Student Spotlight: Luther Flagstad at the Council on Foreign Relations

Luther Flagstad standing outside the Council’s subtle entrance in Manhattan.

Luther Flagstad (IPED ‘18) is the U.S. Foreign Policy Volunteer Intern at the Council on Foreign Relations and in the David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR’s “think tank”–under Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy. The CFR is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. The U.S. Foreign Policy program at the CFR seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities the United States faces overseas and to assess the pressures and political dynamics shaping its foreign policy choices. The program’s goal is to provide insightful analysis and recommendations that help policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and the general public better understand how the United States weighs its interests and values when it makes foreign policy decisions.

One of the meeting rooms at the Council.

As an intern, Luther works closely with Ambassador Blackwill’s Research Assistant, Ted Rappleye, researching current U.S. foreign policy issues. The CFR provides interns with expansive opportunities for professional development.  Luther writes: “At CFR I’ve been able to listen in on “not-for-attribution” meetings delivered by policy makers from around the world, attend sessions on writing and research skills, practice writing policy memos, and learn and absorb as much as I can from fellows, researchers, and other interns.” Luther was involved in the research for a piece published by Ambassador Blackwill in Foreign Policy titled, “Fact Checking Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’ About Mexico”.

Luther Flagstad at his desk in the interns’ “pit.”

Luther obtained his position, initially, by attending the CFR’s back-to-school event where he created a network with the other research assistants. He was able to draw on these connections when positions when he submitted his applications.

Luther had this advice to offer: “If you are interested in a career in policy, I couldn’t recommend an internship with CFR enough. The exposure it provides to the field is outstanding.”

Luther maintains his status as a full-time students while performing his internship duties part-time.

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2017 IPED Alumni Networking Night

On March 23rd, many members of the IPED family got together to meet, catch up, and chat for the IPED Alumni night. IPED alumni were asked to speak about their experiences working in the non-profit, government, and private sectors and gave advice for current and recent IPEDers starting their careers. Following the alumnae panel, current students were presented with their study and internship awards. Congratulations to all of you!

IPED career panel comprised of IPED alumae.

The 2017 Language and Immersion Study Award (LISA) recipients with Dr. Crystal. They will be studying French, Spanish, and Arabic around the world this summer.

This year’s Public Service Fellows awardees. Luther Flagstad (right) will be going to Kazakhstan to work at the US Embassy and Robyn Emory (left) will be going to Xi’an, China to pursue language study in Mandarin Chinese.

This year’s Arrupe Fellows with Dr. Crystal. Owen Fitzgerald (left) will be going to France for language immersion and pursuing work with the UNDP. Tess Hart (right) will also be pursuing French immersion and going to Micronesia to perform research.

The audience listening to the panel.

Current IPEDers, (left to right) Carlos Baeta, Liya Khalikova, Samantha Kinney, and Maggie Hutchison

IPED alumnae

IPED class of 2017 (the most recent group of alumni)

Dr. Schwalbenberg with some of his former students

IPEDers, current and past

The IPED family laughing with Dr. Crystal as he gives the closing comments.

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The Holy See And The Fight Against Human Trafficking: The Gender Perspective

On February 23, 2017, the US branch of the Vatican Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice and Fordham University co-sponsored the inaugural lecture of the Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, titled: “The Holy See and the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” The conference examined the realities of human trafficking today, what is being done, and what opportunities there are going forward. 

Attendees of the Human Trafficking Conference

The Gendered Nature of Human Trafficking

Fordham’s “Consultation on Human Trafficking” convened local and international experts to discuss the root causes and challenges of modern slavery. And while the panelists discussed different push factors – poverty, conflict, and forced migration – many highlighted the overarching role that gender plays in the human trafficking system.

“79% of people who are trafficked are women,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Inaugural Holder of the Casamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, and the conference’s keynote speaker. “And while that percentage is decreasing, the number of women who are being trafficked in real terms is increasing.”

The human trafficking panel

So why are women so vulnerable to human trafficking?

“Human Trafficking takes advantage of global indifference and an economy of exclusion” said the Archbishop. Women still constitute 70% of the world’s poor, and have unequal access to labor markets and economic resources. Human traffickers prey on women and girls who have fewer routes to economic independence, and who are willing to leave their homes to pursue financial opportunities. Convinced that there is a job waiting for them abroad, women find themselves trapped in sexual exploitation or domestic slavery.  

Human trafficking also affects young women in the United States, particularly the homeless and those formerly in the foster system.

Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House in New York, estimated that 15-25% of her clients have been trafficked. Most of them are young women with few mentors or family connections, and are trafficked by pimps who act as their boyfriend.  The pimp provides emotional, financial, and housing stability, and then forces the woman into human trafficking.

“At first, many of our clients will say that they chose that life freely.  But six months after they’ve gotten away from their pimps, they will say they didn’t really have a choice, that they had to do it if they wanted a place to sleep.”

Panelists also discussed human trafficking as a secondary trauma: “Many of the girls who are trafficked have been sexually abused at home.” said one panelist. “… We see that incest shatters the soul, and makes girls feel an incredible amount of shame.  If I feel that I am worthless, what would keep me from making these decisions (to follow pimps)?”


Given the gendered nature of human trafficking, panelists called for solutions that take women’s unique vulnerability into account. Solutions included training law enforcement officers to recognize when women were being trafficked, and better coordination across government and NGO agencies. Ms. Bigelson said the best way to combat human trafficking was to be a good mentor and a good foster parent to young women.

IPED students at the Human Trafficking Conference

 

Written by: Sydney Kornegay

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

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The Holy See And The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Falling Prey

On February 23, 2017, the US branch of the Vatican Foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice and Fordham University co-sponsored the inaugural lecture of the Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Migration and Globalization, titled: “The Holy See and the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” The conference examined the realities of human trafficking today, what is being done, and what opportunities there are going forward. 

The audience listening to Archbishop Auza’s lecture

Falling Prey: Human traffickers set their sights on refugees

In 2015, nearly 250 million people moved across international borders. Of these, over 60 million people moved as a result of war (i.e. forced migration), and many of these asylum seekers are being targeted by traffickers.

“Human Trafficking has found an advantageous environment in which to work. Refugees are willing to take any risk. They are vulnerable.” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Pope Francis’ Representative to the United Nations.

On February 23rd, Fordham University’s graduate program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) hosted a Consultation on Human Trafficking at which Archbishop Auza served as the event’s keynote speaker. “How many persons are victims of human trafficking?” he asks. “The honest answer is that the number is staggering, and nobody really knows!”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations

Although there can be no definite numbers, the Archbishop shared estimates from a well-cited 2012 study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that there are “about 21 million men, women and children who are trafficked, sold, coerced or subjected to conditions of slavery in various forms and in various sectors.” These figures continue to grow, especially in recent years, and as millions of refugees flee their homes, human traffickers are capitalizing on the opportunity.

“The flood of trafficking victims has multiple tributaries”, said Archbishop Auza, who shared that Pope Francis identifies four different causes to be economic, environmental, political, and ethical.

The Archbishop then offered two brief points for reflection: “First, the importance of a faith actively manifested in deeds. Pope Francis wants those who are religious to find in their faith the deepest motivation for leadership and involvement in this fight.”

“Second, deeds sustained by the hope that, together, we shall overcome.” As an example of overcoming such a colossal crime against human dignity, Archbishop Auza made reference to the historical politician and philanthropist, William Wilberforce, who was a leader of the movement to eradicate the slave trade in Britain.

“It took William Wilberforce only 20 years to end the British slave trade and only 30 more to abolish the slave trade across the globe, at a time when slavery was as accepted as natural as birth, marriage and death.”

Human trafficking must never be accepted. It is “a crime that’s occurring in our own backyards, it’s under our noses, and we cannot ignore it” said Archbishop Auza. He then went on to quote Pope Francis: “We must raise awareness of this new evil which, in the world at large, wants to be hidden since it is scandalous and ‘politically incorrect’.”

The Archbishop then concluded his remarks by exhorting the audience: “Let us bring that Wilberforce in each of us to bear in our fight against human trafficking and others forms of modern slavery.”

A written summary of the presentations and discussions from the Consultation on Human Trafficking will be sent to Rome as input for an international conference on human trafficking, to be held at the Vatican on May 18-20. For a full transcript of Archbishop Bernardito Auza’s speech at Fordham University, click here.

 

Written by: Owen Fitzgerald

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

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2017 Council on Foreign Relations Career Trip

On Friday, March 3, the IPED students had their final career trip of the year to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York City. The students visited the think tank and were able to meet and hear from Gordon M. Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein spent his time telling us his story and discussing cyber/internet security opportunities and challenges.

IPED at the CFR with Dr. Schwalbenberg

He has previously worked with the United States Mission to the United Nations at the World Conference for International Telecommunications (WCIT) in 2012 and is currently working on crises in cyber security. Mr. Goldstein said that the internet is too powerful a tool to allow market forces to work on it freely, necessitating a national policy.

At the Council round table

Gorgeous interior of the CFR

Mr. Goldstein closed with some advice to the IPED students in their search for a job. He explained that the students should have fifty conversations with fifty new people and to get contacts for three more people from each of them. In this way, the students can grow their knowledge base through the experience of others and their network, which is of the utmost importance. Along with this advice he stressed that students should not be afraid to make cold calls, because people genuinely want to help and will respond to sincere interest.

IPED pictured with Mr. Gordon Goldstein (center).

The IPED students ended their day with some pictures at the Council’s headquarters.

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