Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fordham’s Beta Mu Chapter of Sigma Iota Rho Honored with Chapter Spotlight Award

Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg and Tyler Falish receive the Chapter Spotlight Award on behalf of Fordham University.

Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg and IPED student Tyler Falish receive the Chapter Spotlight Award on behalf of Fordham University.

On Monday, November 28, representatives from the National Office of Sigma Iota Rho–the Honor Society for International Studies–visited Fordham University. Dr. Frank Plantan, President of Sigma Iota Rho (SIR), and Mark Castillo, Senior Liaison Officer, presented the Chapter Spotlight Award during a luncheon on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.

“The Chapter Spotlight Award is given to the chapter that best exemplifies passion for, engagement with, and academic excellence in international studies. As Sigma Iota Rho was founded to foster and promote these pillars of learning, we are proud to feature those chapters which are models of our vibrant community of over 5,000 members and 160 chapters.”

Fordham University’s Beta Mu Chapter has garnered Sigma Iota Rho’s attention for its noteworthy growth in activity since its rebirth some three years ago. Participation in Beta Mu has nearly tripled in this time. Also of note is the accomplishments of its members. They have won internships ranging from Senatorial offices, humanitarian organizations (Human Rights Watch, Peace Corps, among others), and Global Outreach projects that have enabled them to positively affect international communities. Their promotion of social awareness of international affairs is further demonstrated by support of Sigma Iota Rho’s Journal of International Relations. The chapter was represented in the print edition of the 2016 Journal by Luke Zaro, whose article, “Ottoman Orientalism: A Guiding Principle of Turkish Foreign Policy in the Middle East,” passed a rigorous double-blind peer review. Congratulations to Beta Mu!”

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The stated purpose of SIR is ” to promote and reward scholarship and service among students and practitioners of international studies, international affairs, and global studies and to foster integrity and creative performance in the conduct of world affairs.”

During the luncheon, Dr. Plantan delivered a lecture on opportunities and challenges in the internship and job search for students of international studies. He emphasized the importance of taking initiative, aiming high early, and thinking broadly about the definition of a global opportunity.

Fordham University’s Beta Mu Chapter will begin recruiting 2016/2017 inductees to Sigma Iota Rho shortly.

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IPED Internships: UNDP Equator Initiative – Katie McCann

As part of her internship at UNDPs Equator Initiative, Katie McCann attended the IUCN World Conservation Congress(WCC) in Honolulu Hawaii. This years WCCs theme was Planet at the Crossroads.The Equator Initiative participated by hosting Community Kauhale ‘Ōiwi, or community dialogues, each day of the conference. Community dialogues aim to bring together environmental leaders of local communities and indigenous people with policy makers, conservationists and leaders in the field of sustainable development for lively conversations about the issues facing their communities.

Equator Initiative Team at 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

Equator Initiative Team at 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The Community Kauhale ‘Ōiwi at the WCC covered topics from, Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals,to a media and technology workshop that discussed the use of digital technology in the field of conservation and the collection of indigenous information and knowledge.

One treat of the conference was a roundtable discussion with New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, and Equator Prize Winners from the Philippines, Jamaica, Nigeria, India and Peru. Equator Prize Winnersshared their stories of resilience in the face of economic and environmental challenges and Friedman framed their stories in light of global economic trends. Friedman also related some parts of his new book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimists Guide to Thriving in an Age of Accelerations, to the struggles and courage of the Equator Prize Winners.

New York Times Columnist, Thomas Friedman, in conversation with Equator Prize Winners, Caroline Olori and  Martins Egot of the Ekuri Initiative, Nigeria

New York Times Columnist, Thomas Friedman, in conversation with Equator Prize Winners, Caroline Olori and Martins Egot of the Ekuri Initiative, Nigeria

Katie participated by assisting with logistics and facilitation of the dialogues and also by appreciating the natural beauty and wonder of the host site. She loved getting to meet the leaders from local communities and indigenous people, many of whom have won the Equator Prize. She was bolstered by their testimonies and encouraged by their actions to protect their lands from environmental degradation, while also thinking creatively about sustainable economic development options for their communities.

Equator Prize Winners Ivy Gordon, Josephine Agbo-Nettey, and Henrietta Kalinda with Katie

Equator Prize Winners Ivy Gordon, Josephine Agbo-Nettey, and Henrietta Kalinda with Katie

This semester, Katie is continuing to study this question of conservation and human interaction and development in her Environmental and Resource Economics course and an independent study with Dr. Christiana Peppard on Laudato Si and Sustainable Economic Development. After graduation, she hopes to work for an international relief and development organization which strives to live out this balance in its work.

Katie enjoying the natural wonders of Honolulu at Diamond Head State Monument

Katie enjoying the natural wonders of Honolulu at Diamond Head State Monument

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Language Immersion Study Award: David Masagbor – Egypt

I studied Arabic for a period of 6 weeks at the Arab Academy in downtown Cairo. Arab Academy offers courses in both colloquial and classical Arabic. Having lived in Egypt before and having an acceptable grasp of colloquial Arabic, I chose to study the classical form of the language.

David at the Arab Academy

David at the Arab Academy

Arab Academy is an exceptional institution. I will 100 percent recommend it to anyone looking to learn the language. Classes aren’t group sessions. Every student has their own tutor which allows you to learn at your own pace and ask as many questions as you want. My classes typically started between 12pm and ended 3pm. The first hour was spent practicing basic responses to common questions while the other two were spent mastering the alphabets, forming words with them and eventually whole sentences. The teachers were very patient and understanding.

Can’t make it to class for some reason? No problem, Arab academy offers classes online as well. They organize online sessions for students unable to be physically present in class for whatever reason. Students are also given access to their online resources and can self-study at their own pace and complete assignments online as well.

Arab Academy is also very diverse. Students come from just about everywhere…the US, Chile, Europe, everywhere.

Jumping for joy about Arabic!

Jumping for joy about Arabic!

Unfortunately, I did not do much travelling while in Egypt partly because, well, I had been to most places prior to this trip (completed my undergrad degree in Egypt). I did get to reconnect with old friends though and visit places I didn’t get to visit while I was an undergrad such as the Cairo Tower from which you can observe all of downtown Cairo and many parts of the city west and east of the Nile River. I also visited the “Time Square” of Cairo aka “where every Cairo resident avoids” aka “Oldest tourist trap of the Middle East”- The pyramids. It was fun though don’t get me wrong.

David at Giza

David at Giza

Being that it was Ramadan, I was able to share in the breaking of fast (Iftar) with friends after 6pm everyday during the period which made the experience all the more interesting. I thank IPED for giving me this unforgettable opportunity in Cairo!

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2016 Washington, D.C. Career Trip

On Thursday and Friday, November 3rd and 4th, IPED went to Washington, D.C. for the annual Washington, D.C. Career Trip

The IPED students began the trip at Elephant and Castle to meet with representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA). The discussions began with Israly Echegaray, an IPED alumna, who now works with the ITA and was able to work on both the TTIP and TPP trade agreements.

Israly Echegaray speaks about the ITA

Israly Echegaray speaks about the ITA

Israly had two pieces of advice for those seeking a job with the government: 1. Read the job description and be sure to use keywords when answering the question. 2. When answering, don’t be too high level with your answers initially.

Next to speak was Constance Handley, another IPED alumna, who is now the Deputy Director of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC). Her career began with the ITA in the Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties office from which she moved around a little bit before her current position.

Constance Handley, Shane Subler, and Moses Cam pose at Elephant and Castle

Constance Handley, Shane Subler, and Moses Cam pose at Elephant and Castle

The final speaker from the ITA was Shane Subler, IPED alumni, who spoke briefly about his work with Ms. Handley in the ITEC doing analysis.

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IPEDers Victoriia Brezheniuk, Liya Khalikova, and Sydney Kornegay goofing around outside USAID

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IPED at USAID

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The flags at USAID

After lunch the IPED students spent some time at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The first speaker was Anthony Cotton, RPCV, IPED alumni and Peace Corps Fellow who went on to get the double Master’s degree in IPED and Economics. He was a Presidential Management Fellow before he began his work with USAID. He has had an exciting career so far, holding seven jobs in seven years within the agency.

Anthony Cotton speaking

Anthony Cotton speaking

His tips were: 1. Spend time meeting people and having informational interviews. 2. Make business cards as a means to induce someone to give you theirs. 3. Apply to everything because it helps you learn your own narrative and to nail your resume.

Next to speak was Sarah Webber, RPCV, IPED alumna, Arrupe Fellow, and Fulbright Fellow to Botswana. Ms. Webber works with the Health section of USAID coordinating and organizing health initiatives for USAID.

Her tip was to apply for the Presidential Management Fellow as it was an excellent way to get a foot in the door at USAID.

Sarah Weber and Tracy O'Heir

Sarah Weber and Tracy O’Heir

The last speaker of the day was Tracy O’Heir, a Jesuit Volunteer Corps alumna, IPED alumna and Arrupe Fellow. Ms. O’Hare is the team lead for the southern and western Africa Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Her tip was to study French because it is super useful for a career with USAID.

On Thursday evening IPED had its annual Washington, D.C. Alumni Dinner at Tortilla Coast. IPEDers, both current and past, mingled and discussed opportunities and shared tips.

Friday morning IPED students went to the United States Department of Agriculture. First to speak was Matt Pavone, an IPED alumni and recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. Mr. Pavone works with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) as an Outreach Specialist working to implement credit and community support programs to small-scale US farmers.

Matt Pavone

Matt Pavone

Next to speak was Hoa Hyunh from the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). Mr. Hyunh is the Director of North Asia in the Agricultural Trade Office working in promotion of agriculture products overseas.

Hoa Hyunh

Hoa Hyunh

Hoa was followed by Jane Wilkins from the FAS. She is an IPED Alumna, and works as an analyst for foreign banks in order for them to take part in a US funded development program. She is a Civil Service Officer as opposed to a Foreign Service Officer.

Next was Brian Gruse who also worked for the FAS as Assistant Deputy Administrator. His focus was in capacity building in developing countries.

The two Brians (Brian Dutoi and Brian Gruse) speak at USAID

The two Brians (Brian Dutoi and Brian Gruse) speak at USAID

Finally, Brian Dutoi wrapped up the information session with a discussion of his with the the FAS in Food for Progress. He is also an IPED alumni and works on monetizing food commodities.

Following a lunch at the USDA cafeteria, the IPED students wrapped up their D.C. trip with a visit to the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC).

IPED at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

IPED at the Millennium Challenge Corporation

IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Victoriia Brezheniuk, Cody Harder, Edward Barbini, and Samantha Kinney at MCC

IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Victoriia Brezheniuk, Cody Harder, Edward Barbini, and Samantha Kinney at MCC

First to speak was Kari Nelson, formerly with the MCC, but recently moved to Social Impact. Ms. Nelson gave an overview of what the MCC does and the metrics used to determine country eligibility for “compacts.”

Keri Nelson pictured here with Melissa Griswald

Keri Nelson pictured here with Melissa Griswald

Beth Zitler, a Science and Technology Fellow, spoke next about Open Data and the Open Data Challenge.

Beth Zitler speaking on Open Data

Beth Zitler speaking on Open Data

Representatives from human resources, Tom Wyke and his co-worker, Gigi, spoke about internship opportunities and hiring process.

Next to speak was Melissa Griswald from the implementation section of MCC. She works on the actual compacts (projects) from the development stage to implementation.

We finished the session with Sarah Lane from monitoring and evaluation, who spoke about her work and some of the metrics used to evaluate the work done in the field.

Sarah Lane and an excellent visual aid describing how MCC works

Sarah Lane and an excellent visual aid describing how MCC works

It was a wonderful trip and the IPED first years were even able to do a little bit of sightseeing.

IPED 2018 in front of the White House

IPED 2018 in front of the White House

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Recap & Response: Poverty and Violence

On September 23, 2016, CAPP-USA and Fordham University co-sponsored a conference called “Pope Francis’ Call for Escaping Poverty: Practical Examples and New Proposals.” The conference examined the definition and measurement of poverty and proposed specific, practical efforts which operationalize Pope Francis’ insistence that people “be dignified agents of their own destiny.” What follows is the last in a series of posts authored by graduate students in Fordham University’s International Political Economy & Development Program that offer a summary and response to a topic discussed at the conference.

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The last panel of the conference was devoted to the problem of poverty and violence. This sphere is vastly understudied and sometimes misunderstood, mainly because the exact causal relationship and means of measurements of poverty and violence are still unknown.

In order to understand the problem, it is important to have a clear definition of violence. Statistics show that nearly two billion people now live in countries where development outcomes are highly influenced by fragility of the state (World Bank), and by 2030 almost 50% of the world’s poorest will be living in a region affected by violence. However, when we talk about violence and development we shouldn’t forget that wars are not the only form of violence. The violence of everyday life is one of the biggest obstacles today, resulting in nearly 45 million people, including children, subject to some form of modern slavery. Finally, violence can include economic abuse of power, any form of domestic violence, land-grabbing, among other things.

Nicholas Michael, a member of UN negotiation team on Syria, introduced essential steps required to overcome the violence. He pointed to ten steps on how to solve the conflict and associate people:

  1. construct an open dialogue with civil society organizations;
  2. include women in sufficient number in the process (in addition to official delegations’ women representatives);
  3. consistently remind the parties of the conflict their obligations under the international humanitarian laws, international human rights, and criminal laws;
  4. encourage and assist people in starting business processes;
  5. develop responsible a media environment;
  6. relate to religious communities;
  7. design adequate accountability, truth telling, and reconciliation mechanisms in order to deal with the past and create a sustainable situation;
  8. reshape sanctions regime by lifting the sanctions that have no impact to solving the conflict and adversely affect civilians;
  9. assist the parties to agree on principals of a new constitution that will effectively protect human rights;
  10. and create conditions for the safe return of refugees to the country.

Armando Borja, Jesuit Refugee Service North America Regional Director, talked about how poverty can contribute to violence as the poor often have no other way to protect themselves except to fight. The main focus of his speech was on refugees and their impoverishments. Refugees often find themselves in the bottom economic level, being pushed to the limit, without access to health services, education, adequate nutrition. They also suffer from other consequences of poverty and, tragically, repeated displacement. One of the ways to effectively help them is through the provision of education as it is a vital lifesaving intervention that can provide means for better future. Simple hospitality informs how we can integrate refugees into the new communities.

The problem of violence and poverty is one of the hardest for mankind to solve. What level of poverty in the particular region triggers the violence? If there was an accurate answer to that question, perhaps, it would be easier to predict possible conflict and try to solve it before it evolved. On the other hand, violence, being an abuse of any power, can be hidden from society and thus contribute to the development of poverty. While the Fordham Francis Index does a great job determining different factors contributing to poverty, it barely touched the problem of violence. It would be interesting to try to conduct research including different types of violence and analyze how it might trigger poverty and vice versa. However, this type of data is hard to aggregate and comparisons are difficult, which leaves this important question open.

Liya Khalikova is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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