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Published by Obse.ababiya, 2017-02-02 11:37:34

IDN Winter 2017 Newsletter

IDN Newsletter_WInter 17_Spreads

Keywords: Building Peace Locally and Globally




Bridging Development Practice and Scholarship in an Evolving World








IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 2

In This Issue

2 Emory 21 Days of
Peace: Building Peace
Locally and Globally

10 Radhika Balakrishnan:
Economic Policy
for Social Justice

13 Notes from ELMO in
the field

15 Making U.S.
Graduate Education
Accessible to

2 Liberian Students

10 15 Bridging
13 Development Practice

and Scholarship in
an Evolving World

Cover Photo credit: Ann Borden, Emory Photo/Video

From the Director

Building Peace
Locally and Globally

I have a special attachment to South Africa. Although I grew Black Lives Matter - USA Fees Must Fall - South Africa
up in Ohio, my late father grew up in Port Elizabeth, South
Africa, and left when he was a young man because apartheid are shaped by the global neoliberal consensus, which is driving
educational policies prohibited him from completing his the state to retreat from support for higher education.
education. Most of my family is still there, and I follow news
from South Africa closely and visit as often as I can. The promise of higher education is that it will lead to greater
social equality or at least improve the lives of those who are
During the past year, I have been troubled by news about educated. But on both sides of the world, that promise remains
countrywide student protests known as the #FeesMustFall unfulfilled. As protests here and in South Africa demonstrate,
movement and harsh treatment of protesters at the hands of even when students from underrepresented groups gain
security forces. As a former antiapartheid activist, I wonder how access to higher education, it comes with the added cost of
the promise of one of Africa’s longest liberation struggles led facing up to institutional racism, patriarchy, and heterosexism,
to the present state of affairs. As an educator in the US, I can’t as well as microaggressions and exclusion.
help but be struck by parallels between the student protests in
South Africa and protests on American campuses. Ironically, then, the neoliberal promise of a better life through
education is undermined by the historical inequalities the
Students in the #FeesMustFall movement are protesting fee neoliberal world view seeks to deny. At the same time,
increases and the continuation of colonized education on however, global media and communication make it possible
campuses across the country. They also represent broader for protesters to share their grievances and analyses, and, in this
currents of dissatisfaction within South Africa. way, find common cause with those halfway around the world.

In November, Brett Pyper spoke to a group of faculty and “Emory’s 21 Days of Peace” highlighted the efforts of
students about the #FeesMustFall movement when he peacebuilders in our own community and challenged us to
visited Emory to receive the 2016 Sheth International Alumni make connections between local and global efforts to work for
Award. Pyper, an ethnomusicologist who heads the School positive peace—that is, not just the absence of violence but
of Arts at the University of Witwatersrand, talked about also the pursuit of social justice. I venture to guess that many of
the social and political forces fueling the #FeesMustFall those who attended Pyper’s presentation were, like me, wanting
movement: the vestiges of racial segregation, on-going to understand what was happening with #FeesMustFall in
socioeconomic inequality, inadequate and unequal primary South Africa. Although I certainly came away with that, I also
and secondary education systems, lack of government gained a sense of how student protests taking place where
support for public education, and troubling questions about my father’s education stalled, half a world away, are similar
whether higher education is truly meeting the needs of an and connected to sources of tension and protest right here
increasingly diverse student population. where I work and live. Even more important, I have a deeper
appreciation of students’ commitment to higher education
Sound familiar? He might have been describing tensions that that supports peace with social justice, and a renewed sense of
are playing out on many campuses across the US, including hope that when people around the world are able to connect,
here at Emory. The reasons for protests half a world away peace and social justice will prevail.
and here at home are not only similar; they also challenge us
to think about how they are connected and what it means to SITA RANCHOD-NILSSON
work for positive, sustainable peace.
Student protests in South Africa and the US reflect a range of INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPING NATIONS
interrelated sociopolitical and economic issues. In both cases,
higher education is taking place within contexts characterized
by high levels of socioeconomic inequality that are historically
rooted and persistent. Educational policies in both countries

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 1

21 Days OF Peace In 1981, the United Nations established
September 21 as the International Day of
BUILDING PEACE LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY Peace, with the goal of “commemorating and
strengthening the ideals of peace both within
and among nations and peoples.”

This year, the Institute for Developing Nations, in collaboration with Emory Campus
Life, The Carter Center Human Rights Program, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, was
inspired to expand on the one-day campaign by developing a three-week calendar
of events titled, Emory 21 Days of Peace. In the hopes of affirming peace as an
alternative to the seemingly ubiquitous violence around the world, the goal of this
inaugural effort was to educate, inspire, and empower students working for peace
both in their local and global communities.

The organizers of Emory 21 Days of Peace drew inspiration from the distinctive
partnership between Emory and The Carter Center as well as the role that Emory
community members can play by engaging in peacebuilding activities. With
a lineup including lectures and workshops that offered practical strategies for
creating change, the theme of the inaugural Emory 21 Days of Peace was Building
Peace Locally and Globally. Organizers emphasized that peace is much more than
the absence of violence; positive peace is based on social justice for all. With the
interconnected realities of our world, taking steps to build peace locally can affect
positive changes on a global scale.

PHOTO: Emory 21 Days of Peace Finale. Emory student peacebuilders with Jason Carter.
L to R: Jason Carter, Siti Sarah Muwahidah, Chris and Peter Dickson, and Iyabo Onipede.
(Photo: Bryan Meltz, Emory Photo/Video)



“When Peace Journalism was first articulated as a principle, it addressed almost Peace
exclusively the coverage of wars, but Peace Journalism is applicable for many Journalism:
domains such as covering stories on refugees, crime, terrorism, racial issues, and An Introduction
yes, in covering elections. . . . Peace Journalism is when reporters and editors make
choices that can create an atmosphere conducive to peace.” Sept 12

STEVEN YOUNGBLOOD Moving from Conflict Mediation
to Peacebuilding in the Middle


• Focuses on finding solutions and not just capturing the dramatic features of an event.
• Shifts the paradigm of journalism from sensation and drama to telling stories about people.
• Allows us to find solutions to complex problems by truthfully telling stories.

Hrair Balian, the director of the Conflict Resolution
Program at The Carter Center, drew on his experience
working in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the
independent states emerging from the former Soviet
Union, and the Middle East and Africa to offer his
perspective on peace building: “If you want peace, you
must talk with everyone. You have to speak to people
who look different from you and with whom you
aren’t comfortable speaking.” Regarding Syria, Balian
explained that as a result of the conflict in that country,
five to six million people are refugees while another
seven to nine million are internally displaced. “We have
no right not to hope for peace, and if we don’t try our
best every day to put an end to this carnage, who will?”

TOP: Danielle Taylor Ehioghiren, program associate, Human
Rights Program, The Carter Center (Photo: The Carter Center)
BOTTOM: Hrair Balian, director, the Conflict Resolution
Program, The Carter Center (Photo: The Carter Center)

where you are, and it can



IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 3

Sept 14 “Students are a major part of social change and have tremendous power . . . an
effective and lasting social change needs a systematic, measureable method.”
A Student Workshop on STEPHANIE SORQUIRA

Below is a tool that Sorquira offered Emory students as a method for organizing and tracking
social change.


Shift in Current Desired Activity Dates
Awareness Condition Condition Activity Dates
Activity Dates
Shift in Current Desired Activity Dates
Behavior Condition Condition Activity Dates

Shift in Current Desired
Engagement Condition
Sept 15 Shift in Current Condition

Poetry Night Public Policy Condition Action Plan

Holding Current
the Line Condition

Sept 21 During one of his classes that he refers to as a laboratory, Candler School of Theology Professor
Gregory Ellison invited Ed Lee, executive director of community, and James Roland, senior
Not Just a Response: director of community programs—both with Emory Campus Life—for a discussion of the
A Just and Peaceful Response shifting narratives of peace.

Ellison asked, “Is upward mobility the measure of success? Is money the measure of success? Or
is it creating a space for solidarity and peace—a way in which we measure life’s greatest joys
and fulfillment? Let’s explore a new narrative for peace.” Ellison is also the founder of Fearless
Dialogues, a nonprofit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have hard,
heartfelt conversations on taboo subjects such as racism, classism, and community violence.

Lee referred to “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke, an exchange between a soldier,
Franz Kappus, and the poet Rilke in the late 1800s that explores the individual struggles between
finding inner peace and being a poet while serving one’s country as a soldier. He asked the
audience to explore their own internal struggles to be committed to peace, as peace starts with
the individual: “Think about how we position ourselves in relation to the notion of peace . . .
there are soldiers who see themselves as peacemakers. We would like to think that the true
peace makers are the poets and artists . . . the question lies in how we exist between being
soldiers and poets.”


Sept 21

Peace Day Finale

Lessons from the Next Generation of Peacebuilders:
A Conversation with Jason Carter

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, Jason Carter—grandson working in a mine. It was all designed to teach people
of President Jimmy Carter, chair of The Carter Center’s to live within this terrible system.
Board of Trustees, and partner at Bondurant Mixson &
Elmore—shared a powerful story and a lesson he learned While he was there, he rented a room from a woman whom
as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa from a woman he refers to as his second grandmother. Her name is Selina,
he called Gogo. but he calls her Gogo, which means grandmother in the
Zulu language. Gogo lived her whole life constrained by
Jason Carter was in South Africa during the time of apartheid. She was born and lived in a location that was
Mandela’s presidency and lived in a small community exclusively for black people. She had lived through the
where people carried their water from a river and built their apartheid education system. She eventually went to work
houses out of sticks and mud. Apartheid had just ended, in a sweater factory in Pretoria because that was one of the
and, he says, few jobs available to her. After that, Gogo worked as a maid
for a white family and then, in 1975, which is the year that
the wound of that was still present as it defined people Carter was born, she was forcibly removed from her home
by race and allocated to them places where they in a township outside of Pretoria and taken to the middle of
could live, allocated to them jobs, allocated to them nowhere and dropped off.
an education system designed to teach people in
accordance to their opportunities in life . . . what that When Carter arrived 23 years later, Gogo was a prominent
meant was that in black schools they were teaching member of her community. She served as chairperson
people how to follow instructions but not how to do of the school governing body, the postmaster, and the
much critical thinking or public speaking, even the landlord of a facility that had a dressmaker, shoe repair, a
lessons on reading comprehension were focused on general store, and a gas station with a mechanic. She also

PHOTO: Jason Carter with student peacebuilders during the Emory 21 Days of Peace finale. L to R: Chris and Peter Dickson, Jason Carter,
Siti Sarah Muwahidah, and Iyabo Onipede (Photo: Bryan Meltz, Emory Photo/Video)

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 5

had a number of cattle that she managed on STUDENT PEACEBUILDERS SHARE THEIR STORIES Jason Carter taking a selfie with Siti Sarah Muwahidah
her own. Gogo had gotten an award from during the Emory 21 Days of Peace finale. Earlier, Muwahidah
the United Nations for a women’s gardening remarked on the power of positive personal narrative and
project that she had funded and operated. She visual campaigns via social media to diffuse prejudice against
ran a church out of her house, with a women’s “the other.” (Photo: Bryan Meltz, Emory Photo/Video)
group on Wednesdays and service on Sundays.
She also had a preschool where she spent A graduate of the Candler School of Theology,
most of her time. She would stay up at night Iyabo Onipede is currently a leadership
writing applications for government grants by development coach and a facilitator for Fearless
hand. Almost 60 kids came to the preschool, Dialogues, a nonprofit committed to creating
where she taught them English and math and unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in
fed them three times a day, which was the only difficult heartfelt conversations that see gifts in
time they ate. others, hear value in stories, and work for change
and positive transformation in self and other.
Carter says,
She explained:
What I think about, when I think about
Gogo, is what she would have done if she Peacebuilding starts with the individual . . .
had been Jimmy Carter’s grandson, or if we must see each other’s humanity . . . we
she had gotten to go to Emory, or even must alter the way we relate to one another,
if she had been born in the United States not based on race, gender, and titles but on
instead of in South Africa? I mean the way the basis of our gifts and contributions to
in which she tackled her community and the world and . . . one of the things we do
added to that community and believed in at Fearless Dialogue is getting you to take
herself and her ability to be a change agent that suit off, the psychological armor that we
is just incredible. are taught to wear in society that hides our
souls, that helps us not be real people and
Carter’s story reminded the audience that disconnects us from others. These suits or
those who graduate from Emory, or any roles that we play—we live in to them and up
university, are very unlikely to experience to them and we think that’s all of who we are
starvation, struggle to find employment, or . . . we often talk about moving institutions,
to die from a disease that can be cured with systems, countries, religions, but where is the
antibiotics. The tools we have to bring people person in it?
together and facilitate understanding are
really remarkable. He concluded, “All of us who
are here have so much power to make change.
We all have to figure out what to do and how
to use our resources.”

Carter shared this perspective as part
of a conversation with Emory student
peacebuilders, who also shared stories
about building peace locally and globally.
The students included Chris and Peter
Dickson, founders of Brothers for Peace and
representatives of Emory Center Advancing
Nonviolence (ECAN); Siti Sarah Muwahidah,
doctoral student in the Graduate Division
of Religion focusing her studies on Islam
and Peace; and Iyabo Onipede, facilitator for
Fearless Dialogues.


“Peace is important to me personally
as a Muslim woman from Sudan who
was raised in Alabama and personally
witnessed and was shaped by two different
parts of the world facing similar issues
of race, gender, religious, economic, and
political, social injustices on different
levels. I wanted to discuss peace and how
people facilitate it in their day-to-day life,
what peace meant to them and specifically
how students on college campuses
promote peace. . . . As a student organizer
who was integrally involved in creating
Emory 21 Days of peace, I played a large
role in the photo campaign where, for one
month, we invited students to share what

they are doing to support peace.”



“I loved that the 21 Days of
Peace was created by integrally

involving students for the
student community to learn more

about social justice and take
action. Jason Carter and Sarah
Muwahidah were particularly
engaging speakers at the finale.
I also posted this picture and
attended the Organizing for Peace
workshop. I look forward to next

year’s 21 Days of Peace!”


IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 7


IDN Emory @idn_emory • Sept 13

What are Emory students doing to support peace?
#Emory21DaysofPeace #PeaceDayChallenge

The United States Institute for Peace retweets what Emory students are doing to support peace.


The Sehwe Village Percussion performs on Emory’s Quadrangle during the International Day of Peace
(Photo: Bryan Meltz, Emory Photo/Video)

Muwahidah is a current fellow of the deeply wounding ourselves. And conflict
ELMO Initiative, a collaboration between that isn’t transformed is transmitted. Our
The Carter Center, the Institute for own wounding and conflict will continue
Developing Nations, and the Laney to be transmitted until we transform it.” —
Graduate School. She managed a project Chris Dickson
on Islam and human rights that involved
more than 100 high schools in Indonesia, Peter described how this thinking shapes
where she was responsible for developing their interactions: “In every workshop—
curriculum as well as teacher trainings. whether we are with elementary school
Muwahidah also organized interfaith students or faith-based groups—we begin
exchanges, bringing religious leaders by asking this question, What is violence or
and scholars from different parts of the what daily conflicts do you deal with?”With
world to Indonesia to exchange ideas on the goal of building “true peace,” which
topics such as Islam and human rights, is defined as the presence of justice and
combating radicalism, and more. brotherhood, the question is posed in the
hopes of allowing participants the chance
Muwahidah explained, “At Emory, I am to reflect on the barriers to experiencing
working on research that focuses on true brotherhood.
Sunni and Shia conflict and coexistence
in Indonesia. Making my research Chris rounded out the discussion with
available and accessible to all in various a quote from civil rights leader Bernard
publications and languages that will Lafayette, who says, “Violence is the
engage religious leaders as well as language of the inarticulate.” Chris adds,
scholars in dialogue is important to me “We’ve seen our generation’s need for
as I don’t want my work to be seen as a raising up poets and dreamers to give
Western influence on Islam or Indonesia, us the language and tools to articulate
or yet another form of colonialism.” ourselves in a constructive way because if
we don’t have that, conflict will continue to
For Peter and Chris Dickson, peace starts be destructive, and it will tear at the fabric
with the understanding that everyone is of what communities, schools, churches,
wounded. “We are either acting out on and institutions are trying to build.”
those wounds by knifing others or more

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 9

Radhika Professor Radhika Balakrishnan
Balakrishnan thinks that economic policy based
on human rights has the potential
Economic Policy to transform the global economy
for Social Justice in ways that will have far-reaching

consequences for global justice.
As a scholar and feminist, as

well as human rights advocate,
Balakrishnan is passionate about
creating a new normative framework
for economic policy. In June, she

gave a riveting presentation at
The Carter Center’s Human Rights

Defenders Forum titled “A Time
for Peace: Rejecting Violence to
Secure Human Rights.” In October,
IDN Director Sita Ranchod-Nilsson
invited Balakrishnan to talk about
her work as part of Emory 21 Days of
Peace and The Carter Center’s Forum
on Women. What follows are edited
excerpts from those presentations.

Radhika Balakrishnan is the faculty director of the Center How can people meaningfully hold governments
for Women’s Global Leadership and professor of Women’s accountable for economic policies that violate or
and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She earned a PhD are not conducive to basic human rights? There are
in economics from Rutgers University. She is commissioner for the traditional, legal human rights processes but what
Commission for Gender Equity for the city of New York and the co- about Occupy Wall Street and people’s movements?
chair of the Civil Society Advisory Committee for the United Nations How do we think of this going forward?
Development Program. Balakrishnan’s work focuses on gender and
development, gender and the global economy, human rights and I wish there was an easy answer to this. The first thing
economic and social rights. Her research and advocacy work that’s really important is to understand economic policy.
has sought to change the lens through which macroeconomic Economics is not that complicated and yet too often we
policy is interpreted and critiqued by applying international leave economic policy to the technocrats. We think, “oh,
human rights norms to assess macroeconomic policy. that’s something that economists do,” and we don’t do it.


Also, many of us in the profession try to make it something One of the things that Occupy Wall Street really did was
that is difficult to understand with mathematical models I bring attention to the fact that economic policy as it
am not saying that it is simple, but the basics of economics currently manifests is not doing right by everyone and it is
is something I think most people can understand. the 99 percent that is being left out.

The second thing is to really look at the purpose of the Your vision for economic policy that supports
economy and why we participate in it. We think there is human rights and social justice seems to be
something called the economy and we all try to work in it a call for strengthening democracy—more
or against it. But how do we actually formulate economic transparency, more participation and more
policy and to what end? It’s important to remember that deliberation. That seems like a far cry from
economic policy changes. It’s not something written in the technocratic approaches that currently
stone. So, how do we understand the different forms of dominate our national and international
economic policymaking that have taken place over time economic institutions.
and understand why we are here at this place at this time?
Focusing on technocratic solutions is how we’ve gotten into this
problem. TINTA—there is no technocratic answer—is a term my
coauthors and I came up with after speaking in NGO communities
where we were constantly being asked for blueprints for a human
rights economy. One of the really important contributions of
human rights is that human rights is a process, not a technocratic
approach. Transparency, accountability, and participation
must be part of economic policymaking and currently they
are not. This requires knowledge of the economy beyond
mainstream, neoclassical economics in order to know that there
are alternatives. The hegemony of neoclassical and neoliberal
economics since the 1980s is overwhelming. There are only
four universities in this country that have PhD programs that
teach anything except neoclassical economics. We really need
to push for a new paradigm shift in terms of how economics is
taught and understood.

Do the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
provide a framework for economic policies that
support human rights? On the one hand, the
consultative process that led to the development of
the SDGs was very inclusive and the SDGs explicitly
address human rights. But, on the other hand, the
International Financing for Development meetings
in Addis following adoption of the SDG framework
were disappointing because they looked to
public-private partnerships for financing and
did not come up with a way to limit corporate tax
shelters. Given your work with the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) and the United
Nations Commission on the Status of Women
(UNCSW), do you have any insights about
where we go from here?

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 11

Photo: Radhika Balakrishnan addressing an audience at It is difficult to think about the radical potential
The Carter Center (Photo: The Carter Center) of human rights in the US when we are stuck in
the idea that it is either free-market forces that
I think the 2030 agenda is very open and has, for example, a dictate economic activity or a system of excessive,
goal of reducing inequality. However, it doesn’t really tell us centralized, state control. This dichotomy is not
that we need to change the economic system in order to do an accurate way of characterizing the economy
that. The indicators and goals are there, but we need to look and yet we seem to be stuck in it. How can a focus
at implementation, not the document itself. At the Center on human rights move us in the direction of a new
for Women’s Gobal Leadership, where we are the global normative framework?
coordinators of a coalition of feminists from around the
world who are looking at the implementation of the SDGs. Using a human rights framework does not dictate who
Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, which were very provides and fulfills human rights. It is not saying that only
fixed, the SDGs seem to have a little bit more space in what governments have to provide so, therefore, we need to
you can go in and actually do. nationalize everything. What it says is that the state is the
duty bearer who ensures that human rights are fulfilled.
In Addis, at the Financing for Development meetings, you If those rights are fulfilled through the private sector,
had lofty goals, but when it came to financing, nothing that is not bad. But the government has to regulate the
happened. They focused on increasing tax bases. No global private sector to ensure that human rights are protected
coordination in terms of tax shelters. If you’re going to and fulfilled.
increase your tax base and corporations are, for example,
going into all these African countries and taking resources I’ll give you an example. I worked with the former special
and leaving, what are those countries going to do unless rapporteur on Water and Sanitation. We brought together
there is global coordination? On public-private partnerships, a group of academics and activists to talk with her about
the reliance on the private sector to be the development policies on water, the commodification of water, the futures
agent is a real problem. I’m not saying that the private sector market in water, and what will happen in terms of access
is all bad, but to give up the role of the state and say the to water. One of the things she brought up about how the
private sector has more resources than we do and therefore privatization of water not always being a bad thing really
they’re the ones who have to do development won’t work. stays in my mind. In rural areas, there is often no public
The private sector is not in the job of fulfilling human rights. sector to handle the distribution of water. It is the private
Their job is to make profits. In terms of a human rights sector that actually gets people access to water, so one
framework, we have to hold the state accountable. Private cannot have an assumption that the private sector is bad
foundations are involved too, and there is no accountability and the public sector is good because, in the absence of a
of private foundations. I’m not saying the private sector is public sector, the private sector gets people access to water.
bad, but to give over development to the private sector is
falling into the neoliberal paradigm. On the other hand, the huge private sector that is
commodifying water and polluting it is another issue. If we
put access to water at the center of the question, then that’s
what you look at in terms of fulfillment of that right, not
necessarily whether the government does it or not. Human
rights does hold the state as a duty bearer, so there is a
particular role of the state which is incompatible with the
neoliberal ideal of the shrinking state that is only responsible
for providing the right to private property and making sure
that the system works. Holding onto a dichotomous view of
the state and the private sector is not working. If we say that
the fulfillment of human rights is the center of the purpose
of the economy, we may be forced to develop new ways of
thinking that are not stuck in the dichotomy.



in the field

WHEN EMORY UNIVERSITY The ELMO Initiative is a partnership
ANTHROPOLOGY DOCTORAL between the Institute for Developing
STUDENT KATHY TRANG Nations, Emory’s Laney Graduate
WAS AWARDED AN ELMO INITIATIVE School, and The Carter Center’s
TO SPEND SUMMER 2016 COLLECTING available to students, faculty, and
INTENSE EMOTIONS THAT WOULD MARK HER ELMO is The Carter Center’s open-source
RESEARCH ON THE HEALTH OF MEN WHO ELection MOnitoring data collection
HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM) AND MALE SEX and reporting system, specifically
WORKERS (MSW). MANY OF THEIR FINAL designed for low-infrastructure
SEVERAL OF THE MEN CAME OUT TO HER FOR observers can submit evaluations of
THE FIRST TIME AS HAVING SEX WITH MEN OR a process—via tablets (utilizing Open
AS BEING HIV-POSITIVE. Data Kit), SMS, or directly online—in
real time to mission headquarters.
Says Trang, “You know the statistics about these marginalized ELMO’s reporting system organizes
men—a third have contemplated suicide, over half have observer findings and is relied upon by
diagnosable depression, and approximately one-fifth suffer The Carter Center missions around the
from high anxiety, but it is different to see it played out in the globe to analyze data and to assess
context of a man across the table from you . . . it really hits elections as well as broader political
home, and I’ve had to pause several times because the men processes. ELMO is not limited to
start crying, sometimes uncontrollably.” election observation; it can be used for
research in any field of study, including
In many cases, the study became a lifeline for these men. She conflict, human rights, and health in
explained, “These men often reported feelings of intense developing nations to facilitate data
loneliness and feeling like they had no one they could trust in the collection, analysis, communication,
city, and in some ways participation in this research legitimated and reporting.
their experience. For some, it felt like there was someone at
the other end interested in what was going on in their lives.” In
fact, many of the participants were interested in repeating the
research and even doing it for longer periods of time.

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 13

as the area coverable within 10 minutes in either direction,
Trang mapped 170 neighborhood characteristics, taking
into account things such as broken alcohol bottles,
cigarettes on the ground, and fights they might have seen.

“You try to comfort them to
the best of your ability and
shift the focus away from
the horrible things that have
happened in the past to
something more positive...”

KATHY TRANG DURING HER ELMO FIELD RESEARCH IN She explains, “We were interested in if the physical
HANOI, VIETNAM, WITH HANOI MEDICAL UNIVERSITY environment led to predictive levels of stress or was it more
COLLABORATORS AND FRIENDS. about the social dimension—who they were interacting
with, whether they were able to manage their identity
When individuals first came into the clinic to participate, because they are so often stigmatized for the work they do.”
they were asked to draw on a map of Hanoi areas associated
with particular feelings (e.g., fear) and with particular social Trang’s research, completed in collaboration with the Center
activities (e.g., hanging out with friends). Next, they were for Research and Training on HIV/AIDS at Hanoi Medical
asked to install two mobile applications on their phone: one University, will illuminate whether particular groups of
for completing surveys and one for logging GPS coordinates individuals—by virtue of their socially marginal status—
daily. During the course of eight to 10 days, the 15 men more commonly traverse in areas associated with feelings of
were prompted eight times a day to complete a short discomfort, fear, and/or un-belonging, and whether being
form on their phone assessing their mood, level of stress, in those areas is correlated with increased negative affect
and whether they ate or slept. This material was all time- and stress. Delineating the locations of these physical and
stamped and GPS coordinate–stamped so the researchers psychosocial stressors, as well as their impact on health, has
knew where the participants were when they were stressed consequence for evidence-based preventive and treatment
or where they were when they felt as if they didn’t belong. interventions for young MSMs.

Trang used ELMO, The Carter Center’s mobile data collection When asked how she responded to the emotional final
and analysis system, to conduct a neighborhood mapping of interviews, Trang offers, “You try to comfort them to the best
six locations where MSWs and MSMs are known to frequent, of your ability and shift the focus away from the horrible
including parks, massage parlors, and undesignated strips things that have happened in the past to something more
of land populated by tea stands. Defining neighborhoods positive like imagining a life they would ideally want—
that’s not something that is always taught, but you want to
leave these men with a narrative that gives hope.”





ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION IS CRITICAL IF TODAY’S “Our work at the Institute of Developing Nations
STUDENTS ARE GOING TO DEVELOP SOLUTIONS TO focuses on new ways for higher education to help solve
GLOBAL PROBLEMS—THOSE WE FACE TODAY AND THOSE the world’s most complex development problems,
THAT WILL ARISE IN THE FUTURE. BUT STUDENTS OFTEN and if students like those we welcomed in November
ENCOUNTER BARRIERS TO HIGHER EDUCATION. THIS IS don’t have access to higher education, how will they
TRUE IN THE US AND ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR A GROUP OF play a role in leading sustainable development in
STUDENT LEADERS FROM LIBERIA WHO VISITED THE IDN Liberia and globally?” asked Sita Ranchod-Nilsson,
ON NOVEMBER 4 AND 5. director of the IDN.

L to R: Back: Rachel Lastinger - MDP, Nyenewle M. Dennis - UL, Gerome Bernard - UL, Abigail Lopez Rivera - MPH, Keifala F. Kanneh - UL, Patience Reeves - UL,
Sita Ranchod-Nilsson - IDN Director, Flomo K. Stevens - UL Assistant Dean, Damon Williams - Laney Graduate School, Director of Diversity, Community, and
Recruitment • Middle: Mackenzie Moody - MDP, Sarah Turkaly - MDP, Dickson G. Goffa - UL, Cynthia L. Blandford - Honorary Consul General to the Republic of Liberia,
Daniel T. Woart - UL • Front: Nicole Merino Tsui - MDP, Nicole McCoy - MDP • Abbreviations: MDP: Master’s in Development Practice; UL: University of Liberia

IDN NEWSLETTER Winter 2017 15

I am one of eight on the student exchange
program representing the Lux-in-Tenebris
honors program at the University of Liberia.
Our motto is Lighting the Darkness with
Character and Service. . . . All of my time in the
US has given me new ideas and education that
I will take back home and pass on to my friends
and family.



The seven Liberian students were all leaders in the Student and student organizations. Given that all seven students
Government Association at the University of Liberia. They were seniors who would be graduating in just a few
were visiting Emory as part of the University of Liberia months, they were especially interested in learning about
Student Leaders’ Experiential Learning Program, a tour graduate education at Emory.
of diverse US colleges and universities organized by the
University Consortium for Liberia. The students—along A discussion about graduate education with Damon
with Professor Flomo Stevens, assistant dean and adviser Williams—director of diversity, community, and
for the Experiential Learning Program—spent two days recruitment at Emory’s Laney Graduate School—and
at Emory meeting with students, touring the library, and students from the Master’s in Development Practice
learning about Emory’s Student Government Association Program revealed some of the extra barriers that Liberian
students must overcome to get into US graduate

This visit is very important for my students
because it helps them to look at how students
in the USA elect their student leaders and
how they relate to the administration of their
respective universities. It also exposes them
to new ways of approaching issues when they
return. This visit has also given my student
leaders the opportunity to interact with
their colleagues and administrators on how
they can take advantage of the admission
requirements to enroll at the various
universities visited.




programs. As Williams described the importance of students shared their experiences of applying to graduate
cultivating relationships with professor-mentors and how school and their current experience as graduate students
the admission process relies on letters from professors, in an internationally-focused degree. They offered advice
the Liberian students smiled uncomfortably and looked on selecting a school, a program, and the application
down. In Liberia, student-faculty relationships are often process, while also sharing their reasons for coming to
much more formal than those in the US and letters Emory. Williams offered to work with any Liberian students
of recommendation do not generally include lengthy interested in pursuing graduate education at Emory
assessments of a student’s intellectual interests and and promised to bring the problem of GRE access to the
capacity or information about their professional interests. attention the Educational Testing Services, the nonprofit
Williams and Flomo encouraged the students to cultivate organization that develops and administers the GRE.
relationships with their faculty.
The University Consortium for Liberia (UCL) was founded
In addition, the process of updating transcripts is often by the Honorary Consulate General for the Republic of
delayed because they are processed manually, not with Liberia in Atlanta, Cynthia L. Blandford, who commented:
software. But one of the biggest barriers confronting “Emory is an important institutional partner and IDN has
Liberian students who want to pursue graduate studies been a supporter providing interactions, engagement,
in the US is that the Graduate Record Examinations and capacity building for faculty and students. Sita has
(GREs) are not offered in Liberia. Liberian students must been strategic in making connections and in hosting
fly to a neighboring country, such as Ghana, where the Dr. Emmet Dennis, president of UL, to help strengthen
GRE is offered. The time and money required to make this relationships and the partnership between UL and Emory.
trip puts graduate education in the US out of reach for As the president and CEO of UCL, I am happy to help host
many Liberians. the seven University of Liberia student leaders and faculty
as they meet with SGA representatives and other student
Although these barriers are significant, the Liberian leaders. My hope is that one of these student leaders will
students were buoyed by their time at Emory and seemed one day study on the campus of Emory University.”
determined to continue their graduate education. MDP

My experience at Emory University during my student
exchange exploration was wonderful and life touching.
I am seeing student exchange to be very impactful. I
learned a lot in cultural exchange, sharing ideas with
fellow students and student government leaders which
greatly enhanced my leadership skills. I actually came
across a universe of knowledge at Emory. I am impressed
with the entire academic environment especially the
African students I met, the hospitality of the staff at
IDN, and the technical innovation of the University of
Liberia Consortium. I am particularly impressed with the
exceptional qualities of Emory University’s vision for global
transformation. I am considering enrollment at Emory for
graduate school to become part of this global network of
change through education.



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