Monthly Archives: November 2017

IPED in South Africa

By: Moses Cam

Last August, 8 IPEDers went on a trip of a lifetime to South Africa to participate in the Emerging Markets: South Africa program alongside South African students and professionals. The study tour program runs through the partnership of Fordham University and the University of Pretoria. It aims to deepen students’ knowledge of emerging markets while studying within the South African emerging market, with the academic coursework and research culminating into the creation of an Equity Investment Prospect Report. The course is required for the advanced certificate in Emerging Markets and Country Risk Analysis.

For three weeks, students had the opportunity to learn about emerging markets in the classroom while also see the theories in practice through various site visits that exposed them to the different sectors in the South African economy, with a focus on the banking and finance industry. Informational trips included visits to the Public Investment Corporation, South African Reserve Bank, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), Standard Bank, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Brazilian Embassy, and other venues.

Aside from the academic load, participants of the course were also sent on cultural excursions to expose them on the rich history and traditions of the Rainbow Nation.

While students spent most of their time in Pretoria and Johannesburg, IPEDers had the opportunity to
check out Cape Town and experience everything that the coastal city and wine capital of South Africa
had to offer: an immersive experience in Robben Island, a memorable hike up the majestic Table
Mountain and gorgeous views courtesy of the Cape of Good Hope.

The South African experience was capped off with a trip to Kruger National Park where students went on a safari to see the famous Big 5 of the South African grasslands.

The Emerging Markets: South Africa Study tour is an incredible opportunity for students to study an
emerging market economy while immersed in that emerging market economy. Scholarships are
available through Fordham’s St. Campion Institute.

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IPED Career Trip: Washington D.C.

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

November 16th and 17th, our 2019 IPED cohort traveled to Washington D.C. to visit with IPED alumni at various organizations. After an early morning bus ride, we started our day at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Alumni Anthony Cotton ’08, Tracey O’Heir ’06, and Sarah Weber ’05 spoke with us about their work in strengthening financial institutions, LGBTI programming, foreign disaster assistance, and managing large scale HIV/AIDS health grants. They shared with us their tips and tricks on how to succeed in an international development career, particularly in the government sector.

IPED student with alumni at USAID.

IPED students with Dr. Schwalbenberg at USAID.

For lunch, we met at Elephant and Castle Restaurant with alumni representatives from the International Trade Administration (ITA). Connie Handley ’98 spoke about global markets and her work with foreign trade partnerships. Shane Subler ’03 shared about his work investigating manufacturing complaints and dumping violations. They, like their colleagues at USAID, highly recommended the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program as a channel into government work.

IPED students enjoying appetizers at Elephant and Castle Restaurant.

IPED student and trips coordinator, Greg Fischer, explaining our itinerary.

During the afternoon, students checked out the Jefferson Memorial and other monuments in Washington D.C.

IPED students in front of the Washington Monument.

IPED students at the Jefferson Memorial.

That evening, we gathered at Tortilla Coast for a special alumni dinner. Several alumni came to share a meal with students, talking about their experiences in IPED, work abroad, and professional careers in Washington D.C. The IPED community gathers every year during the D.C. Career Trip for this night of food, fun, and conversation.

Students eating at Tortilla Coast.

Students and alumni talking at Tortilla Coast.

The next day, we met alumni Brian Dutoi ’14 and his colleagues Megan Francic, Michael Riedel, and Jill Luxembourg at the Foreign Agricultural Service Office (FAS). These Foreign Service Officers spoke about the promotion of food security through international free trade. They also talked about government to government trade, food safety, and the intersection of trade and development.

IPED students at the Foreign Agricultural Service.

After a pitstop at the White House, we met with IPED alumnus Cameron Hinksen ’13 at Chemonics. Chemonics is a private sector project management firm with staff in 76 countries. Ninety-five percent of their business comes from USAID contracts and projects. Cameron talked with us about the mission and structure of Chemonics and gave us tips about securing meaningful employment upon graduation from the IPED program.

IPED students in front of the White House.

IPED students at the White House.

IPED students at Chemonics with Alumni Cameron Hinksen ’13.

Overall, the trip was informative and gave students an inside glance at some of the top government development organizations in Washington D.C. All alumni, both at our site visits and the alumni dinner, were warm and supportive. Thanks to all those who contributed to the success of this trip!

IPED students in Washington D.C.

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IPED Thanksgiving!

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

Before heading off for Thanksgiving break, our IPED family came together to celebrate and feast! We gathered in gratitude–for this program, this cohort, the opportunities before us, our families, our health. Our potluck feast included a big turkey and lots of dishes and desserts. We ate traditional thanksgiving foods and some special international flavors too! May you and your loved ones enjoy a happy, healthy, and filling Thanksgiving!

  

  

    

   

 

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IPED/Economics 5K

By: Sarah Garwood ’19

Congratulations to all the 5k participants!

This weekend, we hosted our first ever IPED/Economics 5K run! Students, faculty and members of the community participated. IPED student, James Duke, came in first place followed by Alumni Dissertation Fellow Katie Jajtner.

  

 

After the race, runners, race marshals, and spectators joined together for a brunch and raffle. Prizes were donated by local restaurants and businesses in the area including: Marie’s Roasted Coffee Beans and Gifts, Cerini Coffee and Gifts, Randazzo’s Seafood, Zero OHO Nove, San Gennaro Restaurant, Robert’ Restaurant, and Enzo’s of Arthur Ave. One lucky winner also received an IPED Loot Bag featuring the new IPED wine glass and coveted IPED coffee mug. Congratulations to our winners across both the Departments of Economics and IPED: Greg Fischer, Amr Yawer, Anjali Chandra, Sarah Garwood, Tess Hart, and Moses Cam! Together, we raised $381 for Hurricane Harvey relief.

Our gold and silver medalists!

Brunch in the IPED Commons

Sunny and Chris drawing names for the raffle

James Duke claiming his prize

A huge thank you to Ms. Donna Orda, Tess Hart ’18, and Ms. Katie Jajtner for the time and energy they put into making this event a success!

IPED and Economics graduate students celebrating together

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Summer Series: Luther Flagstad ’18 Serves as Political/Economic Intern at U.S. Embassy Kazakhstan

By: Luther Flagstad

This summer I had the opportunity to experience what life is like for Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) in the U.S. State Department living and working in Astana, Kazakhstan. On an eight-week assignment as the Political/Economic Sections’ Summer Intern, I briefed officers on attended meetings, contributed to reports back to Washington, and honed diplomatic communication and editing skills. But the biggest takeaway was simply the chance to “test-drive” a career I have been actively pursuing for seven years.

I first took the Foreign Service Officer Test (the first step in applying to be an FSO) in 2010 and failed decisively. My feedback was to get more international experience by considering something like the Peace Corps. So after a lengthy application process, I left for the Kyrgyz Republic seeking to gain new skills as a Peace Corps Volunteer in May of 2012. Four years working in grassroots development in the Kyrgyz Republic helped land me in the 2018 cohort of Fordham’s IPED Program with a Public Service Assistantship, and there I was able to extend my research, writing, and analytic skills further. In the fall semester, with substantial support from IPED professors and Fordham staff, I was fortunate enough to successfully apply for an internship position with the State Department.

Having secured a secret-level clearance with two days to spare (a process worthy of its own blog post) I was on a plane for Astana—the capital of Kazakhstan. I know that my regional experience and interests helped land the internship—that and the fact that there aren’t droves of students lining up to go to Central Asia. Yet, despite its remoteness, Kazakhstan is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to work and will continue to be so over the next thirty years.

Suddenly separated from its former fellow Soviet Republics in 1991, Kazakhstan struggled through the 1990s after an enormous economic contraction. But newly discovered oil and gas deposits on the Caspian Sea in the late 1990s afforded Kazakhstan massive subsequent growth, tripling its GDP per capita in purchasing power parity since 2000. The government is assiduously pursuing policies to bring Kazakhstan into the top thirty economies in the world by 2050. While this process won’t be perfectly smooth—Kazakhstan has yet to experience a transition of presidential power, and its liberal economic regime sometimes moves in fits—the country is emerging with many successes to its credit as well. Kazakhstan beat out Thailand for a two-year, non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for its 2017-2018 tenure, is host this summer to the World’s Fair’s EXPO 2017 on the theme “Future Energy,” and is currently hosting continuing rounds of talks in Astana on Syrian settlement.

Today, due to the U.S.’s own political upheavals, maybe you are among the many university students who once dreamed of a career in public service but are now reconsidering their options.  I would like to encourage you, however, as long as you have this dream, to keep these passions alive and to nurture them, whether through community activism, a job in local government, or any work that serves others. Fortunately for American citizens, U.S. government is bigger than one person—it always has been—and foreign and domestic policies are written, communicated, and implemented by thousands of individuals striving for the rights for all to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Policy is not something that exists on its own but is forwarded by the aggregate decisions of many. The U.S. government needs individuals of strong character who will edge the needle through consistent, daily commitment and service.

To be honest, I personally have not yet settled on how I will contribute and have opted to try out a number of different sectors as an IPED student. This is where IPED has a huge advantage; because of the schedule, content of coursework, incredible support of the program’s director and staff, access to professors, small cohort size, and comradery and encouragement from classmates, students can get the hands-on experience necessary to jump into a career upon graduation. I have interned with the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Department of State, assisted a professor with a research project, and coordinated the IPED Lecture Series—all in my first year! Over this next year I will continue to make use of these opportunities, seeking an internship with The Economist Intelligence Unit and a Boren Fellowship for Russian language study. With IPED, these outside fellowships, internships, and experiences are not just encouraged, but are actively supported and are consistently realized by IPED students every year.

If you desire to pursue an internship in the U.S. government, please reach out to me or any of the other IPED students doing government work this summer. And, if you’re interested in private sector consulting, internships with the United Nations, NGO work, or language study, there are IPED students ready to answer your questions on those areas as well.

Best of luck in your summer endeavors!

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