Five Fordham IPED students are working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York City. Two of our students, Greg Fischer ’19 and Sarah Garwood ’19, are Arrupe Fellows and have been supporting the UNDP Global Program on Nature for Development since August 2017. Masud Rahman ’19 and Stephanie Swinehart ’19 joined the Nature for Development team this January 2018. Starting this semester, Mariam Tabatadze ’19 supports the UNDP Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support.Greg Fischer ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development. He currently supports the Equator Initiative through work on their e-learning modules, translations of Equator Prize winners’ case studies, and Impact Investing. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program with a concentration in International Development Studies. He completed his undergraduate degree at Augustana College in Secondary Education and History. Prior to working with the UNDP, Greg spent almost five years in São Paulo, Brazil, as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner where he coordinated a social advocacy campaign project for immigration and refugee issues and held a public office position to represent the immigrants in his borough.
Sarah Garwood ’19 is an Arrupe Fellow with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Equator Initiative and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). She is a graduate student at Fordham University studying International Political Economy and Development with a concentration in International Development Studies. Her research on biodiversity experts expands the capacity of UNDP platforms. She also manages communications and social media campaigns for various projects. Prior to working with the UNDP, she spent two years in Belize City, Belize as a Jesuit Volunteer, supporting education and holistic development programs for at-risk youth. She holds a B.B.A. in International Business and Management from Villanova University.
Masud Rahman ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, and he is assisting the team in Equator Initiative and private finance endeavors, focusing extensively on impact investment matchmaking. He is a Fulbright recipient from Bangladesh currently pursuing M.A. in International Political Economy & Development at Fordham University in New York. He completed his undergraduate degree in business administration before focusing on development economics. He has years of experience working in international development, trade and conservation projects largely in developing countries and underprivileged communities. Sustainable cross-border trade policy and alternative financing vehicles are his fields of interest.
Stephanie Swinehart ’19 is a Programme Assistant with the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development supporting the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and knowledge sharing of strategic programming, including ecosystem services and illegal trade in wildlife. She is a graduate student at Fordham University pursuing an M.A. in International Political Economy & Development. Prior to joining UNDP, she worked in ecological economic research and agricultural consulting and has field experience as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and as an assistant project manager for a food security and microfinance initiative in Malawi. Stephanie holds a B.S.B.A in Business and International Studies from Saint Louis University. Research interests include resource economics with a focus on sustainable agriculture and ocean initiatives.
Mariam Tabatadze ’19 is a Fulbright scholar from Tbilisi, Georgia and an intern at the Innovation Facility at the Bureau of Policy and Planning Support of the UNDP. Mariam’s work experience as the government counterpart to the UNDP Georgia team on innovation projects enables her to have an in-depth understanding of her current internship. At the Innovation Facility, Mariam helps research cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, to understand their policy implications. Additionally, Mariam assists in monitoring of the projects funded by the Innovation Facility and formulating the stories to be featured in the 2017 Annual Report.
By: Erika Cox
Five IPED students spent the summer of 2017 learning French. Our resident Arrupe Fellows, Owen Fitzgerald and Therese “Tess” Hart, as well as Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) recipients Erika Cox, Margaret “Maggie” Hutchison and Sydney Kornegay attended Alliance Française to partake in a summer long language and cultural immersion.
Aside from offering 3 ½ hour, Monday through Friday intensive courses, Alliance Française provides various cultural and leisure activities to complete the immersion experience. Class sizes are small and the instructors are engaging, great at answering questions and conscious about allowing students to practice their speaking and listening skills. Students also take advantage of home stay services with a French family, ensuring immersion continues at home. To top it off, not only does Alliance Française have schools throughout France, but all over the world, so students can continue their studies regardless of geographic location.
When asked of her experience in Montpellier, Maggie Hutchison said, “There is a lot going on every day with festivals, night life, beaches and hiking opportunities nearby, shopping and many young people.” Yet, all this fun must be navigated in French, “because even the simplest of things like grocery shopping or traveling force you to practice your French skills.”
The cultural and language immersion is also a great way to network with international development professionals and maybe even catch up with old friends. France is incredibly diverse and opportunities abound to interact with people from all over the world. Arrupe Fellow Owen Fitzgerald, who served in Peace Corps Mali and has been playing the drums most of his life, even got to have a reunion concert with his band from Ghana. Miraculously, almost all of the band members happened to be in France for Bastille Day, a national holiday in France.
So, take the plunge and consider learning French with IPED. The summer immersion experience with Alliance Française offers a wealth of learning experiences for all levels. The courses are intensive and the opportunities for immersion are boundless. And while learning a new language isn’t always easy, the group always made sure to have fun while they were at it.
Three IPED students – Armand Aquino, Katie McCann, and Jackie Yap – spent their summer in France for an intensive French language study and cultural immersion with an Alliance Française Institution. Armand was in Toulouse; Katie was in Bordeaux; and Jackie began in Toulouse then continued on to Lyon.
Armand and Jackie were recipients of the 2016 Language Immersion Study Award (LISA) while Katie is an Arrupe Fellow who decided to use her summer grant from her fellowship to pursue French language study. French language study is part of their professional development to further their careers in international development.
Learning French at an Alliance Française Institution in France is a great opportunity because of the diversity of its students. Aside from the structured lectures, Alliance Française organizes a number of activities for its students so they can immerse themselves into the French culture. Such activities include guided tours of museums and the city, “art” hunting, and cheese (and wine) tasting (this is France, after all).
In addition, Alliance Francaise arranges homestays for the students which enables them to continue speaking in French even at home.
Armand and Katie shared that the summer experience has also been great opportunity for them to expand their network in the international development space. Both have met people working in international organizations such as the International Red Cross and World Food Programme who like them are studying French for their own professional development.
When asked for advice to students considering a language study for the summer, Jackie said that “If you are just starting out in the language, I encourage you to take advantage of the language class (audit) at Fordham. It helped me learn the basics and allowed me to be more confident in practicing the language. Also, do not be afraid to practice and make mistakes. Many, if not everyone, appreciate the fact that you are trying to learn French.”
Armand in Toulouse, France
Jackie gives a two-thumbs up to the French Cuisine even though she accidentally ordered frog legs despite the waiter’s attempt to translate what “grenouille” means.
Katie in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
Katie, Jackie, and Armand showing their IPED pride at Lourdes, France