Monthly Archives: October 2017

Excel Crash Course by Fordham IPED Alumni Alex Zoubine ’16

By: Djina Stamatovic ’19

On Saturday, October 14th, the IPED students had the chance to attend an Excel Crash Course led by the IPED alumni Alex Zoubine ’16, currently employed in the Portfolio Management Office at Scholastic.

The level of prior Excel knowledge of the students was mixed, however, the pace of the course was able to satisfy the needs of all the attendees. The IPED students had the chance to acquire new skills to employ in the Econometrics and Data Analysis courses offered at Fordham but also in the working world.

In a moderate time frame, various interesting topics were covered, such as spreadsheet formatting and set-up,  simple and in conjunction formulas, pivot tables, and charts. Also, special focus was dedicated to data elaboration, as it is a pivotal element in every business sector–data validation & checks, data analysis, graphing, & regressions and data cleaning & manipulation.

Finally, as Fordham alumni Alex talked about his transition from Fordham to the private industry, his experience with job applications and adapting one’s academic knowledge to the needs of business. He also helped our students with their job/internship preparation in terms of, amongst others, sample data exercises that employers would have during the screening process of hiring.

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Summer Series: Jackie Yap ’18 and the Diplomatic Fellowship at the Holy See Mission to the UN

By: Jackie Yap

Photo credits: Anna Fata, Holy See Mission to the UN

After finishing my IPED courses last December 2016, I began my full-time, six-month fellowship at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN (Holy See Mission) on January of 2017. The Holy See Mission is the diplomatic section representing the Vatican at the UN.

As a diplomatic fellow, my day comprised mainly of attending meetings and conferences at the UN headquarters. Occasionally, I would stay at the Mission office to attend briefings, discuss my insights with my supervisor, and write my reports. At the meetings, I listened to ambassadors, heads of states, and experts give statements on economic, social, and political issues. Since it is a small group, I was privileged to shadow negotiators and get a preview of what their day-to-day was like, especially during negotiations.

 

Given my training in Political Economy and Development, I was assigned to follow the various commissions and political negotiations in Economic and Social Committees (2nd and 3rd committee, respectively). In these commissions, I gained a better and multi-disciplinary understanding of the global discourse on various socio-economic issues surrounding Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, Indigenous people’s issues, Ocean Conservation and Preservation, Science and Technology, and Human Rights. I was assigned to manage and coordinate the staff reports during the 2-week long Commission on Status of Women week March 2017. It was a hectic yet unforgettable experience.

I looked forward to each week because it was different from one to the next. The variety gave me plenty of opportunity to learn about different issues around the globe. It was challenging to digest a lot of information but the training I received from Economic and Political Science courses taught me to write comprehensively and concisely. The summary reports that I have written and organized were eventually submitted to the head office in Rome, Italy.

It is also worth noting the collegiate and familial atmosphere at the Mission. We began with a morning meeting and since lunch was served, everyone had to sit in one large table and talk to each other. The attachés, including the ambassador, His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, were my mentors and they were generous in sharing their knowledge with the interns.

I landed this fellowship through IPED’s program partnership with the Holy See Mission. While I had to undergo the internship application process, Dr. Schwalbenberg, the program director, had been very supportive and generous, providing me the funding in order to make the experience possible.

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Summer Series: Alex Zakrzewski ’18 Earns Language Immersion Studies Award to Study Arabic

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.

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Vatican Dinner: 2017 Fordham University Pope Francis Global Poverty Index Research

Photo Credits: Thomas Stoelker

Dr. Schwalbenberg welcomes His Excellency Archbishop Paul Ricard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Holy See’s Delegation to the Opening of the 72nd UN General Assembly.

Last Monday, IPED students participated in the CAPP/Fordham Dinner to welcome His Excellency Archbishop Gallagher, Head of the Holy See’s delegation to the Opening of the 72nd UN General Assembly. Notable guests to the event were His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarric, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, Dr. Frederick Fakharzadeh M.D., President of the Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice – USA, Reverend Fr. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, and Professor Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., Director of the IPED Program.

His Excellency Archbishop Paul Ricard Gallagher and Father McShane

The dinner was an opportunity for students to present the results of the research we conducted for the 2017 Fordham University Pope Francis Global Poverty Index which is a simple yet broad measure of poverty and wellbeing. The index highlights seven primary indicators which are categorized into two main categories – material wellbeing and spiritual wellbeing. This study intends to help decision-makers identify countries most in need of aid as well as the area of development in which aid is most expected to make an impact. A copy of the results can be obtained through the IPED program’s office at the campus in Rosehill.

His Excellency Archbishop Paul Ricard Gallagher

Donna Odra and Archbishop Gallagher as he is given his copy of the Pope Francis Poverty Index

Furthermore, we were also able to listen to Archbishop Gallagher’s address on the Holy See’s perspective on Contemporary International Issues. In his address, he emphasizes on the necessity of upholding the equal dignity of all human beings prior to any political or cultural construct, with all its consequences for the life of society. The Holy See is pursuing this goal through its efforts to prioritize and promote peace around the world despite the increased conflict and tension in different regions. He reiterates the Holy See’s encouragement of the International Community to choose peacemaking over warmongering and that dialogue has always been more fruitful than violence.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission to the UN, speaks at the Vatican Dinner

His Excellency Archbishop Paul Ricard Gallagher speaks at the Vatican Dinner

The archbishop entertained questions from the guests after his address. Dinner concluded with socials allowing guests and students to share thoughts and ideas on the current challenges we are facing in the international arena.

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Summer Series: Grace Avila and Hillary Khan at UN Women

This summer, Grace Avila (IPED 2017, Economics 2017) and Hillary Khan (IPED 2017, Economics 2017) interned in the Independent Evaluation Office at UN Women’s New York headquarters. UN Women is the global champion for gender equality, leading international initiatives, policies, and programs to advance women and girls’ rights. The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) carries out corporate and decentralized evaluations and coordinates gender-responsive evaluation in the UN System.

 

As interns, Grace and Hillary supported the IEO’s preparations for a corporate evaluation of UN Women’s Governance and National Planning programs. Hillary conducted research on gender-responsive budgeting, analyzing how fiscal policy contributes to gender equality. Grace compiled country portfolios, examining how different work modalities and partnerships enable gender mainstreaming in governance. As founding members of IPED’s Feminist Economics graduate student group, both have greatly appreciated this internship as an opportunity to advance their skills in gender analysis of economic policy and theory.

Additionally, they are both conducting independent research projects that will develop into guidance on how gender equality and human rights-based approaches to evaluation can be integrated into emerging areas of work for UN Women. Grace’s research focuses on gender and climate change adaptation, applying skills she developed in Environmental and Resource Economics and an independent study with Dr. Conte, as well as Dr. Combs’ Gender and Development course. Hillary’s research focus is on women’s land rights, building off of projects she worked on in Economic History with Dr. Combs, Agriculture and Sustainable Development with Dr. McLeod, and African Economic Development with Dr. Themeli.

 

Grace and Hillary were both connected to the internship opportunity through current IPED students. Hillary continues to work with UN Women today. They would like to thank IPED for generously providing internship support and funding.

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