MDP 2012 Senegal Field Experience Team wins 2013 Freeman-Stassen Award for International Activities

Congratulations to the MDP Senegal 2012 Field Experience Team (MDP students Gbaike Ajayi, Erin Collinson, Christine Papai, Frantzie Saint-Juste) on being awarded the 2013 Freeman-Stassen Award for International Activities for their summer project in collaboration with USAID Senegal on a Local Capacity Building program. Nominated by Chavanne Peercy.

In her letter of nomination Dr. Peercy wrote:

"The team maintained a level of intellectual and professional excellence throughout the three month project, which resulted in the highest quality of student work that I have seen during my time at the Humphrey School.

... the team carried out field work under the USAID Senegal Mission focused on the new USAID Forward Agenda. A critical part of the agency's new strategy is building the capacity of local organizations to carry out development initiatives within USAID's strategic framework as direct recipients of US Government grants. USAID Senegal was interested in providing leadership in this area by identifying strong local organizations to provide technical assistance in management to peer organizations. While measuring management capacity has been an ongoing activity, measuring an organization's ability to build capacity is a new undertaking. The MDP team was tasked with designing an innovative toolkit to measure capacity building capabilities that aligned with USAID mission and processes. As this was a new initiative for USAID, the team was required to design this toolkit completely from their original ideas and theoretical framework. After testing and modifying their tools in the field, the team carried out an assessment of dozens of local organizations, helping USAID to identify potential partners for upcoming activities. The results of this assessment and the student's report assisted USAID Senegal in moving forward with their strategy. I have received excellent feedback from the USAID Senegal team, who has repeatedly commented on the remarkable quality of the team's work.

The MDP Senegal team's project was particularly exciting because it will assist in USAID's overall mission of increasing engagement with local partners, not only in Senegal but in a wider context as well. The team had the opportunity to be involved at the very beginning of USAID Senegal's effort to identify and engage local capacity builders, and their work was essential in USAID's ability to move forward. In addition, their exceptional performance laid the ground work for continued collaboration with partners at USAID Senegal, who were eager to host another student team this year.

In my opinion, the MDP Senegal field team's project is exemplary of the overall Humphrey School and MDP mission to create young leaders that can provide innovative solutions to current global policy issues."

The purpose of this award is to challenge Humphrey School graduate students to excel in international activities. To that end the Freeman and Stassen faculty chairs jointly offer a $500 award to a student or students who achieve excellence in international activities during their program at the Humphrey School. This award may be given for the following kinds of activities:

* Institutional innovation at the Humphrey School that helps strengthen the Institute's global programs
* A professional paper that addresses an international problem;
* A paper done as a part of coursework in the Institute or done independently of formal course work; or
* Fieldwork done in an internship as part of the student's regular degree program.
The criteria for evaluating the submissions include (1) academic rigor, (2) institutional innovation, (3) creativity, (4) contribution to policy design and implementation, and (5) contribution to the Institute and its programs. Nominations for the award must be made by the student's advisor with a brief statement (one page) of support. Students are encouraged to suggest their work to their advisors for possible submission. Advisors can submit more than one nomination.

Nominations were judged by a committee of faculty members who have substantial international involvement and/or experience. Awards may be given to two or more students. An award will not be given if a nomination of exceptional quality is not forthcoming. The decision of those judging the awards will be final.
The 2013 selection committee members are Professors James Ron and Robert Kudrle.

Recent past awardees are:

2012

The first award went to Bridget E. Marchesi for her professional paper entitled "Is Lower Fertility a Path to Human Rights?"

The second award went to Rebecca Olson for her professional paper, "Forced to Flee, Forced to Fight: Refugee Child-Soldiers in Chad, Thailand and Jordan."

http://www2.hhh.umn.edu/uthinkcache/gpa/globalnotes/2012/05/mpp-students-bridget-marchesi.php

2011
Rachel Garaghty, MPP, for contributions to the overall internationalization of the Humphrey School. http://www2.hhh.umn.edu/uthinkcache/gpa/globalnotes/2011/06/mpp-student-rachel-garaghty-20.php

2010
The first recipient was Kristen Rau, MPP, for her paper, "Decisions of De-ethnicization: The RPF's Denial and Invocation of Ethnicity in Rwanda."

The second Freeman-Stassen Award was for a capstone paper written by Matt Buley, Ameila Kendall, Michelle Lamere, and Pepe Wonosikou. Their paper, "Neglected Tropical Diseases: Neglected Long Enough," addresses endemic and systemic health problems that affect the developing world.

2009
The first recipient was Joel Larson MSTEP.
The second recipient was Anna Langer, MPP


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