Steve Reifenberg, teaching professor of international development in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a Fulbright US Scholar Award to help create new experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) in Santiago, Chile.
Beginning in January 2024, Reifenberg will spend four months collaborating with faculty across disciplines at the pontifical university, one of the oldest and most widely recognized educational institutions in Latin America.
“Our goal is to create innovative opportunities for students to engage in real-world, team-based problem solving that addresses some of the complex global challenges we face today in areas such as education, health, or community development,” Reifenberg said. Reifenberg developed a series of master of global affairs courses based on this approach as co-director of the Keough School’s Integration Lab from 2015 to 2021, and also as an instructor for several Notre Dame undergraduate courses.
At UC, Reifenberg will work with faculty representing the natural sciences and mathematics, the social sciences, and arts and humanities. Together, they plan to build upon work with the university’s current partner organizations and also with individuals from outside the university community.
“We’ll explore models for initiatives that enable students, partners, and the communities they serve to bring their best selves—creative, resourceful, authentic, purposeful, and impactful—to make concrete contributions to the work at hand,” said Reifenberg, whose teaching focuses on international development carried out through accompaniment—a partnership rooted in a recognition of shared human dignity and care for all dimensions of the human person. While at UC, Reifenberg also plans to explore and write about the concepts of accompaniment and experiential learning in the Chilean context.
Reifenberg has extensive experience living and working in Chile. Before coming to Notre Dame in 2010, he founded and directed the regional office of Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in Santiago, Chile, one of several roles he held while working at Harvard for 20 years. He is the author of Santiago’s Children: What I Learned About Life Working at an Orphanage in Chile, Reifenberg serves on the boards of Partners In Health and also Education Bridge in South Sudan. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an MS in print journalism from Boston University, and a BA in philosophy from Notre Dame.