Several students in the International Political Economy and Development program (IPED) will take prestigious positions with aid groups this fall, according to Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., IPED's director.
Bridget Bucardo Rivera, who will receive her master's degree in August, has been named an International Development Fellow by Catholic Relief Services, and will be assigned to Nicaragua in the fall. Through an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship, Rivera is currently working in El Salvador with Catholic Relief Services on a four-country initiative that assists 7,100 small holder coffee producers in Central American and Mexico.
John Briggs, also an August graduate, has been named an International Development Fellow by Catholic Relief Services, and in the fall will be assigned to Uganda. He is currently working in Honduras with Catholic Relief Services on a project that will offer at-risk and gang-involved youth with options for meaningful and sustainable livelihoods through vocational training. Briggs is also an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship recipient.
Catholic Relief services uses their International Development Fellows Program to recruit the best and brightest from among the graduates of the leading graduate programs in international development, according to Schwalbenberg, who says out of a thousand applications, only about 20 are chosen. The majority of the applicants come from large elite schools such as Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy and International Law and John Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies. Given the small size of the IPED program, Schwalbenberg said he is very pleased to account for about 10 percent of all successful applicants.
Chengguang Zhao, although not officially selected as an International Fellow, has been offered a contract to continue his work with Catholic Relief Services in Sierra Leone. Through an IPED International Peace and Development Travel Fellowship, Zhao has helped to implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture school feeding program. Zhao, also an August graduate, is currently involved with coordinating a grant proposal to USAID to help address Sierra Leone's extremely high child mortality rate: roughly 20 percent of all children in that country die before the age of 5.