Master’s students and international organizations partner to engage with global communities

The Keough School of Global Affairs is dispatching its second cohort of master of global affairs students to 18 countries this summer to research solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Students will explore topics of global interest, including public health, education, displacement and migration, poverty studies, and peacebuilding, seeking inventive ways to break through barriers to human development.

MGA students pursuing concentrations in Sustainable Development and Global Affairs + Specialization will spend eight weeks in the field as part of the Keough School’s Integration Lab, while those concentrating in International Peace Studies will participate in six-month peacebuilding internships.

Each student will work with a partner organization actively involved in their area of study.

“The MGA program’s professional field experiences are designed to build cross-cultural competencies and foster global citizens while providing an opportunity for students to build professional skills through intimate collaboration with some of the world’s finest organizations,” said Ted Beatty, associate dean for academic affairs at the Keough School and professor of history. “These opportunities reflect the Keough School’s mission to advance human development worldwide.”

During this time, students will share stories and reflections via the Keough Insider blog.


i-Lab Global Partner Experience:

Twenty-one master’s students concentrating in Sustainable Development or Global Affairs + Specialization will travel to ten different countries to conduct research through the MGA program’s Integration Lab (i-Lab).

Students will work in teams alongside global partner organizations to advance efforts in gender equality, education infrastructure, disaster recovery, dignified housing, and business development.

Now in its sophomore year, the i-Lab was created to help students develop a robust toolbox for taking on global issues, combining interdisciplinary approaches and a collaborative learning environment with built-in opportunities for hands-on experience.

This year’s partner organizations are Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Community Empowerment Solutions, Habitat for Humanity International’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, and Enseña Chile. Three organizations—Oxfam, the Terwilliger Center, and Enseña Chile—are returning partners.

The teams are high-quality, the faculty support is amazing—there’s really no downside to working with the Keough School on this project.

Sheldon Yoder, global manager with the Terwilliger Center, is working with a team of students to drive large-scale behavior change in the housing and construction markets in India and Mexico. Partnering with i-Lab for his second year in a row, the project will build on research conducted by the team he worked with last year in the Philippines.

“We had an incredibly articulate and talented team of students that worked with us,” said Yoder. “The teams are high-quality, the faculty support is amazing—there’s really no downside to working with the Keough School on this project.”


Emma Fawcett hosts a meeting with MGA students in the Keough School’s i-Lab. Fawcett is an evaluation, learning and effectiveness advisor at Oxfam America, a 2019 i-Lab global partner.
Emma Fawcett, second from left, hosts a meeting with MGA students in the Keough School’s i-Lab. Fawcett is an evaluation, learning and effectiveness advisor at Oxfam America, a 2019 i-Lab global partner.


2019 i-Lab locations, projects, and partner organizations:

Catholic Relief Services: Bangladesh and Uganda

Project: Expand effectiveness of humanitarian cash transfer programs following emergency situations in the context of Islamic non-interest banking

Oxfam: Cambodia and Timor-Leste

Project: Promote educational and financial inclusion of those held back by gender norms

Enseña Chile: Chile

Project: Improve school performance, build community, and promote innovation and learning through school leadership teams

Community Empowerment Solutions: Ecuador and Guatemala

Project: Foster innovation in local communities by supporting local organizations through knowledge-sharing and cross-border collaboration

Habitat for Humanity International, Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter: India and Mexico

Project: Promote safe and dignified shelter by encouraging lasting behavior change in housing and construction labor markets

Catholic Relief Services: India and Nepal

Project: Extend the impact of disaster recovery programs by supporting self-recovery efforts to build more resilient communities


Four MGA students standing on the top of a mountain in Iten, Kenya
Students from the Master of Global Affairs Class of 2019 in Iten, Kenya.


Peacebuilding Field Experiences:

Thirteen MGA students with concentrations in International Peace Studies will begin internships in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, or the United States in July.

The six-month experience will help students understand the role of peacebuilding and human development in communities dealing with issues of peace and conflict, human rights, and justice.

Students will spend four days each week working with a partner organization and one day each week conducting research on topics including conflict analysis, structural and cultural violence, forced migration, and trauma healing.

This year’s partner organizations are American Near East Refugee Aid, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, Catholic Relief Services, the Chicago Torture Justice Center, Creative Associates International, Generations for Peace, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Life and Peace Institute, Mercy Corps, the Peace Accords Matrix Barometer Initiative, and RAFT Myanmar. Catholic Relief Services and the Life and Peace Institute are returning partners.

Research findings will be used to develop students’ capstone projects, which will be presented next spring.


This year’s peacebuilding global partners include:

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA): Beirut, Lebanon

Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA): Manila, Philippines

Catholic Relief Services (CRS): Baltimore, Maryland

Chicago Torture Justice Center, Chicago, Illinois

Creative Associates International: San Salvador, El Salvador

Generations for Peace: Washington, DC

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: Geneva, Switzerland

The Life and Peace Institute (LPI): Nairobi, Kenya

Mercy Corps: Beirut, Lebanon

Peace Accords Matrix Barometer Initiative: Bogotá, Colombia

RAFT Myanmar: Yangon, Myanmar


To learn more about the MGA program, visit

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