Samantha Hammer (Kosovo Women's Network – KWN): Samantha earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in European Studies. She also worked at the Pacific Council on International Policy in her native Los Angeles, California, where she was the Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator of the Council's Equitable Globalization Committee. Samantha first became interested governance and human rights issues while traveling through the former Yugoslavia, and particularly Kosovo, during a college study abroad program in Budapest. At the time of her AP fellowship, Samantha was pursuing a Master of International Affairs degree at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. After her fellowship Samantha wrote: “The fellowship was very useful in understanding my own working style. I’ve learned I have good instincts about what will work and what won’t. It was a good opportunity to challenge myself to think from others’ points of view.”
On my first real day working for the Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women’s Organizations of Kosovo (RROGRAEK), I got to see how RROGRAEK is helping build the RAE women’s empowerment movement – and learned a bit about why that movement continues to struggle in the international development world.