Tag Archives: Latin America

Sonia Rangel, Mastering International Trade Relations

Sonia Rangel is a joint MPA/MAIR. In addition to her Fall Semester in Washington, DC, she interned at Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración in Mexico City and was part of a team of MPA students who completed a consulting project for Refugee and Immigrant Self Empowerment in Syracuse.

Former US Ambassador, Earl Antony Wayne, and Sonia Rangel at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Without a doubt, my internship this Fall Semester at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has been a meaningful and wonderful experience. I am a research intern for a Wilson Center Public Policy Fellow and former US Ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne. The internship has been a great opportunity to investigate economic issues and work closely with a former high level diplomat. This has been an exciting experience for me, because it has provided me with the opportunity to learn more about US – Mexico trade relations and economic ties, a vital topic for both countries that was often discussed during this past presidential election. I have developed a more nuanced understanding of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the benefits it has created for both the US and Mexican economy.

In conjunction with the internship, I am enrolled in a Maxwell course on International Trade and Economic Negotiations that has complemented my internship in many ways. The course has allowed me to understand the complexities of a trade negotiation process by which the rules of trade are developed. The research for my internship has exposed me to the effects of trade agreements once they have been implemented.

Additionally, it is a privilege to work at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a living memorial for President SummerWilson, the only US President with a doctorate degree, and a place of research for some of the brightest scholars and experts from around the world. The Center’s mission is focused on independent and in-depth research to form policy proposals through open dialogue. During the course of the internship, I have had the opportunity to attend forums and events hosted at the Wilson Center on a wide range of topics such as Brazil-US relations, transatlantic challenges in fighting violent extremism, and national security in Mexico. Furthermore, I work in an open space among other remarkably intelligent research assistants and scholars investigating a multitude of different issues and topics and have acquired knowledge through their research.

Working with Ambassador Wayne has been a valuable experience. I have developed a deeper understanding of trade and economic issues through the tasks that I have completed. Likewise, I have also enjoyed learning from his deep knowledge and practical experience. I also admire his high level of intuitiveness and graciousness towards all people. Overall, my experience at the Wilson Center has exceeded my expectations and has led to professional and academic growth.

Entrance to the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars

Sonia Rangel at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars library

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Melissa Horste Assists Civil Society in Chile

Melissa Horste is a joint MPA/MAIR student who will be graduating in June 2017. She took advantage of SU Santiago to intern and take courses at Pontificia Universidad Catolica.

Melissa Horste

During the fall of 2016, I interned for a small nonprofit in Santiago, Chile, called Fundacion Multitudes, which seeks to strengthen civil society and improve government transparency in Chile and the region. Admittedly, I felt like the oddball in the organization at first. As a former legislative aid, the nonprofit world is a little foreign to me and in Chile, I found myself having to navigate a different culture in terms of both the sector and the country itself. However, over the course of 4-months and more than 300 hours, my role in the organization shifted from a researcher to project manager as I gained a deeper understanding of the problems facing civil society in the region and put into use the tools we have gained at Maxwell.

Small nonprofits like Fundacion Multitudes rely heavily on a team of energetic, but unpaid, volunteers. As a relatively new nonprofit, Fundacion Multitudes doesn’t have a lot of financial resources, but it makes up for it in networking with other organizations both within Chile and abroad. Fundacion Multitudes has a lot of potential, and I aimed to help them improve their internal processes to build their own capacity. After helping them apply successfully for a grant, my boss made me project manager, and I quickly went to work on developing a Plan de Trabajo. What I thought was a simple Gantt Chart was a revolutionary tool for the organization. (A special ‘Thank you’ to Professor Schnell for introducing us to Tools4Dev, which I used as a constant reference during my internship.) I hope to leave the organization with a packet of tools like this so they are better equipped to develop proposals and implement projects in the future.

Melissa Horste at a geyser in Tatio, Chile

Learn More about SU Santiago

More Global Programs

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2016 & 2015

While we mostly cover the exploits of MAIR students on this blog, many MPA students do international projects and go on to work in the global sphere. The MPA Workshop is the culminating course for MPA candidates, where students work on a team of their classmates as consultants for real world clients.

Every year a number of international projects are offered. This year MPA project teams are currently working with the following clients on projects affecting the international community.

Client Project
U.S. Department of Justice, The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICIPTAP) Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for DOJ/ICITAP
Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE) RISE Strategic Plan
Global FoodBanking Network Critical analysis of current annual data sets collected from non-US partners
AtrocityWatch Creating version 2.0 of the AtrocityWatch Digital Strategy and Planning Roadmap

Last year, students worked with a number of organizations in Latin America in particular and with other organizations focusing on a diverse set of global issues.

Client Project
Ministry of Education of Peru (Ministerio de Educación del Perú), Public-Private Partnership Unit Proposed scheme for Public Private Partnerships in schools in Peru
World Vision Comparative Analysis of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Evaluation Policies
The Anticorruption Party of Honduras (Partido Anticorrupción de Honduras) (PAC) Support of the historic Honduras – Transparency International Agreement signed Oct. 6, 2014
Sense & Sustainability (S&S): Fresh Perspectives on Sustainable Development Developing a Fund Development and Nonprofit Management Strategy
U.S. Department of Justice, The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICIPTAP) ICITAP’s Analytical Approach to Establishing the Conditions Necessary to Promote Sustainable Institutional Development
Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) Performance Monitoring of Research and Ecotourism Lodges in the Context of Conservation NGO Goals: the case of the Amazon Conservation Association
Somali Bantu Community Association of Onondaga County (Now known as Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE)) SBCA Management Project

While there is no guarantee students will be placed on the exact project team that they would like, over 85% of students received their first or second project choices in the last two years. There are always a number of projects with an international focus for MPA students who want to use their public administration skills to address issues crossing borders.

Projects in Peru make an impact

The Amazon Conservation Association’s own Valerie Peterson said, “The students were extraordinary, and their work will have lasting impacts for years to come. We would look forward to working with your students again next year.” The project team delivered a final report to ACA outlining mechanisms to measure the performance of its ecotourism lodges in Peru. The project team consisted of Elena Borzenkova, Vivian Carandang-Smith, Anna Nicol, and Emily Simonson.

Utilizing remote conferencing, now MPA alumni Maria Laura Veramendi Garcia, Gonzalo Talavera Forlin, James Jarvis, and Gustavo Zanabria collaborated with the Public‑Private Partnership Unit of Peru’s Ministry of Education to create a report concerning recommendations to reduce the infrastructure gap in primary and secondary schools throughout the country.  The final report first analyzes educational PPPs in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the UK, then makes 13 key recommendations catered specifically to the Peruvian situation. According to faculty advisor Dr. David Van Slyke, “The quality of the work is very high. The sponsor is very happy. What’s especially exciting is that Syracuse as a location is not a barrier. We were skyped in with all the ministerial officials in Lima. The capstone’s group is going to have impact. And, the sponsor got this project for free”.

Photo provided by Jenn Calder from Flickr. Creative Commons license. View the photo on Flickr.

Small Staff, Tight Budget-Challenges Carla Nodi Faced at UN Women in Chile

As an International Relations student focusing on women’s rights, I had the privilege of working with UN Women during my semester in Santiago, Chile. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was actually the inaugural director of the organization in 2011, which makes the shared office space, small staff of four women, and equally small budget primarily sourced from the European Union an interesting challenge.

As an intern, I was responsible for facilitating internal operations through research, document drafting, and excel database development. I supported project implementation through inter-agency collaboration, communication with community stake-holders, and management of event logistics. I was able to participate in international campaigns such as the UNiTE campaign against gendered violence and the HeForShe campaign promoting an inclusive approach to gender equality; as well as domestic projects focusing on increased female political participation and leadership; street harassment; and closing the gendered wage gap in Chile.

In our world, 1 in every 3 women globally experiences physical or sexual violence. Millions of girls are being denied the opportunity to study, and two thirds of the illiterate population is made up of girls. Women struggle to enter the workforce, to be taken seriously, to rise to positions of leadership, and a significant wage gap leaves women more vulnerable to poverty. Only 22% of national parliaments are comprised of women, with only 11 serving as heads of state and 13 as heads of government. Women are disproportionately affected by health issues related to poverty, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, war, and lack of reproductive rights.

Organizations such as United Nations Women become ever more critical in the global fight for equal access to education and quality health care; the right to equal wages and the ability to actively participate, serve, and lead in our political systems; the right to live without fear of violence and harassment. I am incredibly grateful for the perspective I have gained during this semester and I hope to see both the financial resources and program capacity of this young organization grow as the world begins to recognize the need to prioritize women’s rights for the benefit of society.

Carla Nodi (far right) holding up a UN women Sign in Santiago

Carla Nodi (far right) holding up a UN Women Sign in Santiago

 

 

Edward Lynch, Latin America Security Assistance at the Center for International Policy

Edward Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis' visit

Ted Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis’ visit

Edward “Ted” Lynch is an MPA/MAIR student in the Maxwell School’s Public Administration and International Affairs Department.

This past fall I interned at the Center for International Policy (CIP). In the center’s Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) program, I focused on the region of Latin America, researching and writing about U.S. security assistance and military cooperation. Substantively, interning at a mid-sized think tank, within a collaboration oriented program afforded me opportunities to direct work towards my own interests as well as the more salient political developments which took place in the last half of 2015.

Most U.S. foreign policy junkies will remember 2015 as the year of the Iran Nuclear deal, the Paris bombings and the continued emergence of ISIL. By focusing on Latin America I was privy to more subtle developments in regional foreign policy.

We saw the downfall of Guatemala’s president through a corruption scandal, the recently concluded hunt for El Chapo Guzman in Mexico and closely contested elections in Argentina. The U.S. government took tougher measures with their partners in the region, withholding and reprogramming Merida Initiative security assistance to Mexico. The U.S. Department of the Treasury took the lead on tackling organized crime in Honduras, aggressively extraditing business magnates and political heavyweights in that country.

With relation to Colombia however, the U.S. backed down from longstanding extradition requests in an effort to foster peace negotiations between the FARC guerillas and the Colombian government which have been in protracted conflict for around 60 years. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars in Latin America to counter the illicit drug market, and one of my projects was to put this budget into context, comparing the amount of money transferred to the different regions of Latin America (the Andes, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) with the global counternarcotics strategy.

Outside of my internship, I took advantage of Syracuse University’s course offerings at CSIS to expand my knowledge of geographical regions outside of my specialty with the aim of becoming a well rounded practitioner. The DC campus opens up Maxwell students to a wealth of practitioner expertise, and I was lucky enough to learn about Africa from a development practitioner and South Asia from a former Pakistani diplomat. The Maxwell staff at CSIS, Ryan Williams and Samantha Clemencé, were instrumental in helping me process my internship experience and opening the Maxwell Alumni network to me, enabling me to find work and stay in DC for my final semester.

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Ted Lynch(The third from the right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy

Ted Lynch (third from right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy

Ryan Drysdale Gains First-Hand Info on US Foreign Policy Impacts in Chile

Ryan Drysdale spent his Summer and Fall Semesters in Santiago, Chile, improving his Spanish, interning at TechnoServe and taking courses through SU’s university partnerships. He is a MAIR student.

Chilean Diego Rivera, Maxwell MPA alumna Eliana Briceno, and Ryan Drysdale in front of the Chilean executive office called La Moneda

Chilean Diego Rivera, Maxwell MPA alumna Eliana Briceno, and Ryan Drysdale in front of the Chilean executive office called La Moneda

The Santiago Center through Syracuse University Study Abroad offers graduate students a unique opportunity to study at two of the best universities in Chile and South America while interning at a variety of organizations. During the Fall 2015 Semester, I was able to intern with the global NGO TechnoServe helping their Monitoring and Evaluation program track the progress of their initiatives working towards helping small entrepreneurs improve their business performance.

In addition to my internship, I took the two courses offered by the Santiago Center: 1) Environmental Policy in Chile and 2) Dictatorships, Human Rights, and Historical Memory in the Southern Cone. The highlight of the academic experience in Santiago was the latter course taught by historian and the center’s director, Professor Mauricio Paredes, a former member of the resistance against the Pinochet dictatorship who was detained and tortured.

Through declassified US government documents, visits to local museums and torture centers with Professor Paredes, and his engaging lectures, we gained a firsthand look at the impacts of US foreign policy and how those effects still linger today in Chile. The United States establishment in the 1970s during the Cold War, led by President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, feared the rise of democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende in the US sphere of influence. According to declassified documents, during a National Security Council meeting in 1970, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird stated: “We have to do everything we can to hurt Allende and bring him down.”

The US helped orchestrate a failed coup attempt against President Allende in 1970 and supported the successful coup against Allende in 1973 which brought General Augusto Pinochet to power. Seventeen years of military rule resulted in tens of thousands tortured and disappeared, over 400,000 forced into exile abroad, and the ushering in of neoliberal economic policies crafted by Milton Friedman which has led to Chile being one of the most unequal countries in the OECD today based on a Gini coefficient of 0.51 out of 1.0

Forty-five years after the US first started to meddle in Chile’s internal politics, the ramifications still exist. Our experience in Chile, however, coincided with a historical announcement by socialist President Michelle Bachelet to start a four year process to finally rewrite the current constitution implemented in 1980 under Pinochet’s brutal military rule. A major takeaway from the semester was seeing and hearing firsthand about the drastic impacts that foreign policy and geopolitical decisions can have for decades on a country and more importantly the people of that country.

Ryan Drysdale and Maxwell MAIR-ECON student Julianne Dunn on top of the Santa Lucia hill in the heart of Santiago, Chile

Ryan Drysdale and Maxwell MAIR-ECON student Julianne Dunn  on top of the Santa Lucia hill in the heart of Santiago, Chile

 

Ryan Drysdale is Repelling down a 75 foot cliff outside of Pucón, Chile

Repelling down a 75 foot cliff outside of Pucón, Chile