MDP Voller awarded Lucas Travel Grant, project with Amigos de las Américas in Costa Rica

Congratulations to Vanessa Voller, Master of Development Practice candidate at the Humphrey School, on being awarded at 2017 David Lucas Travel Grant for her MDP Field Experience project on the role of youth and participatory research in development with Amigos de las Américas in Costa Rica.

Project summary:

In 2015, nearly one million students from the global North participated in a global learning, study abroad, or voluntourism program in the global South (Larsen 2016). Many of the sending organizations that facilitate said programming report “transformative” learning outcomes such as increased multi-cultural understanding, global self-awareness, and personal and social responsibility in their program participants because of individual participation in their programs (Berg 2012; Bringle 2011; Delcambre 2012; Larsen 2016; Nelson 2010; Shroeder, Wood, Galiardi, & Koehn 2009; Theobald 2011; Tiessen & Huish 2014). However, very few of these organizations have studied what, if any, actual learning outcomes result in program participants because of their participation in their programs (Berg 2012; Larsen 2016; Tiessen & Huish 2014). And even fewer of these organizations have examined what, if any, learning outcomes and/or any other impacts result for the local, participating youth what effect these impacts have within the local participating host communities and countries.

Using participatory action based research methodology, this 2017 Master in Development
Practice (MDP) field experience project will examine the impacts of one sending organization -
Amigos de las Américas (Amigos) - program in Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica. This project will
employ a combination of a postcolonial and capabilities theoretical frameworks in the project
design, implementation, and its evaluation with the goal of having the empowerment and
participation of local youth as both the principal means and primary ends to the entire project.
Through close collaboration with Amigos and Casa de la Juventud - Amigos’ partner agency in Costa Rica - and consultation with Dr. Karen Brown, this project aims to add an important and critical empirical data to a nascent body of literature examining the impacts of global learning programs on participating local youth while providing practical implications for international educators and development practitioners who wish to ensure that their global learning programs are both ethical and equitable.

In the fall of 2013 David Lucas was a first year MPP student studying global policy. Before coming to the Humphrey School, he taught political systems and world history in Cali, Colombia, and before that he taught American History, American Government, Sociology and World Geography at West Branch High School in Iowa. He grew up in a family of seven in northeastern Iowa. In the short time David was with us at the Humphrey School, his new friends and colleagues benefited from his rich life experience and his intellectual rigor, and our community was deeply saddened by his untimely death.
Thanks to a thoughtful and generous contribution from the Lucas family, the Humphrey School is now able to offer $500.00 to a current Humphrey student interested in work related to a HHH degree which requires travel to the central or southern regions of the Western Hemisphere (South or Central America, the Caribbean).
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