Monthly Archives: October 2018

2018 Summer Internship Series: Elly Reserva at UNICEF

by: Elly Reserva ’19

Last August, I was at the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal where I worked as an intern for the Child Survival and Development (CSD) Unit. This internship came as an extension and continuation of my work at the UNICEF Headquarters Office last Spring Semester. This opportunity was made possible thanks through the GSAS Summer Research Fellowship.

At the Child Survival and Development Unit of UNICEF West and Central Africa Office

At the regional office, I was mainly tasked to conduct methodical data analysis and create data visualizations, reporting to effective monitoring and analysis of projects for the 24 countries in West and Central Africa. The nature of my work provided direct support of the situational analysis and updates within the area of CSD.

My timing was also perfect since the regional office was busy preparing for various meetings, such as a partnership and strategy meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. Through these, not only did I get to attend some of the sessions, but I was also able to contribute through preparing briefing notes and talking points for some of the meetings.

Presented my work and provided a brief training as part of the documentation and knowledge management process

I was also lucky that my summer internship came after my language immersion in France because it prepared me as I worked and traveled around the city. Senegal, together with most of the countries in the region, are Francophone. Being in Dakar allowed me to use and explore the health and business jargons in French and it helped solidify the language skills I acquired during my language immersion.

With the CSD Unit composed of the Nutrition, Immunization, and Health Systems Strengthening Teams

Overall, it has been a cohesive and productive summer. All these experiences helped strengthen my skills as an aspiring professional in the International Development Sector.

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South Africa Emerging Markets Study 2018

By: Mohammed Masudur Rahman ‘19

Every year, select IPED students from Fordham University participate in an exchange program with University of Pretoria, South Africa. The Advanced Certificate in Emerging Markets & Country Risk Analysis includes three courses on Finance, Political Risk Analysis, and Emerging Markets. As a part of this endeavor, a group of five students from IPED and Economics department went to South Africa in August of 2018 to participate in the Emerging Markets: South Africa course module.

The students were hosted in University of Pretoria campus in Pretoria where they took part in rigorous coursework, gave presentations, and made visits to various important financial and industry institutions, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Students were also immersed in local culture through excursions to local communities, heritage sites and tourist attractions.

Fordham Students in South Africa sharing a meal with fellow South African students

Fordham Students at University of Pretoria campus

The students learned about various emerging markets including a focus on South Africa. The Emerging Markets course equipped them with knowledge of current market dynamics, ability to collect, analyze and read micro indicator data and use them to assess market potential of emerging economies. The course ended with the students writing investment reports on various emerging markets.

The Emerging Markets cohort was joined by students from South Africa in their visits to various top level institutes. The visits included some of South Africa’s top institutions: Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation, South Africa Reserve Bank, Standard Bank, BRICS, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, US Chamber of Commerce, National Economic Development and Labor Council, and the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa.

Group of Students at Industrial Development Corporation, South Africa

Group of Students at National Economic Development and Labor Council, South Africa

The trip was also full of excursions where the students got to visit iconic tourist and heritage sites around Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto. Some of the most memorable visits included Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, the home of Winnie Mandela on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, and the Cradle of Humankind. The final week of the trip was spent exploring game reserves and safari in Krueger National Park.

Group of Students at the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town

Group of Students in front of the Table Mountain, one of the natural wonders

Visiting Heritage Sites including the Mandela Statue

One of the Big Five Animals students saw during the Krueger National Park visit

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Patrick Connolly at Finacity

by: Patrick Connolly ’19

This past summer I had the fortunate opportunity to intern at Finacity Corp. in Stamford Ct. and gathered hands on experience learning the intricacies of receivable securitization.

I was placed as an analyst within the Deal Structuring, Management, and Origination team – the central unit within Finacity that touches all stages of the securitization process. The role of the team is essential to the support of the Business Development Officers bringing in deals, receiving signed mandates, analyzing and structuring the receivables of contracted clients, finding funding sources for the structured receivable program, supporting data onboarding efforts, and proactively supporting relationship management through the life of a securitization.

My main duties involved: 1. Supporting Business Development Officers marketing efforts by creating tailored pitchbooks specified by the Business Development Officer based on the type of firms they were perusing, 2. conducting preliminary receivable analysis, 3. building pitchbooks for client engagement, and 4. performing adhoc portfolio reports and support broader marketing efforts.

While working for Finacity, I had the chance to analyze the receivables of a wide variety of companies across many sectors including an Italian electrical utility firm, a Latvian dairy co-op, a Greek utility company, and an international commodity brokerage firm.

I also had the opportunity to work on a team focused on creating an informative presentation on receivable securitization that was presented to business leaders in U.S. embassies in several countries. In 2015 the U.S. Commerce department recognized Finacity as prominent supporter of the U.S. export industry. Through this recognition, Finacity was given the opportunity to inform international audiences on the process of receivable securitization.

Prior to applying to this internship, I had little knowledge of receivable securitization; I was familiar with factoring programs and letters of credit from my previous work experience, but receivable securitization was not really on my radar. However, when IPED alumni Gregg Streibig explained to me in a conversation how his firm is a client of Finacity, I became very interested and started to explore further. I’m fortunate to have found out about Finacity and obtain an internship, because now I am knowledgeable about an extremely interesting and complicated financial product.

For further information regarding the receivable securitization, Finacity’s website has a very thorough informative page: https://www.finacity.com/what-we-do/#securitization-section

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Recap and Response: GMOs: A Moral Imperative

by: Rensi Pua ’20

If you could multiply your income sixfold, how would your life change? This was the question Dr. Sarah Davidson Evanega, Director of the Cornell Alliance for Science, used to argue the case for GMOs. For those of us lucky enough, a sixfold increase means elevating our lives from comfort to excess. For a small farmer in Bangladesh, it means assured survival.

The Cornell Alliance for Science is an initiative based at Cornell University that seeks to promote access to scientific innovation as a means of enhancing food security, improving environmental sustainability, and raising the quality of life globally. Central to Dr. Evanega’s presentation is the controversial GMO narrative. The story starts with Mansur Sarkar, one of 20 farmers who pioneered Bt Brinjal, a genetically-engineered pest-resistant eggplant. Sarkar talks about how pest-resistance not only decreased his use of pesticides by 65-70% but also returned a crop yield larger than the traditional eggplant variety. These environmental and monetary gains from GMO technology benefit farmers like Sarkar and give them the opportunity to increase their income sixfold. However, not long after Sarkar’s story was published did anti-GMO group GMWatch publish an allegedly false story about Bangladeshi farmers abandoning the Bt Brinjal project. The Cornell Alliance for Science went on site to straighten out facts and found that about 27,000 farmers are actually benefiting from the project (see video here). Dr. Evanega further mentions that much of what’s on the internet has no scientific basis and is simply driven by fear-mongering.

Prof. Evanega discussing the significance of the use of GMOs in food security

So, what are the facts? Fact 1: Agriculture is under siege from factors such as climate change and fast-evolving pests and diseases. In fact, food production is falling behind and needs to increase by 70% to feed the world’s population by 2050. GMOs can increase production efficiency to ensure food security. Fact 2: GMOs can uplift farmers’ lives by ensuring their investments are protected from said detrimental factors. Fact 3: GMOs can decrease agriculture’s impact on the environment by reducing the need for fertilizers, pesticides, tilling and use of land space.

The controversy surrounding GMOs is not just a bourgeoisie issue but a matter of social justice when resistance comes from developed, well-fed countries far-removed from the ground. Anti-GMO advocates are hindering progress and preventing farmers from gaining access to scientific advancements that would change lives for the better, and ensure food security for all. The controversy becomes an issue of morality when viewed from these power dynamics.

So, the next time you go to the grocery and see a “GMO-free” stamp on a product, think about what it really means before purchasing – there’s more at stake than you think.

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Rico La Viña at the Institute for Policy Studies

by: Rico La Viña ’19

I spent the summer interning at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington DC. IPS is a “progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society.” It conducts research and handles campaigns in the fields of economic justice, racial and gender justice, climate justice, peace and foreign policy, and community development. For five decades, IPS has supported domestic and global social movements fighting for a more just and peaceful world.

I worked directly for the Executive Director of the Institute, John Cavanaugh. I assisted him with research and advocacy work focused on the Philippines. I had primarily three tasks: (1) provide the Executive Director with briefers and memos on Philippine mining, (2) co-author a position paper on a controversial mine in the Philippines, and (2) conduct interviews with relevant mining experts while in the Philippines. My work with John and other anti-mining activists is still ongoing.

Rico at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC

I enjoyed my time at IPS. To begin with, I learned first-hand how rigorous scholarship can complement and enrich my activist commitments. The attainment of social justice is best served by careful and objective analysis. Furthermore, I enjoyed living in Washington DC. One of the perks of living in DC is having free access to its many museums. Undoubtedly, my summer internship was an enriching and fun experience.

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