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GEP/NRSD students win Boren Fellowships and Fulbright Scholarships

2013 Boren Fellowships

The Global Environmental Politics program would like to congratulate Jeanine Finley, Olivia Gilmore, Sierra Ramirez, and Jes Walton for receiving the prestigious Boren Fellowship. 

The David L. Boren Fellowship, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) provides up to $30,000 to graduate students for research and language study in areas of the world critical to U.S. interests. This highly competitive, national competition seeks out distinguished and motivated students with a strong commitment to public service for research and study overseas, ranging from 12 weeks to one year. Upon their return to the U.S., award recipients will work in qualifying national security positions for a minimum of one year.

2013 Fulbright Scholars

Congratulations to Adam Jadhav and Jeanine Finley for receiving Fulbright Scholarships!

Jeanine Finley awarded Boren & Fulbright Fellowships


Jeanine says she couldn’t be more happy and excited to go to Uganda as a Boren Fellow where she plans to spend 6 months completing her capstone research. Upon completion of the Boren, she will move to Ethiopia for 10 months as a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow working in the Ministry of Water and Energy.

For her Boren Fellowship, Jeanine will study Swahili and work with a Ugandan civil-society organization and undertake an independent research project. While in Uganda, she will conduct an institutional analysis of the major actors and organizations managing Nile Basin development in Uganda. Jeanine is very interested in the processes that contribute to equitable and legitimate decision-making related to the Nile River.

She explains that stakeholder participation is a very under-researched topic in Africa and she wishes to bring more attention to the challenges of achieving equitable decision-making. Jeanine looks forward to researching the complex Nile Basin resource regime and the manner in which the major actors work together. She hopes that her work can contribute to a better understanding of how regional institutions impact national and local policy. Considering the potential impact of climate change in this part of the world, she would also like to see what lessons can be applicable to transboundary water cooperation initiatives in other regions of Africa.

In addition to the Boren Fellowship, Jeanine has also been awarded a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship (FPPF). The FPPF “allows fellows to serve in professional placements as Special Assistants in foreign government ministries to gain hands-on public sector experience while simultaneously carrying out an academic research/study project.” (Fulbright website)

There are 11 countries sharing this transboundary river which holds social, cultural, political and economic significance for all countries in the region. Ethiopia is a source of the Blue Nile tributary, which contributes the majority of water to downstream countries. "The national government plays a vital role in every step of the governance process," she says, "so when I found out that Ethiopia was a placement country for the 2013-2014 FPPF, I knew it would be a unique learning experience." Based on Jeanine's familiarity with the region and research interests, she was awarded the fellowship to serve as a Special Assistant in the Ministry of Water and Energy and complete a research project related to water governance in Ethiopia. The fellowship will provide an opportunity to be involved in day-to-day work and policy development in Ethiopia.

Before joining the GEP program, Jeanine was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar and worked for an NGO. After gaining these practical experiences, Jeanine joined the GEP program to help contextualize her previous work in development. She says that the GEP program’s interdisciplinary nature helped strengthened her analytical and research skills, and that she looks forward to applying these skills to the complex challenges of water governance. Looking ahead, Jeanine is considering applying for a Ph.D. program and she sees herself working towards strengthening equity and cooperation among institutions that manage water at multiple scales in Africa.


Adam Jadhav wins Fulbright

Jadhav FSI Mumbai

Jadhav combing through reports in the Fishery Survey of India's library in Mumbai.

Adam Jadhav, a second-year MA in the Global Environmental Policy program, has been awarded a research grant from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to study social capital among
fisher communities in India.

With the research scholarship, Jadhav intends to conduct a
large-sample survey of fishing communities in the southern Indian
state of Karnataka. He wants to examine sources of social capital
and political organization within the fishing community; he argues
that better understanding fisher social relations, norms, institutions
and imaginations will offer potential avenues for more sustainable and
equitable fisheries governance.

Jadhav spent the summer of 2012 in southern India, first working for
Greenpeace in mostly Bangalore on an ocean conservation mapping
project. He later conducted research with the Dakshin Foundation on
mechanized fisheries, collective action and community governance in
and around Mangalore. Research from both projects -- including dozens
of hours of interviews with fishers, policy makers, activists and
academics and thousands of pages of quantitative data -- helped lay
the foundation for his Fulbright proposal.

"I'm in Mangalore and hearing all these very standard responses that
together add up to the so-called Tragedy of the Commons: Everyone is
competing against each other, no one has an incentive to fish less, no
one can organize, there's no property regime, it's a free-for-all, the
community has lost all control, and so on," Jadhav said.

"Yet when it came to organizing resistance against an ill-conceived
and arbitrary state regulation on engine sizes, the fishers cooperated
quickly and decisively to pull political strings," he continued.
"There's obviously some social capital and collective interest still
at work in the fishery. I honestly am not sure the Tragedy of the
Commons exists and I see underestimated potential for collective
action."

Jadhav has consistently focused his graduate studies on India as a
geography. The Journal of International Service recently published his
examination of India's semi-free trade regime and it's implications
for environmental and social sustainability. Topics of other class
papers have ranged from environmental governance by panchyats (village
councils) in rural India to a national level statistical analysis of
forest coverage change.

"I've had a lot of opportunities at AU and been influenced by a lot of
good people," Jadhav said. "Professors have pointed the way but also
let me run. I wouldn't have won this Fulbright with out that
simultaneous guidance and free rein."

The Fulbright scholarship funds at least nine months of research.
Jadhav expects to start in August of 2013 and said he hopes to publish
policy and academic work based on his research. He said he also
expects that the data generated while on Fulbright will become the
basis for a doctoral dissertation.

Prior to joining the School of International Service, Jadhav worked
for approximately six years as a newspaper journalist in the U.S. and
internationally as well as a journalism instructor overseas. The 30-year-old also had a brief stint as a divemaster working with a tour company in remote islands in India.

Olivia Gilmore

Olivia’s Boren project will focus on the effectiveness of water governance institutions in Brazil for mitigating conflict. In addition to Portugese language training, She plans to conduct a comparative study of river basin committees in two key regions: the Guandu river basin in the State of Rio de Janeiro and the Paraguaçu watershed in the Northeastern state of Bahia.

Olivia points to the importance of such research, stating that, “at both global and local scales, the link between water and security is becoming ever more relevant in the wake of growing populations, widening development, and greater variability in terms of quantity and quality of water resources. The destabilizing factors of climate change are predicted to further exacerbate water tensions, thus knowledge of effective management tools that can prevent or resolve water-related conflicts is highly valuable.”

Olivia credits the School of International Service NRSD program for providing her with the opportunity to better understand environmental issues from the perspectives of both the global north and global south. “A year of study in Latin America helped to strengthen my focus in the region, leading me to Brazil, and the fantastic support I received from faculty members, both in SIS and at the University for Peace, made this project possible.”

After her research abroad, Olivia plans to use the skills acquired from both in her master’s research and Boren Fellowship to continue to work internationally, either with a conservation NGO or as a career Foreign Service Officer.

 

Sierra Ramirez

As a Boren Fellow, Sierra will go to the West Bank area of Israel/Palestine to study Arabic and the role of water in regional conflict and peacebuilding. Sierra believes that a better U.S. understanding of current infrastructural development in Palesinian communities could provide far-reaching security benefits. "It is vital that the world of international politics become more intersectional. Conflict and governance have drastically different impacts if you look through lenses of class, gender, and ethnicity, and an environmental perspective needs to be one more lens that we integrate. Without it we cannot hope to come to an authentic understanding of what is occurring and why."

Sierra credits the NRSD program for helping her develop an understanding of the role environmental and natural resources play within the international political economy. After her fellowship, she hopes to work within the Middle East regional programs at the EPA. Her "overarching goal," she says, "is to write about issues that connect to international political economy, especially when it comes to the Middle East, hopefully influencing policy in a more and more just direction."


 

Jes Walton

With the Boren Fellowship, Jes will study Hindi domestically during the summer, and in Rajasthan, India during the fall semester. Following her studies, she will culminate her fellowship with a six month internship in Navdanya. There, Jes will conduct research in cooperation with local seed sovereignty advocates, as well as learn from alternative agriculture movements.  

Jes explains that her research holds important implications since, “the global food system is built on the backs of small-scale farmers, who are increasingly marginalized by powerful transnational corporations, and international patent laws”.

Jes says that the School of International Service helped prepare her for her winning fellowship. Through the GEP program she says that she was able to be exposed to the implications of US policy on international agriculture in one class, while learning how to write project proposals in another.

In the future, Jes aspires to be working internationally with a variety of agriculture communities promoting ecoagricultural methods, and work to oppose policies that undervalue and undercut family farms.