MGA graduates awarded fellowships for postgraduate employment focusing on civil society activism and gender justice

The Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame has awarded two major postgraduate fellowships that support the professional development of graduating master of global affairs students. 

Rana El-Beheiry (at right in above photo), a 2020 graduate, has been awarded the Hesburgh Global Fellowship. Theresa Puhr, also a member of the MGA Class of 2020, has been awarded the Raymond C. Offenheiser Fellowship. Both fellowships, awarded annually, subsidize employment with organizations that foster human dignity and equality.

El-Beheiry, who is from Egypt, works as a program officer for ICAN, the International Civil Society Action Network. ICAN supports civil society activism by promoting women’s rights, peace, and human security in countries affected by conflict, transition and closed political spaces. The organization connects activists and the policy community and supports women activists by helping them develop skills and fostering the exchange of knowledge and resources. El-Beheiry’s responsibilities include supporting the engagement of women in peacebuilding processes in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. She also supports partner organizations in writing grant proposals. 

“I enjoy working for an organization that utilizes a bottom-up, grassroots approach,” El-Beheiry said. “We rely on a foundation of trust with our local partners, offering guidance as needed but not imposing a specific strategy or agenda.” 

El-Beheiry is currently working remotely from her home in Cairo. After the coronavirus pandemic subsides, she will relocate to ICAN’s office in Washington, DC. As an MGA student with a concentration in international peace studies, El-Beheiry interned at Mercy Corps in Lebanon, where she focused on monitoring and evaluation. Before coming to the Keough School, she worked closely with Catholic Relief Services and interned with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, working to improve conditions for Syrian refugees in Egypt. 

As a master of global affairs student, Theresa Puhr was part of an Integration Lab student team that collaborated with Oxfam America to examine a savings program for women in Cambodia to enable economic empowerment. In her new role as a full time Oxfam employee, Puhr is working with the organization’s aid effectiveness and gender justice teams, focusing on women’s economic rights related to unpaid and underpaid work carried out by women. She also is focusing on building a relationship with Oxfam Hong Kong to facilitate more collaboration between the US and Hong Kong offices, developing a foundation for a future role in supporting US-China relations.

Before coming to the Keough School, Puhr spent a year in the Maryknoll China Teachers Program, where she taught English at Jilin Medical University and worked with local grassroots organizations serving rural communities.

“I’m really excited to be working on two issues I care deeply about: US-China relations and gender justice issues,” Puhr said. “I’m looking forward to now approaching them from a policy perspective, tapping into my previous experience on the programmatic side.”

Puhr is also working remotely and will eventually relocate to Washington, DC. 

The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs program prepares students for skilled, effective leadership and careers in government, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector. The program integrates rigorous coursework, close engagement with policymakers, multi-disciplinary faculty and students from around the world, and extended field work around the globe. 


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