Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Humphrey Fellow Gyi IRC Acting Dep Director, Myanmar

Congratulations to 2016-17 Humphrey International Fellow Aung Gyi who has recently taken the new position of Acting Deputy Director, Operations (a position like Deputy Country Director) for the International Rescue Committee, based in Yangon, Myanmar.

Mr. Gyi has over 10 years of experience in development to promote democratic reform and social economic growth by integrating aid activities strategically into the larger development and policy plans of Myanmar.  Last year he was serving as Field Director for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the Rakhine and Southern Chin provinces. Mr. Gyi’s role at IRC included providing oversight on programming and strategic planning, human resources and security operations, and liaising with government agencies, nongovernment and community-based organizations, and other development and relief actors in the area.  Mr. Gyi holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Public Administration from Yangon University.

International Fellows and Scholars Program
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455


HHH alum Blanks Jones presents at European Conf on Citizenship Educ

Update sent by MPP alum Jasmine Blanks Jones, now a Ph.D. candidate at University of Pennsylvania: "This presentation was given at the 5th annual European Conference on Citizenship Education under the theme "Political Participation: enhancing competences" in Groningen, Netherlands. I presented with my advisor, Sigal Ben-Porath, on an ethnographic study we have done in urban school settings over the past two years entitled "Civic Efficacy and Strict Disciplinary Practices".

Here is the abstract:

The strict ‘no excuses’ school model has become prevalent in charter schools serving low-income and minority students across the United States and is spreading in European schools. While researchers have examined the academic achievement of students enrolled in ‘no excuses’ schools, scholarship has yet to address how the model impacts students’ civic opportunities and civic/political efficacy. We investigate the civic consequences of the ‘no excuses’ school model on low-income and minority youth. The 28-month qualitative study asks: (1) How does the ‘no excuses’ context influence civic and political opportunities for engagement in a school community? (2) How do the civic and political practices and sense of efficacy of students attending ‘no excuses’ charter schools compare with those of students attending other school types? We conducted interviewed, focus groups and surveys and observed classrooms and shared spaces at both schools. The data presented in this paper suggests a negative connection between strict school environments and political efficacy and participation."

HHH/CLA Frey on UN Amb Nikki Haley: Walking the Tightrope on Human Rights

Reprinted from: The Gender Policy Report, UMN:
Ambassador Nikki Haley: Walking the Tightrope on Human Rights   
Photo from United Nations

One of our key inquiries on the subject of human rights in the Gender Policy Report is how the face of U.S. diplomacy will be transformed by the Trump Administration. Of particular interest are key changes in U.S. institutions and personnel, which signal a shift on international protections for human rights and gender equality around the world. This inquiry leads us to the most prominent female presence in foreign policy, Nikki Haley, confirmed by the Senate on January 24, 2017, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.    

Many were surprised when President-elect Trump offered Governor Haley the U.N. position, since she had been a vocal critic of his during the campaign, and had no discernible foreign policy experience to bring to the position.

Prior to her appointment as Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley was the Republican Governor of South Carolina, the first person of color to be elected to that position and – in her words – the “first girl governor” as well. She gained widespread recognition for her independent leadership in removing the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State Capitol and her refusal to support a proposed “bathroom bill” aimed at the rights of transgendered persons.

In her first several months representing the U.S. at the U.N., Ambassador Haley has walked a tightrope, her steps designed to demonstrate skill and gravitas on foreign policy issues, to maintain meaningful alliances, project strength and independence, while not straying too far from the party line set by her D.C. bosses. This tightrope includes a balancing act with regard to human rights. So far, she has not fallen off.

Haley’s work at the United Nations

As U.N. Ambassador, Haley must work the halls every day, pushing for the priorities of the Trump Administration with the 192 other governments whose national interests sometimes coincide and sometimes conflict with the U.S.’s current priorities. She is the face of a nation that was instrumental to the U.N.’s founding and has shown support for its priorities in the areas of security and human rights. Yet Haley is also the emissary of an administration that is frequently hostile in its tone as well as its proposed financial decreases for the international organization. Haley has on occasion mimicked Trump’s approach, warning U.N. diplomats in her first U.N. statement, “For those who don’t have our back, we’re taking names.” She has not hesitated to commodify the United Nations a la Trump, insisting the institution must become more “valuable” for its member governments — a justification (or threat) for the United States to cut support if its interests are not serviced satisfactorily.

Given her potential for higher public office, Ambassador Haley is eager to exhibit her leadership both globally and domestically.

She attracted significant attention, for example, by inviting other Security Council ambassadors to the White House, where she sat prominently next to the President as he addressed the group at a 90-minute lunch. In early April, Haley delivered a powerful condemnation in the Security Council of Syria’s chemical attack, personally displaying gruesome photos of children who died from the attack. During this speech, Haley heaped blame on the Russian Government as well, accusing them of “closing their eyes to the barbarity,” by blocking every diplomatic effort to sanction Syria for its war crimes.

These boundary-pushing actions by Ambassador Haley have produced a notable degree of friction with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the other face of U.S. foreign policy, causing Tillerson to flex his supervisory muscles by requiring Haley to seek approval from the State Department for all non-official policy statements she intended to make. This move by Tillerson may also point to underlying gender power dynamics.

A fatal embrace of human rights?

Further distinguishing herself from Foggy Bottom, Ambassador Haley has landed upon human rights to frame her approach to her work at the U.N. At the onset of her term as chair of the Security Council during the month of April, Haley announced “for me, human rights are at the heart of the mission of the United Nations,” and sponsored a special session for the Council on the topic.

Haley’s emphasis on human rights invited skepticism, especially given the Trump administration’s short but dangerous track record on human rights (see our previous post). Still, human rights concerns – focused narrowly on civil and political rights ­– have since the Carter era been an area for bipartisan cooperation, and may still have legs with American voters as well. Human rights advocates are indeed wary of Haley’s embrace of the human rights agenda at the Security Council, fearing it serves as cover for an effort to abolish the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body which the U.S. cannot control and which the Ambassador has described as “so corrupt.”

Thus far, Haley’s human rights agenda has worked largely in unison with the Administration’s security interests.

At the Security Council debate on human rights, for instance, Haley highlighted North Korea’s political prisoners and use of forced labor, as well as respect for Israel and protection of religious freedom. All of these issues fit neatly within well-trodden bipartisan human rights concerns. Syria was also a target of shame in her remarks, but Haley went further, robustly criticizing Russia’s role in the atrocities in Syria — way beyond the criticism offered by other Trump officials.

Haley’s agenda for women’s human rights

Women, unfortunately, do not seem to exist in Haley’s human rights landscape, except as victims of trafficking. Reproductive rights certainly have no place on her agenda. Haley did not push back against reinstatement of the global gag rule, but instead expressed full support for it in front of the U.S. Senate, where she testified, “I am strongly pro-life, so anything we can do to keep from having abortions, or to keep them from not knowing what is available, I will support.” The “them” in this remark refers to millions of poor women with little access to reproductive health care.

Haley’s most visible role regarding global rights for women was when she chaired the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, which included groups that oppose reproductive rights for women and support the criminalization of homosexuality.

Ultimately, Ambassador Nikki Haley is being viewed for her work at the U.N. through a predictably partisan lens. For some, she is a no-nonsense champion of U.S. human rights interests. For others, she represents the demise of the U.S.’s leadership on human rights. This seems to be the tightrope walk she enjoys.     

Barbara A. Frey, Director, Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota
– Henry Ziemer provided research assistance for this article.

Minnesota Dragon Fest July 8-9, Lake Phalen

Celebrating 18 years as the Dragon Festival, honoring the Pan-Asian heritage and spirit! DRAGON FESTIVAL 2017

July 8 & 9, 2017  10am to 5pm
​Free Admission - Free Performances - fun Children's Activities

Lake Phalen and Lake Phalen Park
1600 Phalen Drive, St Paul MN 55106

Chinese Buddhist painting exhibit at MIA

Image and text from Minneapolis Institute of Arts: A World of Radiant Awakening: Buddhism and the Painting of China
Exhibition Dates: March 18 - November 5, 2017

Buddhism has been a dominant religious and intellectual force in China since it arrived from India around 100 C.E. Both literati and professional artists created Chinese Buddhist paintings.

Literati painters, scholars for whom painting was a form of intellectual and moral cultivation, created meditative scenes by incorporating Buddhist ideas into landscape painting. For painters who followed Chan (Zen) Buddhism, the expressive handling of ink evoked the sudden awareness that comes in moments of insight.

Professional artists generally focused on figurative paintings, including depictions of buddhas, bodhisattvas (nearly enlightened beings that stay on earth to help people), arhats (the original followers of the Buddha), and eminent monks. During the Qing dynasty (1644­–1911), the imperial patronage of esoteric Buddhism—the primary school of Tibetan Buddhism—resulted in a vast number of religious works in the Tibetan style. These paintings combine Tibetan attention to iconographic detail with Chinese-inspired decorative elements.

Apps due June 27 for S Factory, Pre-acceleration prog for startups, female founders (worldwide)

The applications for The S Factory are on! A Pre-acceleration program for startups led by female founders (worldwide), Startup Chile  
HomeForumsStartup and Social Entrepreneur Opportunities › The applications for The S Factory are on! A Pre-acceleration program for startups led by female founders (worldwide), Startup Chile

Application process will close on June 27th at 5pm (Chilean Time)
To apply, create an account at Younoodle platform (see below)

Read Terms and Conditions before applying here.

If you have questions, please check our Live Q&A sessions in our Facebook Fan Page, also our FAQ section here (The S Factory).

If you have more questions, send an email to

For more information about the TSF Program, click here.
What Are We Looking For?
We are looking for projects that are technology related with potential for high impact. Join us for a 4 months experience to learn vital skills for a strong start in the world of entrepreneurship.

What Do We Offer?
Startup training

We’ve got you covered. This 4 months program hosts workshops and training from experienced entrepreneurs and mentors.

Equity free funding

$10.000.000 CLP (around $15,000 USD) funding to help you to get off the ground. This funding is equity free, meaning we don´t take a cut of the company.

4 months experience

To turn your ideas into a viable business. Startups may validate their idea, build an MVP and get ready for the next level of investment. It is perfect to turn an idea into a reality.
Generation 6 Application Process Timeline

In Your Application, Do Not Forget!

To apply you will need to submit an application using our online platform. The application includes questions about leadership, the team and your motivations. In addition, you will need to submit a 2-minute video and have a referee outline why you and your team are best suited to tackle your problem.

What Do We Ask In Return
We will ask you to go give back through our Founders Lab

Founders LAB
Criteria To Qualify

At least one of the founders must be a woman.
Over 18

All participants must be over 18 years of age.
Less than 6 months

Founders with just an idea and the right team to execute it are suitable to apply, as well as teams that have already built a basic version of a prototype. We are seeking early-stage projects to support which are still in their first 6 months.
Dedicated 100%

The female founder must be a 100% dedicated to the project. This means that she cannot be employed in any other company or studying while participating in the program. She also must be willing to relocate to Santiago, Chile for the entire 12 weeks program. Take in consideration an additional month to take care about the legal processes involved.

for more info click here- See more at:

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 

Program Dir, Children in Armed Conflict, Conflict Dynamics Intern'l

Conflict Dynamics International seeks an exceptional, highly-motivated and experienced Program Director to head its well-established Children in Armed Conflict Program.

This is a senior-level position within an innovative and impact-oriented organization, and the Program Director will be engaged in all aspects of the design and implementation of the Program. Specifically, the Program Director will lead a program of work designed to strengthen protection of children in situations of armed conflict, including through advancing accountability for serious violations of international law committed against children. The Program Director will also serve as a member of Conflict Dynamics’ Senior Management Team. The position is based at Conflict Dynamics’ principal office in Cambridge, USA, and will involve frequent travel.

Qualifications include:
Minimum of 12 years of professional experience working on issues relating to humanitarian affairs, preferably with emphasis on issues related to children and armed conflict and/or accountability, including direct field-level experience.
Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or Doctorate) in International Relations, International Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs, or a related field.
Strong knowledge and understanding of child rights and accountability concepts, methodologies, and frameworks, and their application/implementation in conflict and post-conflict settings.

For a full description of responsibilities and qualifications, please visit our jobs page.

How to apply:

Please cite PCDN as source of this advertisement.

Interested applicants should send a brief cover letter (1-2 pages) and a CV or resume by email to by the close of business July 1, 2017. The cover letter and email subject line should reference CAC Program Director position. Applicants must have pre-existing employment authorization in the United States. Interviews will be conducted during July 2017.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.- See more at:

This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only. 
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement