Monthly Archives: February 2017

Student Spotlight: Owen Fitzgerald, Tess Hart, and Viktoriia Brezheniuk at UNDP

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.”

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.

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Philippines Study Tour 2017

Fifteen IPED students and one Economics undergraduate traveled to the Philippines over the winter break for IPED’s annual immersion program in project monitoring and evaluation. The program was led by faculty advisors Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg and Dr. Booi Themeli and managed by Ms. Donna Odra.

Katipunan Road outside of Ateneo de Manila University

While in Manila, the students took extensive coursework in project monitoring and evaluation. Additionally, guest lectures on the history, culture, economics and politics of the Philippines provided useful insights.

IPEDers in class at Ateneo de Manila University

In addition to classes, the group was taken to Corregidor Island and Intramuros, two of the historical sites found in the Manila area. The students were also taken to visit the Asian Development Bank to learn about the work that they are doing.

IPED at the Corregidor ruins

Angeli and Donna at Intramuros in front of Fort Santiago

View from the roof of the Asian Development Bank

As a practical application of the coursework, students traveled to Calapan, Pola, and Bulalacao, towns in the province of Oriental Mindoro. The groups evaluated a farmer’s co-op creating organic fertilizer in Calapan, a calamansi juice co-op in Pola, and a seaweed processing association in Bulalscao. The groups were split up into five different teams and set to evaluate different aspects of each projects. Team 1 evaluated the fertilizer production, Team 2 evaluated the calamansi juice co-op’s management and production, while Team 3 evaluated the farming practices of the calamansi itself. The final two teams evaluated the management and production, respectively, of the seaweed association in Bulalacao.

Pola Crew

Bulalacao Crew

Sunrise in Bulalacao

The program concluded with a dinner cruise around Manila Bay.

Manila Bay

Here are a few of the promotional videos that the groups made for their project.

Calapan farmer’s co-op creating Vermitea, an organic fertilizer.


Two videos for the MARCCO co-op in Pola creating Calamansi products

The video for the Seaweed processing association in Balatasan, Bulalacao.




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Student Spotlight: Silva Armani at the United Nations

Silva Armani

Silva Armani (IPED 2017) is working in the Political, Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Human Rights office in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General at the United Nations (UN), a position she has held since 2007. The office is responsible for monitoring and providing strategic and policy advice to the Secretary-General as well as senior officials in the Office of the Secretary-General.  Silva provides direct assistance to the Political Director and team, who in turn ensure effective and coordinated UN system analysis, reporting and recommendations on situations and concerns to the Secretary-General.

The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response

In 2014, Silva joined the United Nations’ first Health mission in West Africa to help assist the Office of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response before returning to her post in New York. It was actually from Ghana that she sent in her application for the IPED program where she is currently studying part time while working with the United Nations.

Some images from the UNMEER work Silva was engaged in.

Silva shares her experience joining the UN: “I knew since childhood that I wanted to work for the UN but I didn’t know how I would get my foot in the door. I thought the only way in was through translation, so I graduated with French Translation from Montclair State University. I took an entry exam, once I passed I was put on a roster and then they called me for an initial 3 month contract to help with the General Assembly in the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.  At the end of my contract, with the encouragement of my then director, I applied to a post in the Scheduling office of the Secretary-General (then Kofi Annan).  After a year and six months, I applied to the Political, peacekeeping, humanitarian and human rights unit in the office of the Secretary-General, and have been in that office since then.”

Silva is pursuing her education as a part-time student while she works full time.

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IPED Winter Merienda 2016

Every year, IPED celebrates the outgoing 2nd Year students with an intimate evening with friends, family, and faculty. Congratulations to our class of 2017 as they embark on their next steps!

Armand Aquino and Kathryn McCann, recipients of the CRS -Fordham International Peace and Development Travel Scholarships

Some of the graduates (and helpers) before the evening

Sigma Iota Rho initiates

Awards for excellence in Political Science on Comprehensive Exams


The Order of the Silver Carabao

First Years Maggie Hutchison and Luther Flagstaff offer a farewell toast to the graduates

The Maria Carmella Dela Rosa Oliveros award for earning a perfect score on the Comprehensive Exam presented to Armand Armand Aquino and Gary Tuorto

Dr. Schwalbenberg presents Armand Aquino with the Matteo Ricci Award for Excellence, awarded to the student with the highest GPA and who did the best on the Comprehensive exam

IPED Class of 2017!

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