, shopping and many young people.” Yet, all this fun must be navigated in French, “because even the simplest of things like grocery shopping or traveling force you to practice your French skills.”
The cultural and language immersion is also a great way to network with international development professionals and maybe even catch up with old friends. France is incredibly diverse and opportunities abound to interact with people from all over the world. Arrupe Fellow Owen Fitzgerald, who served in Peace Corps Mali and has been playing the drums most of his life, even got to have a reunion concert with his band from Ghana. Miraculously, almost all of the band members happened to be in France for Bastille Day, a national holiday in France.
So, take the plunge and consider learning French with IPED. The summer immersion experience with Alliance Française offers a wealth of learning experiences for all levels. The courses are intensive and the opportunities for immersion are boundless. And while learning a new language isn’t always easy, the group always made sure to have fun while they were at it.