Eric Canales recently completed his Peace Corps service in Puyo, Ecuador, where he conducted horticulture therapy sessions with children and young adults with disabilities and led a project promoting food security among local farmers by establishing community gardens. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, Eric enlisted in the US Air Force and worked for four years as a jet engine mechanic in support of the 71st Rescue Squadron. His passion for service began as a volunteer in Thailand following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and then in St. Bernard Parish after Hurricane Katrina. He is interested in the intersection between engineering and policy, specifically reinforcing civil infrastructure and promoting capacity-building in populations vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural hazards. Eric graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the recipient of a Graduate School’s Deans’ Fellowship.
The Keough School’s master of global affairs program, a two-year program, includes 74 students. Current students and MGA alumni represent more than 50 countries including:
Afghanistan; Argentina; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belize; Burkina Faso; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Democratic Republic of Congo; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Ethiopia; The Gambia; Ghana; Haiti; Honduras; Hungary; Indonesia; Iran; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Lebanon; Mali; Mexico; Mongolia; Morocco; Nepal; Nigeria; Pakistan; Palestine; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Sierra Leone; South Africa; South Korea; Tajikistan; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkey; Ukraine; Uganda; the United Kingdom; the United States; Uzbekistan; Vietnam; and Zimbabwe.
The students bring a wealth of professional experience in international development, education, peacebuilding, environmental conservation, human rights, humanitarian assistance, journalism, and other fields. All students in the class have received fellowships thanks to a number of generous families, as well as foundation support and funding from institutes and the University more widely.
Belén Carriedo graduated cum laude from Washington State University with BA degrees in criminal justice and sociology. Driven by a passion to serve, she interned at Hospicio de Huerfano in Costa Rica; the Centre for Social Action in Bangalore, India; and at Good Neighbors in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. More recently she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji, where she worked as a community youth development organizer. In Fiji she conducted several Let Girls Learn initiatives, including a Take Back the Night event to raise awareness of gender-based violence. Belén is captivated by the power of women’s participation and engagement as a catalyst for change. She is fluent in Spanish and iTaukei, a native language of Fiji, and is a recipient of a Coca-Cola Global Affairs Fellowship.
Feature: Retracing the route to freedom
Justice Chiedozie Chukwu is a lawyer and peace advocate. He has served various organizations including the Nigerian Bar Association, the Mirror of the Masses Initiative, the Economic Community of West African States, and the United Nations. He has received academic and professional awards from the Nigerian Law School and the International Centre for Arbitration. While working for the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, he provided pro bono legal services, facilitated the release of 11 prisoners, and educated students on citizens’ legal rights and duties. Justice is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Annie Conaghan’s passion for education began at a young age. After graduating with a degree in secondary education and history from Marquette University she joined the Peace Corps, where she spent two years teaching English and education methodology at Tynastanov University in Kyrgyzstan. While in Kyrgyzstan she led a $5,000 Let Girls Learn Grant which reached 250 women. The grant focused on women’s empowerment and women’s mental, emotional, and physical health. After completing her Peace Corps service in Kyrgyzstan, Annie worked as an education specialist in Malawi in conjunction with the Malawian Department of Education and Peace Corps. She worked with local administration and students of a USAID-funded school to improve student engagement and gender equity. Annie’s academic interests focus on international education and its relationship with students’ well-being and development. She is the recipient of a Donald & Marilyn Keough Fellowship.
Erin Connolly is the associate program director for Girl Security and a fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, where she previously worked as a research assistant. She has created modules for high school girls on topics such as ethics, nuclear nonproliferation, and nuclear security. Working at the nexus of policy and public engagement, she connects education, national security, and personal security to cultivate the next generation of innovative policy leaders. Erin has written on topics including nuclear terrorism, Iran, and North Korea. Erin graduated cum laude from College of the Holy Cross, earning a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a minor in French and a concentration in peace and conflict studies. She is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Profile: MGA student works to amplify young voices on nuclear disarmament
Sarah Davies Breen has worked most recently in higher education. She has held multiple positions at the University of Chicago, where she was director of academic and faculty affairs in the social sciences and manager of research initiatives and visiting fellows at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. Sarah serves on the board of BLUME Haiti, a nonprofit organization focused on music education. Sarah spent two years as a volunteer music teacher in Haiti, where she learned to speak Haitian Creole. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Lawrence University and a certificate in project management from the University of Chicago. As a master of global affairs student, Sarah was the recipient of a Donald & Marilyn Keough Fellowship.
María’s career has focused on human rights, development, and peacebuilding. She recently served as program officer, first for human rights and then for transitional justice and humanitarian assistance, at the Swedish International Development Agency in Bogotá, assisting with the implementation of Colombia’s peace agreement. She also interned with the German political foundation Konrad Adenauer and ProColombia, Colombia’s agency for the promotion of tourism and foreign investment. María holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and international relations and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. She is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Sofía del Valle has worked for organizations focused on inequality and socio-environmental conflicts. Before coming to Notre Dame, Sofía worked at Casa de la Paz, a Chilean-based nongovernmental organization that advises institutions on conflict resolution and community relations. She also has worked as a volunteer with vulnerable children, youth, and women while living in a slum in southern Chile. She holds a BA in sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. As a master of global affairs student, Sofía was the recipient of a Kellogg Institute Fellowship.