The School of Diplomacy and International Relations collaborates with many institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide internship opportunities for Diplomacy students. Anna Fagan, a recent graduate of the master's program, benefited from the School's partnership with the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA-USA).
Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work advocating for peaceful change in Liberia.
Fagan worked as communications intern at GPFA-USA, an organization established by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Liberian peace advocate Leymah Gbowee. The foundation specializes in empowering women and girls in their communities. In her role, Fagan created social media and other content to keep in touch with the foundation's supporters and donors. "I learned so much about how non-profit organizations utilize their online platforms and network to inform followers of what they do, the initiatives they're working on, and also to spread the word about how people can get involved."
Seton Hall's partnership with GPFA-USA creates opportunities for students to get involved with the work of the Foundation, and "learn the fundamentals of peace-making and democracy building in an international environment," explains Catherine Ruby, Ph.D., director of Internships and Career Development at the School of Diplomacy. This type of skill-building, she says, is an important part of the internship and career development experiences students often seek.
Leymah Gbowee was honored at the World Leaders Forum hosted by the School of Diplomacy in 2014. During her visit to campus, Gbowee spoke about peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Liberia, and her role in leading Liberia to peace and change.
On the subject of University's partnership, Gbowee said: "I have worked with interns from Seton Hall at both the Liberian and U.S. chapters of my foundation, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. The students have been diligent and interested in the world around them."
Gail Thornton, M.A. '03, met Leymah Gbowee at the School of Diplomacy World Leaders Fourm in 2014.
Gail Thornton, a Diplomacy graduate alumnus and a member of the School's Board of Overseers, began working for GPFA-USA after meeting Gbowee at the World Leaders Forum. An active member of the Foreign Press Association, Thornton serves as the founder and chief communications officer at Worldview Communications, a global communications consulting firm based in New Jersey. Thornton recruits top talent globally and works with young and established communicators to provide them with the skills and mentoring they need to leave a sustained and positive imprint on communications. Since 2015, Thornton has helped recruit Diplomacy students as communication interns for the foundation.
Thornton says: "I wanted to be part of a movement that centers on women, education and solidarity as critical to lasting peace and human security and do my part in servant leadership by working with Seton Hall. It is through the ongoing communications work with student interns that we have the opportunity to shape how the world engages with the vision and work of a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is still very active in the field of conflict mediation and international advocacy."
Regarding Thornton's contributions to the partnership, Gbowee said: "I am particularly grateful for the partnership with Gail Thornton who is both a Seton Hall graduate and a communications professional. Under Gail's careful watch, Seton Hall interns from both the College of Communication and the Arts and the School of Diplomacy, have helped us share stories of peace, women's leadership and education with the world to ensure wider reach and greater impact."
So far, Thornton has mentored 8 interns from Seton Hall. Each semester, students work closely with Thornton and Sarah Jewell, director of GPFA-USA, to help ensure that the stories of the foundation's work in Liberia and across the world are shared with a wide audience.
Thornton expressed her appreciation for the support of Internships and Career Development director Ruby. "It is through Dr. Ruby's dedication and commitment to her work of providing quality, outstanding interns to the foundation that we are able to carry out some of the best and most innovative communications and social media programs."
Diploamcy graduate student Anna Fagan interned with the Gbowee Peace Foundation last summer.
Looking back at her internship with GPFA-USA last summer, Fagan said the experience served to reinforce her values and future interests. "I firmly believe girls education is crucial to female empowerment in the developing world and I got to see that in action. This position reinforced these beliefs and has inspired me to apply for some jobs in this field as I begin my career."
When asked what she thought was special about the University's partnership with the Gbowee Peace Foundation, Fagan said: "The partnership gives SHU students an incredible opportunity to acquire additional communications skills while teaching us about relevant topics such as sustainable development, girls' education, post-conflict reconstruction, and female socio-economic empowerment."
The foundation recognized Fagan during National Intern Day in August 2020. Thornton described Fagan's dedication in developing communications work for GPFA-USA as having a lasting and wide-ranging impact. Jewell also expressed that it was rewarding to see Fagan apply her academic knowledge and practical skills coupled with her perseverance to bring meaningful contributions to the work of the Foundation.
The School's partnership with the Gbowee Peace Foundation is just one example of the unique opportunities that are available to students aiming to become the changemakers of tomorrow.
Categories: Arts and Culture