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)
Owen Fitzgerald, Therese ‘Tess’ Hart, and Viktoriia Brezheniuk (IPED ‘18) are interning at the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Equator Initiative. The main purpose of the Equator initiative (EI) is to recognize and promote the achievements and innovations of indigenous peoples and local communities. Every two years, the EI announces a global call for nominations for their prestigious award called the Equator Prize. This Prize ultimately serves “to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage.”
Therese “Tess” Hart (IPED ’18)
Owen Fitzgerald (IPED ’18)
Viktoriia Brezheniuk (IPED ’18)
Owen shared his excitement that life is never boring at the UNDP: “Our responsibilities at UNDP’s Equator Initiative are ever-changing!” Upon arrival in September of 2016, Tess and Owen were working on a research project focusing on biodiversity and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They assessed 60 different countries’ National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and teamed up with a few others to produce a publication highlighting their findings.
Now, their attention has been focused mainly on the Equator Prize 2017 with the help of Viktoriia, who joined the team in January 2017. The global call for nominations is being spread far and wide. In March, when nominations are due, the EI team will begin reviewing submissions for this prestigious award, a task our IPEDers will be taking part in.
As Arrupe Fellows, Tess and Owen had an automatic “in” for the position with UNDP. Viktoriia, a Ricci Fellow, was passionate about joining the team as well, so Tess and Owen offered Viktoriia’s resume to their boss and she was also accepted as an intern.
Viktoriia, Tess, and Owen at UNDP
Owen and Tess are full-time students, interning part-time as a requirement for their fellowships. Viktoriia is pursuing her education part-time while interning with UNDP part-time and working with the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham, also part-time.
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
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, Jackie, and Armand showing their IPED pride at Lourdes, France