Michael Keller (Georgetown University) narrowly missed the 2005 Tsunami, which hit Sri Lanka shortly after Michael ended his fellowship at the Home for Human Rights in Colombo. Devastated by the news, Michael braved the winter and set up a fundraising table on the main campus at Georgetown University. He raised over $1,500 and sent it to HHR to be spent on destitute families in Batticaloa. Michael went on to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Read Michael’s blogs.
A Few of Her Favorite Things! Peace Fellow Mattea Cumoletti (Fletcher School at Tufts University) discovered a talent for podcasting during her fellowship in Greece in 2016, where she worked on the refugee crisis. We appreciated Mattea’s searching blogs and fine photos of refugees and we loved her inspired take-off from A Sound of Music. Mattea found that humor can help Fellows remain balanced even when they are dealing with deadly serious matters. Read Mattea’s blogs.
Peace Fellow Matt Becker (New York University) had to dig deep after suffering from a ruptured appendix during his fellowship in Bangladesh in 2012. Too ill to be be evacuated, Matt was operated on in Dhaka. Instead of leaving for home, he returned to his fellowship a week later. He is currently working at the US Department of State. Read Matt’s blogs.
Chantal Uwizera (American University, Washington DC) and Maelanny Purwaningrum (Oslo University) made an odd couple as they crisscrossed the district of Dang in Nepal in 2011 while serving as Peace Fellows at Backward Society Education (BASE). Maelanny, from Indonesia, and Chantal, a survivor from the Rwandan genocide, elicited affection and curiosity among their Nepali hosts. They are seen here with Corey Black from Canada, another 2011 Peace Fellow. Corey, Maelanny and Chantal are one of several multicultural fellowship teams that have made the world seem a little less divided. Read the blogs of Chantal, Corey, and Maelanny.
Danita Topcagic (Missouri University, 2008) is one of several former refugees who signed on as Peace Fellows to repay the kindness they received while they themselves were in dire need. Danita lived in the besieged enclave of Bihac, Bosnia, when she and her family were accepted as refugees by the US during the Bosnian war. Danita spent four months as a Fellow at BERDO in Bangladesh and used her own money to donate to BERDO’s school (photo). After her fellowship, Danita returned to Bangladesh to work with Rohingya refugees. Read Danita’s blogs.
Morgan Moses (Tulane university) produced a series of original and beautifully written blogs during her 2016 fellowship with Care Women Nepal in the mountains of eastern Nepal. One blog described how Morgan attended a prolapse surgery She was then invited to photograph the extracted uterus by the surgeon. Morgan – a pre-medical student – complied. She apologized to squeamish readers but insisted that the plight of Nepali women with prolapse should be honestly portrayed. Read Morgan’s blogs.
Susan Craig Greene (Essex University) was one of three brave Americans who volunteered with the Travelers of Dale Farm in southeast England during their long fight against eviction. Her compassion for the Travelers came out clearly in her blogs (2008-2011), but this also exposed her to a venomous response from locals. After a local paper profiled Susan it received many abusive comments from readers like “Gitreal” who wrote: “These do-gooders from across the pond make me want to vomit.” Susan – a resident of the UK – retained her composure and volunteered at Dale Farm until the Travelers were forcibly evicted in October 2011. Read Susan’s blogs.
Follow that Banana! Ted Mathys (Fletcher School at Tufts) has a passion for the environment. During his 2009 fellowship in Delhi, Ted decided to follow the environmental footprints of his breakfast – a banana and cornflakes. On a more serious note, Ted also produced research which showed that recycling reduces CO2 emissions. Ted’s paper, Cooling Agents, was published by his host, CHINTAN, and launched at the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen. After returning to the US, Ted wrote: “I learned to undertake rigorous research in difficult conditions and was challenged to think about poverty and the environment in much more complex ways.” Watch Ted talk about his fellowship and read his blogs.
Ai Hoang (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University) is one of many Fellows who have drawn on their experience in the field to conduct research for a Capstone paper before graduating. Ai spent six months in 2016 at the AEPD in Vietnam, where she raised funds for three families stricken by Agent Orange. The beneficiaries included Mai Thi Loi, seen here with her youngest son. Read Ai’s blogs here.
Karin Orr (Monterey Institute of International Studies) served as a Peace Fellow in Peru at EPAF in 2010 and then joined AP to manage the fellowship program until 2014. She is shown here at an AP quilt exhibition near Washington DC. Karin is currently studying for her doctorate at George Mason University and teaching nonprofit management at Johns Hopkins University. Read Karin’s blogs.
Stacy Kosko (Georgetown University), a former reporter, wrote over 80 articles for the Dzeno Association, a Roma news agency, while serving as a Peace Fellow in the Czech Republic in 2004. Of more lasting value, perhaps, was the knowledge she acquired about the discrimination facing Roma children in schools. After working at The Advocacy Project, where she managed the fellowship program, Stacy wrote her doctoral thesis on the Roma. She is an acknowledged expert in the field and a professor at The University of Maryland. Read Stacy’s blogs.
After returning back from her 2014 fellowship at Sini Sanuman in Mali, Giorgia Nicatore (Georgetown University, seen at the far left) led a panel discussion at the University’s Department of African Studies. Panelists included the Malian ambassador in Washington and other experts. The ambassador gave the first official Malian reaction in the US to a recent terrorist attack on a popular hotel in Bamako. Read Giorgia’s blogs!
AP is deeply committed to education and hosts undergraduate interns at the Washington office in the summer to back up Fellows in the field. In the process, interns like Laura Stateler (Boston College), Rachael Hughen (George Washington University) and Kay Scanlon, (Salve Regina University) earn academic credit while learning about the practical and academic challenges of peace and development. Meet our 2016 interns.
Sarah Reichenbach (George Washington University, 2015) designed and published a new website for her host organization, BOSFAM. She then helped BOSFAM put the website to use by promoting a major exhibition of BOSFAM’s memorial quilts at the site of the Srebrenica massacre – 20 years to the day after the massacre – and appealing for funds for a new BOSFAM workshop which had been damaged in a flood. Together, Sarah and AP raised almost $5,000 for the workshop and enabled the weavers of BOSFAM to resume their traditional craft. Watch Sarah’s video about BOSFAM, and read her blogs.
Scarlett Chidgey (Berkeley University) was already an accomplished photographer when she served at the Kinawataka Women Initiatives in Uganda in 2011. Scarlett is one of many Fellows who took superb photos during their fellowships and helped AP to promote the work of their host organizations. They include Seth McIntyre, whose outstanding photos of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam helped to put a human face on this devastating crisis. View Scarlett’s photos here and read her blogs.
Devin Greenleaf (American University) drew on his journalism during his fellowship at the Jagaran Media Center in Nepal in 2008 while honing his own skills in new media. Devin helped the JMC’s network of Dalit reporters to produce reports on discrimination for dissemination in Nepal and internationally. Later Fellows picked up where he left off and helped the reporters post blog pages. Their work motivated JMC to become one of Nepal’s leading practitioners of social media in advocacy. Devin went on to work at Al Jazeera (US). He is currently a producer at Vice Media. Read Devin’s blogs.
Like many past Peace Fellows, Jesse Cottrell (Columbia University) took advantage of AP’s training and compelling material to hone his passion for video during his fellowship at the AEPD in Vietnam in 2012. His video on the three remarkable Phan siblings, who were struck down by Agent Orange but have built a successful business, remains one of the strongest ever made by AP and helped to lay the foundation for our current program for Agent Orange families. Jesse is seen here with Cao Thi Men and Long Ngru, two craftswomen who produced The Vietnam Disability Quilt. Read Jesse’s blogs.
Ash Kosiewicz (Georgetown University) was the first Peace Fellow to use video clips (vlogs) to tell the story of his fellowship at EPAF in Peru in 2008. This paid off when Ash attended EPAF’s exhumation of the Putis massacre victims in Ayacucho (photo). Ash’s vlogs like this one, which shows how EPAF realized where the victims had been shot, provided a unique record of the exhumation. Ash, a former journalist, has made good use of the skills he learned as a Fellow. He works at the World Food Program where he produces podcasts and other content on WFP’s important mission. Read Ash’s blogs.
Peace Fellows have helped AP to raise almost $3 million for partners since 2003. They included Annelieke Van der Weil, right, from Amsterdam University, who organized a fundraiser in Kampala for her host, the Gulu Disabled Persons Union, in 2008. Annelieke is seen here with her co-host, Dorah Mwima, Miss Uganda 2008. The event attracted several leading Ugandan corporations and showed that corporate philanthropy was alive and well in Uganda. 2016 Fellows raised over $10,000 through Global Giving – a record. Read Annelieke’s blogs.
AP asks Peace Fellows to seek innovative solutions and none has done it better than Ned Meerdink (Wisconsin University). During his 2008 fellowship in Uvira, South Kivu (DRC) Ned developed contacts with local advocates like environmentalist Clement Kitambala. Clement and Ned built a machine that turned agricultural waste into cooking brickettes, as shown in this video. This proved useful after AP helped SOS Femmes en Danger launch a major program in support of rape survivors in 2010. The new fuel relieved the pressure on women to seek firewood in the woods, where they were at risk from attack. Brickette machines became a staple of this and other programs. Read Ned’s blogs.
Peace Fellows receive an intense grounding in project management, and Charlotte Bourdillon (Tufts University) took full advantage of this during her fellowship at Kakenya’s School of Excellence in western Kenya in 2011. Founded by the inspiring Kenya educationalist Kakenya Ntaiya, the school was passing through a difficult transition in 2011, while Kakenya completed her doctorate in the US. Charlotte’s steady hand helped to see the school into calm waters and KCE is now world-renowned. Kakenya herself was a CNN top 10 hero in 2013. Charlotte’s commitment to service has led her most recently to Rwanda. Read Charlotte’s blogs.
Walter James (University of Maryland) is one of many Fellows who have used their time in the field to prepare for a career in human rights or development. Walter served two tours for AP in the DR Congo. During his second tour in 2011 he helped SOS Femmes en Danger manage a large program for rape survivors. He is seen here at the helm of a new water well, which was installed to reduce the exposure of women to rape, as Walter explains in this video. After his fellowship, Walter joined the American Refugee Committee to work on the crisis in South Sudan and the ebola outbreak in west Africa. He currently works in Rwanda. Read Walter’s blogs.
Ted Samuel (Kenyon University) an art scholar, used his 2008 fellowship in Nepal to understand the culture of the Dalit. He became particularly interested in the music of the Ghandarba, a sub-group of the Dalit. On his return to the US Ted helped with the making of a prize-winning documentary, The Mountain Music Project: A Musical Odyssey from Appalachia to Himalaya, which found common musical traditions between musicians from the Ghandarba and Appalachia. Ted also considered writing a cookery book of Ghandarba recipes. Ted has a PHD in cultural anthropology and directs a study abroad program for George Washington University in southern India. Read Ted’s blogs.
A sampling of AP videos about how Peace Fellows live and the kind of work they do