They’re Back! M.A. Students Return from the Field

Author: Joan Fallon

Welcome back to the 12 master’s students in peace studies who just returned to Notre Dame after more than five months of peacebuilding fieldwork in Jerusalem, South Africa, Uganda, and the Philippines.

The returning students — who include a doctor, a lawyer, and students with backgrounds in religious studies, political science, conflict resolution, sociology and philosophy — worked as interns in a range of respected international organizations, gaining substantive experience in a wide range of peacebuilding efforts.

This year, that work included engaging local civil society organizations with government officials and policymakers; developing internal and external communications for religious leaders involved in peacebuilding; using legal expertise to facilitate transitional justice efforts following conflict; and spearheading health outreach and disease prevention efforts in rural and underserved areas.

The Kroc internship is an opportunity to apply theory learned in the first year in the classroom with the practical work of peace-related organizations and the realities of life in regions that have experienced violent conflict, says Susan St. Ville, associate director of academic programs, who coordinates the fieldsite experiences.

“For many students, international fieldwork is the highlight of the M.A. experience,” she says. “It’s difficult and challenging work, but most students return transformed, energized, and even more committed to a lifetime of work in peacebuilding.”

This year’s returning students included: Njuhi Chege (Kenya) and Kelsey Davenport (USA), who worked in Jerusalem; Alisher Bazarov (Turkmenistan), Becky Burns (USA), Stephen Oola (Uganda), and Sana Rais (Pakistan), who worked in Cape Town, South Africa; Ahmad Al-Hadidi (Iraq), Karin Brown (USA), Christina Buchhold (Germany), and Niki Fehr (Canada), who worked in Gulu, Uganda; and Chernor Bah (Sierra Leone) and Anna Zaros (USA), who worked in Mindanao, the Philippines.

Back on campus, students enroll in an integrative capstone seminar that draws on their field experience and guides them as they write a master’s paper linking peacebuilding theory with their work in the field. This year the capstone course is being co-taught by Kroc director Scott Appleby and research professor Patrick Mason.

Contact: Joan Fallon, (574) 631-8819,