Category Archives: IPED Fellowships

Language Immersion Study Award: Armand Aquino, Katie McCann, Jackie Yap – France

Summer Shenanigans
Three  IPED students – Armand Aquino, Katie McCann, and Jackie Yap – spent their summer in France for an intensive French language study and cultural immersion with an Alliance Française Institution. Armand was in Toulouse; Katie was in Bordeaux; and Jackie began in Toulouse then continued on to Lyon.
Armand and Jackie were recipients of the 2016 Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) while Katie is an Arrupe Fellow who decided to use her summer grant from her fellowship to pursue French language study. French language study is part of their professional development to further their careers in international development.

Learning French at an Alliance Française Institution in France is a great opportunity because of the diversity of its students. Aside from the structured lectures, Alliance Française organizes a number of activities for its students so they can immerse themselves into the French culture. Such activities include guided tours of museums and the city, “art” hunting, and cheese (and wine) tasting (this is France, after all).

In addition, Alliance Francaise arranges homestays for the students which enables them to continue speaking in French even at home.
Armand and Katie shared that the summer experience has also been great opportunity for them to expand their network in the international development space. Both have met people working in international organizations such as the International Red Cross and World Food Programme who like them are studying French for their own professional development.
When asked for advice to students considering a language study for the summer, Jackie said that “If you are just starting out in the language, I encourage you to take advantage of the language class (audit) at Fordham. It helped me learn the basics and allowed me to be more confident in practicing the language. Also, do not be afraid to practice and make mistakes. Many, if not everyone, appreciate the fact that you are trying to learn French.”

Armand in Toulouse, France

Armand in Toulouse, France

Jackie gives a two-thumbs up to the French Cuisine even though she accidentally ordered frog legs despite the waiter’s attempt to translate what “grenouille” means.

Jackie gives a two-thumbs up to the French Cuisine even though she accidentally ordered frog legs despite the waiter’s attempt to translate what “grenouille” means.

Katie in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Katie in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Katie, Jackie, and Armand showing their IPED pride at Lourdes, France

Katie, Jackie, and Armand showing their IPED pride at Lourdes, France

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IPED Summer Blog: Entrepreneurship in Latin America – Daina Ruback

I had two goals for the summer before my last semester with IPED: to practice my Spanish, and to gain on-the-ground work experience outside of the US and in my chosen field of small business and entrepreneurship development.  So last fall, as Dr. S tasked us to formulate proposals for summer endeavors in our Project Management course, I sent a quick email to some former colleagues with whom I managed a women’s entrepreneurship working group at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). My task was simple: “Can you keep an eye out for any potential opportunities for projects/internships in women’s entrepreneurship in Latin America and pass them my way?”

The next May, I was on my way to Guatemala to attend a workshop on women’s entrepreneurship.I was invited to develop a policy paper on creating holistic women’s entrepreneurship training programs in developing countries. After the initial 3 days in Guatemala, I spent 6 weeks in Mexico City with Value for Women and ANDE (with support from Oxfam’s Women in Small Enterprise Program), meeting with stakeholders, conducting research, and writing a policy paper that focuses on autonomous decision-making of women business owners and appropriate ways to include men in women’s entrepreneurship initiatives.  


Hanging with some of my coworkers. Nah, I didn’t take any photos at work since I was mostly based out of a shared space in Mexico City, so here’s a shot from Diego Rivera’s studio museum.

Concurrently, I applied to be part of a research and evaluation consortium with Emory University. In February, I was selected to be part of a group of graduate students to help Emory carry out research with TechnoServe Inc., a non-profit organization with entrepreneurial accelerator programs in four Central American countries (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). The ultimate goal of this research is to see what works with accelerator programs for developing country entrepreneurs: what types of services and trainings are most valuable, and what broader macro socioeconomic factors impact an entrepreneur’s success.

During the two weeks spent in Central America, our group from Emory interviewed dozens of TechnoServe entrepreneurs, advisors, and sector experts in Nicaragua and El Salvador. These interviews were truly the highlight of my summer. For example, in Nicaragua, we interviewed Karen Tijerino, founder of Cerveza Artesanal Pinolera, one of the country’s six craft breweries. Karen founded the company last year and has been leading Nicaragua’s burgeoning craft beer industry as the only woman brewer (with an all woman staff) and one of the only native Nicaraguan brewers.  In a small town in northern Nicaragua, we spoke with Leana Gámez- who transformed her grandmother’s small, home-based bakery into a sought-after brand available in almost all of western Nicaragua- and ate a lot of delicious, carb-y treats.

Enjoying the new craft beer scene in Managua

Enjoying the new craft beer scene in Managua

 Emory research team and Leana Gámez, Bakery owner and TechnoServe Entrepreneur

Emory research team and Leana Gámez, Bakery owner and TechnoServe Entrepreneur

 Owner of NicaTextil shows us around his clothing and uniform manufacturing shop

Owner of NicaTextil shows us around his clothing and uniform manufacturing shop

TechnoServe’s program in El Salvador has a specific focus on women entrepreneurs, and we were able to speak with nine of the over 60 amazing ladies who participated in the program this past year. Businesses ranged from a beauty product supplier, to a children’s furniture producer, to a veterinarian whose business sees over 1000 animals every month (and has a really adorable Facebook page)! We were also shuttled around the city by the fabulous Linea Rosa, a taxi company founded by a TechnoServe entrepreneur in San Salvador, driven by women, providing safe transportation for women passengers.

An exciting part about this project is the broad reach we hope these interview findings will have. I’ll be participating in a session to present this research at the SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) Conference in San Francisco in September and am thrilled to share what we have learned with other accelerators and entrepreneurs. I’ll also be happy to share the final reports from both projects with any interested IPEDers!

As an Arrupe Fellow, I was really lucky to have the flexibility in my summer funding to create a program that fit my personal and professional goals.  It was also a perfect opportunity to apply so much of what I had learned over the past year of IPED to real world international development projects. I’m now looking forward to using the learnings from this summer throughout my last semester.

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Council on Foreign Relations: African Policy Studies Intern – Nathan Birhanu

Over the 2016 summer, I interned at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) within the Africa Studies Program. CFR is one of the primer think tanks in the world that promotes better understanding and independent research regarding foreign policy that affects not only the United States but countries across the world. CFR accomplishes this in three manners: as a membership organization, publisher, and think tank. CFR has nearly 5,000 members and 170 corporate members that it helps bring together via influential forums. CFR also publishes information through various avenues, with the prominent publication being Foreign Affairs, a leading magazine on foreign policy and global affairs. Finally, as think tank, CFR has nearly seventy fellows that research, write, and analyze leading global issues across various regions and sectors.


Nathan attends a roundtable discussion at CFR.


I was fortunate enough to work under Ambassador John Campbell, the senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies. During my time working with Ambassador Campbell and his research associate, I worked to support the Africa studies department by editing and drafting publications, gathering research on policy issues, and completing administrative tasks. As an intern, I was encouraged to write independent research pieces that were relevant with my academic and professional experiences to be published on the Africa studies blog. I was able to publish online on topics related to Ethiopia and Eritrea security issues, Africa and China relations, and challenges people with albinism face in Southern and Eastern Africa. Interns also have access to general meetings and roundtable discussions with prominent experts speaking on contemporary global issues.

Nathan and Allen Grane, research associate, pose with Ambassador Campbell’s new book, Morning in South Africa, which is used in IPED’s South Africa course.

Nathan and Allen Grane, research associate, pose with Ambassador Campbell’s new book, Morning in South Africa, which is used in IPED’s South Africa course.


The exposure I had while at CFR has contributed tremendously to my goal of eventually working on the African continent, be it in economics, business development, or international relations. It also provided me the opportunity to utilize the knowledge I gained in my course studies in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) at Fordham University and five years working in sub-Saharan Africa. More importantly, my CFR internship was made possible because of the Summer IPED Fellowship I was graciously awarded. Because of the fellowship, I was able to completely immerse myself at CFR and participate fully in the research, events, and work.

Nathan and Allen Grane, research associate, pose with Ambassador Campbell’s new book, Morning in South Africa, which is used in IPED’s South Africa course.

President of CFR Richard Haass (left) discusses Ambassadors Campbell’s (right) new book, Morning in South Africa, and political and economic affairs in South Africa.


IPED has a strong relationship with CFR and sends interns to the various departments. Applying online to African Policy Studies, the Center for Preventative Action, or other internships that align with one’s experience is the best way to gain an internship at the institution, as it is meritocratic and selective based on academic and professional experience.


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Fordham IPED Director Visits Students in West Africa


Prof. Henry Schwalbenberg (right) and Mr. Randy Schwab (left) in Diourbel, Senegal

From May 18 to June 3, Fordham IPED Director Prof. Henry Schwalbenberg travelled to West Africa to visit students currently completing their internships with the Catholic Relief Services. Richie Koch, Elizabeth Shaw, Camille Tacastacas and Joshua Voges, this year’s International Peace and Development Travel Scholars, have been working with CRS’s country offices in West Africa since January 2016. Prof. Schwalbenberg traveled with Randy Schwab, the 2016 Cardinal McCarrick Travel Fellow from St. Joseph Seminary in New York. Read on to learn more about Prof. Schwalbenberg’s travel.


I began my travel outside New York on May 12. My first stop was in Rome to attend the annual meeting of the Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice at the Vatican. Pope Francis graciously decided to take the time to individually greet every participant attending the conference.


I was joined in Rome by Randy Schwab, this year’s Cardinal McCarrick Travel Fellow. From Rome we travelled through Morocco to  Senegal, our first stop for our CRS site visit. In Senegal, we visited Josh Voges who works as a Program Quality and Growth Fellow.  I was able to meet with the CRS Senegal staff on my first day in Dakar. The next day, the CRS team brought me to their sub office in Diourbel to visit their program activities.  CRS is assisting a local NGO in their efforts to provide universal access to health facilities through a health insurance model based on community run savings and lending associations.  On the following day in Dakar we were able to visit the orphanage of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary.


Josh facilitating a community meeting in Diourbel, Senegal.


Randy with some of the children.



CRS Team in Diourbel, Senegal.

After Senegal, my next stop was Freetown, Seirra Leone to see Camille Tacastacas. Since January, Camille has been involved with the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition and Infant and Young Child Feeding Program which is part of Sierra Leone’s government’s post Ebola crisis response.  After meeting with the representatives from CRS Sierra Leone country office in Freetown, we travelled to Mekeni and then on to Kabala to check on CRS’s programs in those areas.  We primarily focused on their Food for Education Program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. 

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Camille during our site visit in Kabala.

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The Sinkunia I school outside of Kabala.

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The CRS Food Warehouse in Kabala.

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Camille with the students.

My last stop in West Africa was Mali. We have two students currently interning with CRS Mali, Richie Koch and Beth Shaw.  Due to security concerns, my visit to Mali was restricted to Bamako, Mali’s capital, where CRS’s head office in the country is located.  The CRS Mali team briefed me about their operations and existing programs they have in the country. Richie is largely involved with flooding vulnerability assessment, while Beth has been working on proposal writing for rapid needs assessment and funding for emergencies. Aside from visiting the CRS office, and some sites around the city, Beth and Richie also took me to the Timbouctou Manuscript Project where we were able to see manuscripts from the 12th century.


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Beth and Richie outside the CRS Office in Bamako.

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At the Timbouctou Manuscript Project Archives.

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Outside the Bamako Museum.

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The Bamako Rail Station build in 1924.

More information about the work that Richie, Beth, Camille and Josh do for CRS can be found from the video below and from this summer’s edition of Beyond Borders.

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Three IPED Graduates selected for CRS International Development Fellows Program

3 crs fellows

Three recent Fordham IPED graduates were selected for the Catholic Relief ServicesInternational Development Fellows Program (CRS IDFP) for 2016. Camille Tacastacas, Veronica Muoio, and Josh Voges (IPED 2016) were among the roughly 25 fellows selected from hundreds of applicants for this year’s IDFP. The IDFP is a year-long program that provides a fast-track for people interested in careers in international relief and development via experience working in CRS’ programs overseas.


Joshua Voges

Josh was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As an Arrupe Fellow in the Fordham IPED program, he interned with the UNDP Equator Initiative.  Josh is currently interning with CRS’ office in Senegal, where he serves as Program Quality and Growth Fellow.


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Pictured here in the Philippines, Veronica served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan. She joined Fordham IPED on a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship and interned with the Fordham Road Business Improvement District. Veronica currently works with the United Nation’s Development Programme’s Gender Team.


Camille was Jesuit Volunteer from the Philippines, and joined the Fordham IPED program on a Presidential Scholarship. Camille is currently interning with CRS Sierra Leone, where she assists in their Infant and Young Child Feeding and Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition Program.

Veronica has received an offer to join CRS’ office in Lebanon, Camille in CRS Malawi, and Josh in CRS Rwanda. Their deployment to these country offices is set to begin in August.

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