The Integration Lab at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs is sending teams of Master of Global Affairs students to 13 countries this summer to research and help address a range of pressing global challenges.
By partnering with high-impact global organizations, the Integration Lab (i-Lab) enables student teams to co-design international research projects with seasoned professionals. Each project aims to create innovative solutions to complex issues related to migration, climate change, educational inequality or access to health care.
The students’ international travel comes at the conclusion of their first year of intensive coursework in the Master of Global Affairs program.
Global partner representatives traveled to Notre Dame during the spring semester to engage with student teams and advance project strategies.
“The opportunity for the i-Lab teams to meet in person with a representative from their organization before traveling to the field was invaluable,” saidTracy Kijewski-Correa, co-director of the i-Lab.
The partner visit also generated enthusiasm among master’s students, said i-Lab co-directorSteve Reifenberg.
“There are few graduate programs we know that provide the opportunity to meet with their partners in this extended fashion before a field placement,” Reifenberg said. “It’s well worth the investment."
Kwame Owino, chief executive officer at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a policy think tank in Nairobi, Kenya, was among the global partners who traveled to Notre Dame.
“My first impression was that we’ll be working with a group that’s very diverse, both in terms of countries and professional backgrounds,” Owino said. “My visit has confirmed that the Keough School is deliberate about understanding global affairs from a multidisciplinary perspective. The students ask interesting questions and are able to draw from many disciplines in sharing their ideas.”
One of seven research teams formed by the Keough School of Global Affairs’ Integration Lab, these Notre Dame master of global affairs students and staff from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Migration and Refugee Services are collaborating on a project focused on migration.
After returning to Notre Dame to analyze and their findings during their second year of study, students present final recommendations to their organizational partner. Students will be sharing their experiences through the project blog.
The Keough School’s i-Lab trains students in integrated mindsets and professional skillsets in order to prepare them to address complex challenges in today’s global employment landscape.
In addition to students participating in the i-Lab, other master of global affairs students who have chosen the program’s international peace studies concentration are participating in individual internships with peace and justice-oriented organizations in Colombia, Kenya, and U.S. cities including Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
The Keough School of Global Affairs welcomed its inaugural master of global affairs class — 38 students from 22 countries — in August 2017. Founded in 2014, the Keough School is Notre Dame’s first new school in nearly a century.
Locations, projects and partner organizations for the i-Lab students include:
Project: Reduce the vulnerability of women to climate change by enhancing the effectiveness of translating research into policy.
Project: Develop scenarios for the future of Kenya’s devolution — transferring power to local levels — that promote democratic participation, equitable distribution of resources and peaceful conflict resolution.