MDP Wilsey: "UMN partnership looks to beer and nuts to preserve the rainforest"

Crossposted from Minnesota Daily        

UMN partnership looks to beer and nuts to preserve the rainforest
The beer that resulted from the partnership is still available on tap.

After nearly 20 years of researching the Ramón nut, Dave Wilsey had an idea: use the protein-rich Central American seed to brew beer.

He contacted Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul to set up a partnership last year. Now with a grant from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment’s mini-grant program, the brewers and conservationists hope the brand-new brew will raise awareness about rainforest conservation efforts.

Two beers that resulted from the collaboration became available for customers in mid-March, and one sold out in a matter of days. The second, a stout with “notes of chocolate, coffee and nuts,” is still available on tap.

“The fact that this nut could bring global change really intrigued me,” said Jill Pavlak, Urban Growler co-owner. “The point of this is to bring awareness to this nut and to help sustainability in communities.”

The Ramón nut is native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and has become symbolic of the conservation and development work happening in the Maya Forest, said Wilsey, director of the University's Master of Development Practice program within the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The region is facing deforestation, as large portions of the rainforest are cut down and destroyed to make way for cattle grazing land, Wilsey said. He hopes that encouraging widespread sale of the nut — which only grows in the rainforest — will preserve the rainforest.

Wilsey and his colleague Dean Current have been working with the Ramón nut since the early 2000s. During that time, the University has sent three teams to Guatemala with the Rainforest Alliance to study the nut. Wilsey hopes to organize a brewer exchange in the future and bring Urban Growler workers to Guatemala to teach people there how to brew the beer.

“This partnership will help people learn about opportunities that might exist in forest conservation and livelihood development,” Wilsey said.

The Ramón nut is rich in nutrients like protein and fiber, said Collin Motschke, a graduate student whose master's thesis is on the Ramón nut. He said he hopes the Ramón nut will become “the quinoa of the future” and a widely-used ingredient around the world.

Wilsey’s ultimate goal is to have a major business use Ramón nut as an ingredient in a food product, creating marketing opportunities that will increase the rainforest’s value and protect its resources.

“There is so much power in being a consumer, and the consumptive decisions that we make have an impact and have ripples throughout the entire world. This is a way that people can be intelligent, compassionate and sustainable consumers,” Motschke said of the partnership.

Pavlak said she explains the partnership to everyone who orders the beer to spread the message.

“The beer is already good, but the story behind it makes people feel even better about ordering it,” she said.

The Ramón nut could start an international conversation about conservation through this beer, Wilsey said.

“We have this belief that we all want the same things from life, to be loved and accepted, and that goes beyond our community. It’s a worldwide desire and right. To be able to make some sort of impact in another country is really quite amazing,” Pavlak said.

Editorial Note to readers from Sherry Gray:  This is seriously the best story I've posted from Humphrey School in a long time--congratulations to Dave Wilsey, Dean Current, and several cohorts of UMN MDP field experience teams working on this project.

Apr 24 event to honor 2017-18 Humphrey Fellows at McNamara Alumni Center

Hubert H. Humphrey International Fellowship Graduation Ceremony
April 24, 2018

Please join us April 24 for the graduation ceremony for the 2017-2018 cohort of Humphrey Fellows. This is an opportunity for fellows, host families, staff, and partners to celebrate the success we achieved together during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018   4:30–5:30 p.m.
University Hall, McNamara Alumni Center
200 SE Oak St., Minneapolis


SPEAKERS: Sandy Vargas, former president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, 2007–2016. She now assists the Humphrey School with its engagement initiatives, with a particular focus on communities of color and new immigrants. 

N'nyapule Madai, Humphrey International Fellowship alumnus (1983-'84), recipient of the University of Minnesota's Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals. Founder of Special OIympics Tanzania. He continues to volunteer with the organization and works on behalf of people with disabilities in eastern and southern Africa.

Learn more about the International Fellows and Scholars Program.

May 16 Amb of Mexico luncheon

Luncheon with the Ambassador of Mexico
Save the date for upcoming Global Minnesota event

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 16, and join us for a special luncheon program to welcome Ambassador of Mexico Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández.

During his visit, Ambassador Gutiérrez will present on a variety of topics critical to the U.S.-Mexico relationship including immigration and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

Wednesday, May 16 | 12:00 pm in Minneapolis

Apr 23 @ MIRC UMN Political Science "The hidden impact of treaties on state behavior (or why would the Belgians care what the Bolivians are smoking?)"

MIRC will host Prof. Judith Kelley of Duke on Monday, April 23rd from 3:30-5pm in Lippincott.

We will discuss Prof. Kelley's co-authored paper "The process is the product: The hidden impact of treaties on state behavior (or why would the Belgians care what the Bolivians are smoking?)." Please find the paper attached. Prof. Kelley will give a brief presentation of the paper, followed by discussant remarks provided by Bridget Marchesi.

For a productive discussion, we kindly ask that you make every effort to read the paper ahead of time (please email MIRC for a copy). As always, coffee will be provided. We hope to see many of you there.

We hope to see many of you there,
MIRC organizers
Minnesota International Relations Colloquium

Tomorrow, Human Rights Program: Seeking Refuge in a Changing World

Seeking Refuge in a Changing World Symposium

Thursday, April 19, 9:00am-7:00pm
120 Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Free and Open to the Public

Join us for the culminating event of the "Seeking Refuge in a Changing World" series, a full day symposium featuring panels on Refugee Resettlement, Climate Refugees, and Islamophobia. Keynote address will be given by historian Maria Cristina Garcia, author of The Refugee Challenge in Post-Cold War America, a study of the actors and interests that have shaped US refugee policy in the Post-Cold War and post 9/11 era.

More information here:
  • 9:00 AM to 9:30 AM - Morning Refreshments and Registration
  • 9:30 AM to 9:45 AM - Opening Remarks, Evelyn Davidheiser, Director, Institute for Global Studies
  • 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM - Keynote - Maria Cristina Garcia, Department of History and the Latino Studies Program, Cornell University - "Should the United States have a Climate Refugee Policy?"
  • 11:15 - 12:30 - Panel 1 - Refugee Resettlement: Micaela Schuneman, Refugee Services Director, International Institute of Minnesota, KaYing Yang, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Coalition of Asian American Leaders, Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
  • Moderator - Saengmany Ratsabout, Program Coordinator, Immigration History Research Center
  • 12:30 - 1:30 - Lunch
  • 1:30 - 2:45 - Panel 2 - Climate Refugees: Jack DeWaard, Sociology and Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, Kate Knuth, Ph.D. Candidate, Conservation Sciences and Institute on the Environment Fellow, University of Minnesota, Mark Ritchie, President and CEO of Minnesota World's Fair Bid Committee, Expo 2027; former Minnesota Secretary of State. Moderator - Maria Cristina Garcia, Department of History and the Latino Studies Program, Cornell University
  • 3:00 - 4:15 - Panel 3 - Islamophobia: Hassan Abdel Salam, Sociology and Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota, Naaima Khan, Vice Chair of the Board, Islamic Resource Group, Eaint Thiri Thu, Master of Human Rights graduate student, University of Minnesota. Moderator - Erika Lee, Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director, Immigration History Research Center. 
The Seeking Refuge in a Changing World Symposium is organized and supported by the Institute for Global Studies, African Studies Initiative, Center for Austrian Studies, Center for German and European Studies, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Human Rights Program, and the Immigration History Research Center.

Tales of Time: A Staged Reading

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cowles Auditorium in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
301 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

A reading of Tales of Time, a short play about an uncle raising his second generation Somali-America niece, by the New Arab American Theater Works, will follow the symposium panels. A short Q&A and reception following the performance.

PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE CHANGE: This event will be held in Cowles Auditorium in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs - just a short walk from Andersen Library where the symposium is being held.

More information here.

The staged reading is possible with the support from Women and Girls of Color Engagement and Research Initiative at the University of Minnesota.

Call for Papers, 5th World Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality

The Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice of The University of Minnesota is co-hosting the 5th World Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Economic Inequality, September 26th-29th 2018, in Vitória, Brazil.

This email serves as a request for listserv distribution for the call for papers, found here

The conference, held on a primarily Afro-Brazilian University campus, will encompass disparities in public health, education, civic engagement, socioeconomic standing, and representation. Subtopics include:
  • Longer term consequences of persistent poverty and inequality in access to quality health care among low-income, racial and ethnic minority group members.
  • Comparative analysis of the effectiveness of alternative policy interventions designed to reduce racial and ethnic economic inequality 
  • Problems of political corruption and uneven development.
  • Causes and consequences of inequalities in access to health care and alternative health care delivery systems.
  • Racial identity and the evolution of policies in higher education, public employment, and government contracting and procurement.
  • Innovative policies designed to remedy racial and ethnic economic inequality: baby bonds, universal employment, guaranteed minimum income plans.
Deadline for abstracts: April 15th

More information for the conference can be found here.

For questions, please email

This material appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community. This is meant for information sharing purposes only.

Internship Impact Evaluation Repository 3ie, Washington, DC

Terms of Reference
Intern- Impact Evaluation Repository 3ie, Washington, DC

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) promotes evidence-informed equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. We support the generation and effective use of high- quality evidence to inform decision-making and improve the lives of people living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries. We provide guidance and support to produce, synthesise and quality assure evidence of what works, for whom, how, why and at what cost. 3ie is registered as a non-governmental organisation in the United States. It has offices in New Delhi, London and Washington, DC.

3ie is seeking an intern to work with the Impact Evaluation Repository and Data Services team in Washington, DC.

2. Key responsibilities

The intern will report directly to the research associate or data analyst and will be responsible for a variety of tasks outlined below.

2.1 Primary tasks
  • Systematically screen large numbers of studies at full text level to identify impact evaluations that meet 3ie’s inclusion criteria; 
  • Extract and code meta-data of final included studies, such as bibliographic information, sectors and methodologies used; and 
  • Manage workflow and deliverables for a team of consultants. 
2.2 Other tasks
  • Create systematic search strategies by identifying appropriate resources and databases, and, developing and testing tailored search strings for each resource; 
  • Conduct systematic searches in a wide range of academic databases, online libraries and websites, downloading and organizing results with reference manager software; 
  • Conduct research for papers or blogs written by 3ie staff; for example, conduct literature searches, create annotated bibliographies and so on; 
  • Conduct empirical analysis including econometrics; 
  • Create summary statistics and clean raw data; and 
  • Any other tasks as assigned.
3. Qualifications and skills
3.1 Education and work experience
  • Graduate degree in Economics, Statistics, Public Policy, Public Administration or related field with an emphasis on empirical methods; 
  • Working knowledge of impact evaluation techniques, statistics and/or econometrics methodologies; and 
  • Familiarity and understanding of international development sector. 
3.2 Skills
  • Experience managing and screening large numbers of academic articles; 
  • Experience analyzing data using Excel©, particularly using pivot tables; 
  • Experience managing teams; 
  • Excellent English-language skills; ability to read and interpret impact evaluations in French, Portuguese or Spanish is a bonus; and 
  • Excellent skills in communication, time management, teamwork and relationship management. 
4. Eligibility

3ie will recruit one individual for this position. Applicants must provide proof of work authorization in the United States. 3ie is an equal-opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We particularly encourage women, ethnic minorities and differently abled persons to apply.

5. Terms of employment

Candidates should be available to start work at the earliest. This internship is for six months, for around 20-40 hours a week. The intern will be based at 3ie’s Washington office. An hourly rate will be paid.

6. How to apply

Please apply by e-mail to with all of the application material listed below and include ‘3ie IER intern’ in the subject line. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Only those shortlisted will be contacted.

A cover letter, not exceeding one page, highlighting your experience relevant to the terms of reference; Curriculum vitae; and Contact information for three references.

We will review applications on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until filled.

This material appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community. This is meant for information sharing purposes only.
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