Allyson Hawkins (Jordan)

Allyson is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is pursuing a master's in Human Security and Gender in the Middle East. Prior to Fletcher, Allyson spent two years in Tunisia teaching English with AMIDEAST, learning Arabic at the Bourguiba Institute for Modern Languages, and travelling. She also worked for Layalina Productions, Inc., a DC based nonprofit that produces award winning films and television series that aim to bridge the divide between the Arab world and the United States. At Layalina, Allyson served as Coordinating Producer and Production Supervisor for "Yemeniettes," a documentary that follows a team of teenage girls as they strive to break barriers of traditional Yemeni society through entrepreneurship. She is incredibly excited to return to Jordan, where she first studied abroad in 2010, and learn more about the issues facing Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Amman through working with the Collateral Repair Project. Allyson is originally from New Hampshire, and holds a BA in Government from Smith College in 2011. After her fellowship, Allyson wrote: "The training I received from AP ensured that I would be able to contribute to my host's efforts in a meaningful way. Knowing that I was able to build capacity and contribute to sustainable programs made my fellowship experience not only useful for my host, but rewarding for me."



The calm before the storm: pre-departure musings from a 2016 peace fellow

27 May
Sunset over Amman

Sunset over Amman

Hello! My name is Ally Hawkins and I’ll be serving as a Peace Fellow for the Advocacy Project this summer. I plan to use this space to reflect on the work I’ll be doing through AP with The Collateral Repair Project in Jordan. CRP is a grassroots organization bringing much-needed assistance to refugees and other victims of war and conflict living in Amman. I’ll be working closely with their Hope Workshop, a cooperative craft group led entirely by Iraqi and Syrian refugee women, to not only produce sellable handicrafts, but to create a long-term, income generation program that can be sustained by Workshop members after my departure.

On Monday, the Advocacy Project’s 2016 Peace Fellows traveled to Washington, D.C. for a week of training prior to the start of our various fellowship assignments. We’ve received training on managing social media for non-profits, podcasting, videography, and photography. We’ve discussed the challenges and rewards of working with community-based organizations. We’ve developed work plans for our individual fellowships and discussed ways we can best serve our host organizations. It’s been a week full of helpful information, practical skill-building, and lots of reflection.

However, on my meandering, sunny walks to and from our meetings each day, my mind settles and centers on what I’ve learned this week from the other fellows. Sharing stories, exchanging ideas, and benefiting from each other’s expertise has been a true highlight of this weeks’ training for me. Having dedicated time to contemplate the work I will do this summer, how best to approach and build relationships with members of CRP, and setting clear goals has been incredibly valuable. Not often do we slow down and critically examine our intentions and objectives before diving right into work. As someone who is used to just hitting the ground running, I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to take pause and thoughtfully prepare for what I’m sure will be a challenging summer of learning and listening.

allyson training

Practicing photography at AP training

On a more personal note, my connection to CRP dates all the way back to 2010. During a semester studying Arabic abroad at the University of Jordan, a dear friend and classmate of mine introduced me to CRP. It was my first true exposure to non-profit work, and the experience sparked my interest in refugee issues, women’s economic self-sufficiency, and international education.  Having the opportunity to volunteer with CRP again is a true piece of good fortune, and an opportunity to learn more from the community members that they serve.

Jordan is the first place I ever traveled outside of the United States and holds a special place in my heart. It’s a place that has taught me the meaning of hospitality, demonstrated the true tolerance and resilience of Jordanians, Palestinians, Iraqis, and Syrians, and challenged me to listen and learn from the experiences of those around me. I’m excited to travel back again and continue to develop my relationship with such a special place, collaborate with an amazing group of people at CRP, and inshallah, enjoy some delicious mansaf and lemon mint juice!

Posted By Allyson Hawkins (Jordan)

Posted May 27th, 2016

7 Comments

  • Amanda

    June 3, 2016

     

    It’s great that you have a personal connection to Jordan and CRP specifically. We’re certain you will do tremendous work these next ten weeks and are eager to hear all about it!

  • Hannah Chi

    June 9, 2016

     

    Hi Allyson, it must be so exciting for you to return back to Jordan! It sounds like you are going to be doing incredible work, and I can’t wait to hear about your experiences through this blog. Best of luck, and I hope you have a great stay!

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