Master’s students partner with peacebuilding organizations in the field

Author: Jena O'Brien

Sarah Nanjala is a Political Affairs Intern at the UN Peacebuilding Commission

In January, seven second-year Keough School Master of Global Affairs students with a concentration in International Peace Studies (IPS) began six-month field experiences with partner peacebuilding organizations around the world. The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies administers the IPS concentration and facilitates field experiences. 

Due to travel restrictions and visa difficulties related to the ongoing global pandemic, eight members of the MGA-IPS Class of 2022 started their studies in January 2021, instead of the fall of 2020. The Kroc Institute supported these students as they found their placements during the fall of 2021, a time when the MGA IPS students are normally undertaking their practicums. 

The six-month internships this spring are part of an integrated field learning process that allows students to deepen their identity as reflective practitioners and expand their professional peacebuilding experience. While in the field, IPS students intern four days per week with an organization that aligns with their professional goals as peacebuilding practitioners and spend one day each week focused on independent field research. All students in the MGA program participate in field experiences of some kind, with students in the sustainable development and policy & governance concentrations participating in the MGA Integration Lab (i-Lab). 

Soda Garcia
Sophia (Soda) Garcia is interning with Owl and
Panther in Tuscon, Arizona

Each year, students work with Susan St. Ville, director of the international peace studies concentration, and Jennifer Betz, assistant director of the concentration, to brainstorm placement opportunities with organizations whose work matches their research and peacebuilding interests. Students also drew on support from Kroc Institute faculty member, Anne Hayner, associate director for alumni relations, who supports the Kroc Institute’s global alumni network of over 1,800 peacebuilders. 

“The six-month field experience is foundational to the MGA-IPS curriculum,” said Jennifer Betz, assistant director of the International Peace Studies Concentration. “These practicums offer students opportunities to explore how peacebuilding intersects with multiple issues in a new context, as well as how the theories of peacebuilding interact with their experiences and capstone research. We emphasize reflective practice at the Kroc Institute, and these internships give the students the opportunity to grow under the mentorship of incredibly talented peacebuilding professionals, while also refining their own future direction..”

This spring, students are interning with seven organizations based in five different locations, including:

  • Rayangnewende Jean Marc Tiendrebeogo, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - Sahel Peacebuilding Initiative, remotely from South Bend, Indiana, United States 
  • Juan Mosquera Sepúlveda, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Office of Research-Innocenti in Florence, Italy 
  • Sophia (Soda) Garcia, Owl & Panther, in Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • Eunhye (Grace) Lee, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New York City, United States
  • Anna Romandash, The World Bank, Washington D.C., United States
  • Sarah Nanjala, United Nations Peacebuilding Office, New York City, United States
  • Tinaishe Maramba, United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, New York City, United States 

Learn more about the Master of Global Affairs program, the International Peace Studies Concentration and how to apply >>>

Contact: Susan St. Ville,