By: Angeli Diamante
Angeli with Cristo de la Concordia. This statue is taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil!
I was awarded a Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) fellowship to study Spanish in Bolivia. With Spanish being one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, learning this language will be an asset in my future career. Living in Cochabamba, Bolivia was different from life in New York City. Life moved at a slower and relaxed pace. And the food was wonderful – I definitely recommend eating their salteñas.
Angeli with the guide in Pico Tunari.
Choosing the Maryknoll language learning program was a great choice. The personalized instruction from the professors helped me become better in my weak areas. It was not only language they imparted. Every week we had an hour-long conference where we learned more about the culture and the state of Bolivia. We also had cultural trips which made me appreciate the country beyond its language and tourist spots.
I had the wonderful opportunity to stay with a very hospitable host family who took great care of me during the entire 6 weeks in Cochabamba. Being surrounded by non-English speakers definitely forced me to improve my communication skills in Spanish.
Angeli with her host family.
LISA is a great opportunity and I urge students to apply for it if they can. Not only do you learn a new language, you experience a different culture as well.
By: Sarah Garwood
A bit of respite at the fifteen hundred year old Mar Saba monastery nestled in the Judean desert.
The Fordham University International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program has graciously provided me with funding to further my studies in Arabic language via the Language Immersion Studies Awards (LISA). Having already been acquainted with the fundamentals of the Arabic language between my studies at Fordham as an undergraduate and my study abroad experience in Jordan, I was thrilled to take this opportunity to enhance my linguistic ability in pursuit of professional proficiency. I firmly believe that there is no better way to truly master a language than immersion, forcing yourself to converse in your non-native tongue on a daily basis. In a few weeks, here I have made enormous leaps and bounds in my language ability.
A scenic view of the plains of Northern Israel from the El-Muhraqa Monastery in the heights of Mount Carmel.
I have chosen to do my immersion in two different locations, the West Bank city of Bethlehem and the Druze village of Daliyat El Karmel. For my first month of intensive language learning, I studied at Bethlehem University, spending most of the day in the classroom during week and utilizing my lessons extensively on weekend excursions to nearby cities in the Palestinian Territories. Bethlehem University is a renowned institution with a strong Arabic language department under the auspices of Dr. Moin Halloun, a specialist in Palestinian Arabic. For my second month of language immersion, I embedded myself within a Druze village on Mount Carmel. Living here for a month has provided me with a unique insight into Druze society and familiarized me with the dialectal idiosyncrasies of the Syrian Arabic which is spoken here. Living in a host family setting here where Arabic is exclusively spoken ensures that my learning continues outside the classroom. In-country language learning is particularly important for Arabic as it is a language with regional dialects that differ substantially from the formal Modern Standard Arabic used in professional settings and the media. Consequently, students outside the Arab world can spend years studying a language in their home countries only to find their Arabic nearly useless for conversational purposes on the ground. There are major differences in letter pronunciation, vocabulary, verbs, sentence structure, and grammar that one cannot adjust to without immersion. Immersion has allowed me to hone my speaking and listening skills in practical settings and for realistic purposes.
The campus of Bethlehem University, a former De La Salle Christian Brother’s school turned first West Bank university at the behest of John Paul II’s recognition of the need for higher education in the Palestinian Territories.
Focusing on practical skills such as language learning has become increasingly more important in a world where the global migration level, and consequently cross-cultural contact, is at its highest in decades. The IPED program’s holistic approach to educating development professionals empowers them to handle complex challenges with pragmatic solutions. A key component of these solutions involves communication and linguistic competency. I strongly encourage future IPED students to take on the task, albeit tremendously challenging, of learning another language for professional purposes. Doing so will undoubtedly compliment the other practical skills that the IPED program stands to offer.
By: Jessica Way
The U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security is an annual program dedicated to understanding and analyzing the conceptual challenges of world hunger. It is an initiative funded by USAID in order to bring together and build up future leaders in the area of global food security. This year, the program took place the first two weeks of June on Purdue University’s Campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Jessica Way (‘18) attended along with a cohort of 39 other Borlaug Summer Institute Fellows. The cohort consisted of interdisciplinary PhD and graduate students, with representatives from a diverse range of academic fields; including food scientists, anthropologists, plant breeders, economists, and others. Each participant brought a unique area of expertise to the area of global food security, and all share a passion for finding creative solutions to feeding the world’s hungry in a sustainable way.
During the intensive summit fellows heard from a diverse and talented pool of speakers; including faculty, practitioners, and policy makers. The presentations addressed the biggest challenges associated with global food security, and their possible solutions. Sessions were supplemented by practicums and field trips, where fellows learned about the cutting edge technologies being developed and engaged to address the world’s largest problems.
The most influential part of the program was the opportunity for collaboration among an outstanding group of individuals who all share the same drive to end global hunger. The problems are daunting. Earth’s resources are constantly more constrained, and global population is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050. Climate change and political turmoil provide additional obstacles. Yet, it is encouraging to know that these challenges are taken seriously by a talented group of young “hunger fighters.” One Borlaug Fellow in the conference shared an African proverb that quickly became a Summer Institute Mantra; “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” After spending two weeks with the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute Fellows of 2018, Jessica has no doubt that together the Borlaug Summer Institute Fellows will go far in fighting hunger and promoting global food security.
If you are interested in learning more about the Borlaug Summer Institute visit the website: http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/food/borlaugfellows/summer-institute/ Applications are due in February.
Robyn Emory-Murray IPED ’18
Robyn Emory-Murray (IPED ’18) is a recipient of the 2017 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Mandarin in Xi’an, China. CLS is an eight-week intensive language and cultural immersion program targeted toward students of critical languages as defined by the U.S. Department of State. This fully-funded government program offers students the opportunity to live among the cultures whose languages they are studying while fully integrating themselves into the language itself.
Datong Furong Park lights at night
Robyn with the Terracotta Warriors 兵马俑
Robyn received the award with the help of the Office of Prestigious Fellowships, who assisted her with the lengthy application process. When asked about the application process, she said, “The Office of Prestigious Fellows was invaluable. They helped me frame my thoughts, answers, and attributes in a way that really spoke to the program and its goals.” The application was due in the Fall, and awards were announced in March of the next year.
Robyn at the Kongtong Shan (崆峒山) Bridge to Heaven
Robyn’s goals are to continue to pursue Mandarin in the hopes of using it as she pursues a career in economic and international security studies, specifically centered on the Sino-American relationship.
The reward for the night hike, sunrise from East Peak of Hua Shan
Robyn had the following advice for those interested in the program: “Go all in. There is a pretty intense language pledge and those that stick to it really see amazing results. At the same time, though, don’t stress yourself out. You will have a lot more success if you take care of yourself and remember that learning a new language should also be fun!”
The lights during the Hua Shan (华山) night hike
Robyn on the famous Hua Shan Plank Walk
Robyn is a full-time student in the IPED program and a recipient of the Public Service Assistantship.
From the left: Dr. Schwalbenberg, the Permanent Observer to the Holy See Mission to the United Nations Archbishop Auza, Ms. Elizabeth Pfifer, President of Fordham University Father McShane, and Vice President of Catholic Relief Services David Palasits.
On March 8th, Fordham IPED had the honor of hosting the Swanstrom-Baerwald Award Ceremony on Rose Hill Campus. In conjunction with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Fordham awarded Elizabeth “Liz” Pfifer the prestigious award in honor of her selfless dedication to her relief and development work throughout Africa. For a full synopsis of the ceremony and Ms. Pfifer’s accomplishments, please follow this link to the Fordham News article covering the event.
The full auditorium there to celebrate Ms. Pfifer’s accomplishments
The award on the table during Father McShane’s speech praising the work Ms. Pfifer has done
Dr. Schwalbenberg introducing the award and our distinguished awardee.
IPED in attendance
Later in the evening there were two more awards presented to Mr. Osvaldo Hernandez and Ms. Lois Harr. Mr. Hernandez was awarded the Cardinal McCarrick Fellowship Travel Award, honoring the Cardinal’s work with CRS on behalf of peace and development. The fellowship will enable Mr. Hernandez to visit Fordham IPED graduate students completing field assignments with CRS in Africa so that he can experience first-hand the official international humanitarian work of the American Catholic community.
Mr. Hernandez receiving the Cardinal McCarrick Travel Fellowship Award
Ms. Harr was presented the John F. Hurley S.J. Commendation, honoring her work promoting the CRS in the United States. Please follow this link to an article covering the award and Ms. Harr’s work.
Ms. Lois Carr receiving her award, the John F. Hurley S.J. Commendation
Of course, it was an IPED event and we found time to have some fun, too.
Kelsey Garcia, IPED ’18 holding the flags of the UN, USA, and Morocco, her country of service in the Peace Corps.
Some of the IPEDers involved in a case of gender imbalance, upon request of Queen Viktoria Brezheniuk (center)