MAIS Internship Spotlight: Anne Song (´17)

This week, we caught up with Anne Song, one of our MAIS 17´ students to learn about her internship experience.

Where did you complete your MA in International Studies internship?

I interned at UN Women in Ankara, Turkey from August-December 2017.


How did the MAIS program prepare you for your internship?

MAIS taught me the research and writing skills needed to support the executive and research teams at UN Women. As I look back, each class, each paper I wrote, and all the presentations I did in MAIS prepared me for this internship. Just as important, the support I received from MAIS throughout my experience from start to finish was invaluable. With the help of MAIS staff and my advisor (Prof. Lindsay Gifford), I was able to make the most of my time at UN Women and my brief life in Turkey.

What were some of the highlights of interning at this organization?

Definitely the people. I’ve met some of the most inspiring women and men in this organization. I learned here that Turkey is hosting the largest amount of Syrian refugees, and part of the UN Women program was to support the civil society organizations working to support Syrian refugee women and children. I was able to meet several Syrian women working to make Turkey their new home, and I was able to see first hand the effects of war and displacement.  It showed me the importance of our type of education and work and inspired me to work even harder.

What did you gain from your experience?

Working for an organization like the United Nations can feel intimidating, but I realized when you’re learning something new it’s important to be kind to yourself. Also, an unpaid internship for this length of time is quite a sacrifice, especially when you’re relocating to another country. But I realized anything worth doing is going to cost you something. I honestly never thought UN Women would give me this opportunity. So just go for it!AnneSongUN2


MAIS Internship Spotlight: Jules Sombaye (´18)

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This week, we caught up with current MAIS student to learn about his recent internship experience. All MAIS students complete an internship intended to apply in-class learning to real-world situations. Jules (MAIS ’18) shares his experience below.

Who are you:

My name is Jules and I am from Yaounde, Cameroon. I am interested in global issues, more precisely, in conflict resolution and human rights advocacy in Central Africa.

During my first semester in the MAIS program, I had the opportunity to intern in the Marketing and Digital Communications Department at the World Affairs Council of Northern California. World Affairs is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities to meet with international experts, work with local nonprofits, participate in global conversations, explore international careers, and study abroad.  The organization also provides events and forums to give people the opportunity to discuss international issues with experts in the field.

How did the MAIS program prepare you for your internship?

The MAIS program provided me with invaluable critical thinking, research, and writing skills that greatly enhanced my work at the organization. The program taught me how to be detail-oriented, and how to think outside the box. Moreover, the knowledge on global issues acquired during the program helped me evolve as an intern. I was able to communicate with experts in International Studies about political, economic, and social global issues.

What were some highlights of interning at this organization?

Interning at World Affairs was my first concrete professional experience in the US. The organization is an outstanding knowledge and networking platform for students interested in international issues. In my case, having had the opportunity to discuss American foreign policy with Samantha Power, former US ambassador at the UN, was priceless. Moreover, I was lucky to hear advice from Duncan Green, the Oxfam Senior strategy adviser, on how to impact change through an organization.

What did you gain from your experience?

My experience at World Affairs helped me understand the work of a non-profit organization and the different impacts of this particular organization. Since I aspire to be an actor of change in my country, as well as the African continent, the skills and knowledge I gained are definitely important contributions to achieve this dream. Moreover, meeting experts in the field of International Studies gave me an insiders perspective and knowledge about what it means to work in the field.

Finally, I acquired some useful planning skills that have helped me manage the African Union Club at USF, an on-campus organization for which I am the president. The club aims to foster the debate African political issues at USF.


Rue W. Ziegler Fellowship: Tristan Burger(MAIS´17)


The Rue W. Ziegler Fellowship awarded me the opportunity to travel to The Hague this fall to attend a child protection conference. The 15th Annual International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) European Regional Conference brought together researchers, academics, practitioners, and experts in the field of child rights from around the globe to discuss the most pressing issues facing children today.

My capstone topic is centered on innovative approaches to preventing the recruitment of child soldiers in conflict zones. The subjects covered in this conference touched on all aspects of child rights from access to health and education, domestic abuse, and sexual and gender-based violence. The talks I attended illuminated the growing concern young people face in an increasingly digitalized and globalized world where gaining access to vulnerable groups of children is easier than ever. I was particularly interested in the role that technology plays in child abuse as my research focuses on harnessing technology to protect children. Several of the discussants remarked on the paradoxical nature of technology as it relates to child protection and proffered solutions for effective applications.

Not only did this conference allow me to view my research from new perspectives, it afforded me the opportunity to network with other leaders in this field. I received valuable insight and advice from social workers and human rights activists about my applied project. They brought up interested and insightful points that I would not have otherwise considered.

It was also a pleasure to explore The Hague, a city home to the International Criminal Court, the Peace Palace, and dozens of other human rights institutions. It was inspiring to walk around the streets and see buildings that I had learned about in my international law class last year. I highly encourage MAIS students to travel abroad to better understand the real-world application of the theories that are taught in the classroom.

It was an honor to represent USF and MAIS on this trip and I am so grateful for the experiences that this fellowship afforded!


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Global Manifestos

During the Forum for Transnational Collaboration in the Visual Arts that took place on November 17th-18th, 2017 at USF, the workshop Global Manifestos was held. Global Manifestos was an innovative workshop for students, faculty and the public that encouraged individuals to share their experiences and reactions to the changes in the art community wrought by globalization. Economic globalization has marginalized more people than any previous economic system and allowed Multi-National Corporations unprecedented control over affairs of state in the art community. This fact has constrained individual choices and foisted upon previously independent cultures the vagaries of the market. Whether one is discussing farmers in Chiapas, street vendors in Tunisia, or Mom-and-Pop shops in the U.S., globalization has eroded previously stable economies and laid alternative models of culture and economy to waste. This interdisciplinary creative workshop has allowed the community of USF and the Bay Area, as well as international visitors from abroad, to speak out about the fragile domains that globalization has imperiled in the art community in particular.

The Global Manifestos Workshop presented an alternative to the model of economic globalization by providing a platform for multiple and diverse articulations on globalization. The voices of artists, curators, and critics who do not operate in the United States and Europe have been considered marginal, but scholars and professionals need to rethink these norms. Thus, the focus has been to explore the developments of artists and institutions from the (former) periphery that diffuse their own innovations into a global culture and, in so doing, transform the meaning of the visual arts, social dynamics and market processes of the art world.

Discussion of African political issues: Promoting an African agenda at USF

The African Union Club at USF is a student association that brings together all USF students interested in the political, social and economic issues on the African continent. The association was officially approved as a graduate organization during the 2017 fall semester. The organization is open to all USF students, without distinction of sex, race, religion, sexual orientation. At USF, there are more than 100 different student clubs open to all students who look to develop skills, get involved and meet new people. One of the primary goals of the African Union Club is to encourage and foster intellectual debates on the social, economic and political challenges of the African continent. Following this logic, they will be launching the program “Let’s Talk Africa”. The goal of this program is to host a series of talks about contemporary political topics that make the news on the African continent. For this purpose, the club is looking for faculty members interested in sharing their opinions on these topics.
For the official launch of its activities, the African Union Club at USF is organizing a conversation on Human Rights in migration processes in Sub-Saharan Africa. This conversation is organized following the discovery of the exploitation of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in Libya in November 2017. What is the role of states in migration processes in Sub-Saharan Africa? How can losses of lives and human rights violations be avoided in these processes? These and more questions will be addressed during the conversation. 
It counts on the participation of Professor Jeffrey Paller, advisor of the association and who specializes in African politics, and Professor Lindsay Gifford, who specializes in migration and refugee questions. 
Join fellow students for this great opportunity to discuss recent events in Africa.
February 22 at 11:45 am, Conference Room 501, the University Center at USF. 

MAIS Students Present their Research at this year’s ISA West Conference in Pasadena, CA

ISA-West, a regional division of the International Studies Association, held its annual conference in September 2017 in Pasadena, California. ISA-West brings together students, faculty, and scholars from around the region, the U.S., and the world to present their research and discuss global issues. This year, with generous assistance from the Rue W. Ziegler Scholarship Fund, two MAIS students presented their Capstone work. Jessica Tran presented her paper entitled “Increasing US militarization of the Asa-Pacific region and its impacts on regional stability from a critical security perspective”. Tristan Burger presented her research project “Small Arms: An Applied Approach to Children in Armed Conflict Prevention Initiatives”. Below, Jessica shares her experience:

After conducting preliminary research on my thesis project throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to share my work at the ISA West Annual Conference in Pasadena, California. Presenting in a panel on U.S. Foreign Policy and International Conflict, I was excited to share my thesis project and gain valuable feedback from peers and established scholars.

Not only did I receive constructive responses for my project, but I also had the opportunity to connect with many scholars whose area of expertise relate to my academic interests. I met my rockstar, J. Ann Tickner, whose tremendous work in Feminist IR and critical security studies inspired me to think more critically about the analytical approach to my project. I engaged in a lively discussion with IR Professor Sanjoy Banerjee on China’s security infrastructure; he promised we could stay in touch and provide guidance on the case study portion of my project.

Additionally, David Lake—the discussant for my panel—offered considerable support to myself and other panelists, including extending the discussion of our papers and general career advice over coffee. These interactions were truly the highlight of the trip. I enjoyed sharing and discussing IS ideas, but the immense support of the IS community in developing emerging scholars was what really blew me away. I left tremendously encouraged with not only my thesis project but also the prospects for life after MAIS.

In participating in the conference, I faced a lot of personal fears—fear of public speaking, fear of presenting my ideas to the world, and fear of rejection. I can’t say I’ve been completely cured of these insecurities, but I’m grateful for the experience to tackle it head on and come out the other side a bit more confident and determined.

Rue W. Ziegler Fellowship: Megan Clemens


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This summer I was fortunate enough to conduct my master’s thesis research near the Kimana Gate of Amboseli National Park. Amboseli is located in the southern part of Kenya, near the Tanzanian border and Mount Kilimanjaro. The Amboseli ecosystem is located in Maasailand, with many traditional Maasai communities still inhabiting the area. The Amboseli ecosystem is also part of a large migratory route that wildlife use to access corridors between Amboseli, Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Tsavo National Parks. Amboseli is quite small as a park, but the ecosystem sustains approximately 1,600 elephants while the park only holds enough resources for around 100 elephants at one time. As a result, the lands and corridors between these national parks hold so much value for both the wildlife and the local communities. As a result, community-based initiatives have been implemented to encourage and incentivize community members to adhere to conservation policies, and also offset costs from human-wildlife conflict.

My research goal was to study how community-based conservation initiatives impacted the local communities, paying specific attention to the gendered dimensions of these initiatives. My main research objective lies in the gendered impacts of community-based conservation initiatives because these initiatives tend to assume communities as one unit, rather than recognizing sub-groups within communities have different needs. More specifically, the Maasai are a patriarchal society that traditionally has many customs based on gender inequalities. So, I was curious to see— Was anyone benefitting? Did some benefit more than others? If the communities were receiving benefits did both genders benefit equally? Were there barriers limiting who could benefit? To find answers to these questions, I conducted interviews with Maasai men and women, as well as conservation NGO employees.

One of the most common benefits mentioned by the Maasai community members I interviewed were school “bursaries”. The “bursaries” are checks that help pay for local kids’ tuition for secondary school. Bursaries are funds that are created through shared park revenue policies. A portion of every park entrance fee goes into this fund. However, many times the checks or bursaries do not cover the costs of a semester for one child in secondary school. It surprised me that so many members of the Maasai communities who were receiving these bursaries considered them a benefit from the park, but also recognized that it wasn’t truly enough to cover the costs of an education. Additionally, the benefits of the school bursaries were even harder to access for girls because of the existence of female genital mutilation, child marriages, and marriage dowries. Often because of these barriers, families use the limited funds they have to send their sons to secondary school.  

My advice for students wanting to conduct fieldwork abroad is first and foremost, do it! Secondly, I would say start planning and coordinating with your advisor as soon as you can because there is a lot of logistics that go into planning your work abroad. For students who are thinking that they want to go abroad for research, but may not have an advisor— reach out to department faculty and start having those conversations. Once out in the field, enjoy your time there and take notes on everything!

Alumni Spotlight: Francesca Mateo (MAIS’ 16)

We caught up with recent MAIS graduate, Francesca Mateo (MAIS ‘16) about her work with Project PEARLS, an NGO in the Philippines that aims to alleviate children from slum communities out of poverty through education and health. Here is an excerpt from a story she wrote documenting her experience and a new initiative to create a week-long dance summit as part of an immersion trip for Filipino-American choreographers. Be sure to read the full story here.


While in the MAIS program, my classmates and I were given several case studies in which we had to access numerous ways to problem-solve. For instance, how do we increase the nutrition in this particular community? Or, how do we approach a human rights issue in a community while remaining culturally sensitive? Because MAIS taught me how to take the time to understand an issue from several different angles, I am more prepared to create my own program.

While creating Art of Us, not only did I ask what the problem was but what were the factors that played a role in it. Creating Art of Us also required a great amount of teamwork considering I worked with three organizations to create it. The MAIS program helped with this as well. On top of papers and readings, MAIS requires its students to collaborate and debate and build together. MAIS helped build my professionalism, cooperative skills, as well as leadership.

National Day of Action in Solidarity with Standing Rock – USF Rallies in Support

On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, the University of San Francisco community under the leadership of student Calina Lawrence held a rally in support of the National Day of Solidarity with Standing Rock (#NoDAPL). Professor Zartner, Chair of the International Studies Department spoke at the event. Below is a transcript of her speech calling for multi-level activism bringing the global and the local together. Thank you to all members of the International Studies community who came out to support this effort!


The Local-Global Connection and International Action in Support of Standing Rock

By Dana Zartner, International Studies Department

There are National Day of Action events happening in all 50 states today. This morning in San Francisco, there was a sunrise vigil at City Hall. People are standing up to recognize the inherent inequities and unlawfulness happening in North Dakota. For the Standing Rock Sioux and all the other Native American nations, this fight is nothing new. They have been fighting these violations of their rights, culture and land for centuries. But I think what we are seeing in the last few months, indeed the last few days, is the recognition that this is a fight they should not be in alone. And today I want to talk about this fight and activism and why what is happening at Standing Rock is a seminal moment – for Native American nations, but also for peoples around the world.

Standing Rock and the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline is a global issues and it has generated support from all corners of the world. It exemplifies the multi-level activism that I think is so important in today’s world. Activism happens at many levels, and we must use all of these in our fight against injustices and illegal activities like those happening in North Dakota. We know that there has been active negative action on the part of the North Dakota state government, and harmful inaction on the part of the federal government.


What do we do when we face such obstacles? We do what the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have done. We turn to the courts. We turn to the media. We organize and protest. And we turn to the global community. In 2016 activism has gone global, and while imperfect, I believe that much action on issues like those at Standing Rock in the years to come will be at the local level buoyed by support from international law, international institutions, and the broader global community.

We need to draw on all the resources available to us. We need to be creative in our activism. We need to look beyond our borders and seek allies and ideas and new mechanisms to fight for the rights of all peoples. There is much criticism of the international system of laws and institutions as being ineffectual, and in many ways it is. It is not a global government in the way we have state governments. But we know, in situations like Standing Rock, having a state government with laws and a police force doesn’t always mean that laws and rights are protected. Turning to the global offers support in different ways: giving added legal weight to the violations occurring, offering global protest that pressures multinational corporations and other investors, ‘naming and shaming’, offering on the ground protections, and creating pressures of potential punishment through supranational forums.


We know the numerous human rights violations, recognized not only in our domestic law but in international law to which the U.S. is obligated, are occurring at Standing Rock:

  • Right to Clean Water
  • Right to Cultural Heritage
  • Right to Cultural Land
  • Right to Equal Protection of the Laws
  • Right to Freedom of Expression
  • Right to be free from Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • The right to prior informed consent
  • The right to a thorough environmental impact statement

Emphasizing the international and universal nature of these rights provides extra emphasis to domestic laws, and has been used effectively by peoples around the world who have gone through, or are going through, situations similar to what is happening at Standing Rock – communities along the Amazon, the Mekong, The Congo. The Brahmaputra, and many others around the world are facing the same struggles for clean water and cultural preservation and they have used international laws and institutions in the absence of support from their state governments to fight for their land, their culture and their rights.

Just a few days ago, Grand Chief Edward John, an Expert Member with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues visited Standing Rock and issued conclusions confirming the violations of numerous international human rights by both the companies involved, and the local and state law enforcement agencies. He was joined by a member of the International Indian Treaty Council. It is also likely that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will visit soon, after calling on the US to halt construction.

What does this mean for a country that has a reputation for ignoring the UN? While it may not mean sanctions or removal from positions of influence, it does shine a light on what is happening in North Dakota. ‘Naming and Shaming’ can have an impact on states and their behavior. And this impact can come in a variety of ways.

For example, global protests over the issues at Standing Rock can impact the companies supporting this action. Reaching out to the global community, ensuring Standing Rock is on the front page of newspapers and social media in countries around the world, creates global networks of advocates who can have a powerful impact on companies or investors. After protests in Norway, including a sit in at the bank’s headquarters, the DNB bank (Norway’s largest, which has given $120 million to Bakken Pipeline, and $460 million in credit lines to companies with ownership stakes, including Energy Transfer Partners), has announced it is conducting its own objective and fact-based evaluation of how the Standing Rock’s Sioux rights are being treated.

Amnesty International has also sent a team to Standing Rock to investigate human rights abuses under the ICCPR and CAT, two treaties to which the US is a part and which can therefore be used in court cases in US courts. These visits can not only shine a light, but also serve as an additional layer of protection for the people on the ground. One protector interviewed by Amensty said that government and company fly-overs of the camp and harassment decrease when groups like the UN or Amnesty or on the ground.

This international attention can also have an impact in building a record of violations that may be able to be used in the future. The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court recently stated that they will “give particular consideration” to prosecuting crimes involving “the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land.”

While the U.S. is not a party to the Court, Canada is and Canada’s largest pipeline company, Enbridge, recently became a joint stakeholder in 49% of the DAPL. And there are other investors from other countries such as Japan, the UK, and France who are also members of the ICC. The threat of these kinds of cases being filed in a global forum can be a deterrent to CEOs and other individuals and impact their support of actions such as the Dakota Access pipeline.

The main point I want to make with these examples is that we need to go global in our activism. Last year I attended the annual meeting of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As is often true with these global events, the real work was done in the hall ways and the coffee bar where representatives from indigenous groups and rights groups from around the world connect, share stories and strategies and come together to realize they are not alone.


I haven’t been out to Standing Rock, and I am sure those who are camped there facing the onset of the North Dakota winter and an increasingly hostile and armed corporation, do feel alone. As allies of those at Standing Rock and of all indigenous peoples around the world fighting for their rights, their culture, their sacred space, and water – on behalf of themselves and all people of the world, it is up to us to do what we can to let them know they are not alone. What we can each contribute may be different, but it is up to us to contribute what we can. Use your strengths, dedicate your heart, release your passion. Stand with Standing Rock, in spite of the obstacles,

Water is Life. Mni Wiconi.

Faculty Friday: Stephen Zunes

Every Friday, the International Studies Department will profile one of our amazing faculty members so you can get to know them better and see all the amazing work our faculty do!


Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies. Since first coming to USF in 1995, he has taught courses on the politics of Middle East and other regions, nonviolence, conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, and globalization for the Politics department, BAIS, MAIS, and the minors/concentrations in Peace & Justice Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. He received his BA from Oberlin College in 1979 and spent his first few years after college in Philadelphia, Washington and Boston working various odd jobs for pay while engaging in political organizing and free-lance journalism.  Eventually, he received his MA from Temple University in Political Science in 1984 and his PhD from Cornell University in Government in 1990. Prior to coming to USF, he served on the faculty at Ithaca College, Whitman College and the University of Puget Sound and directed a small policy institute in the Seattle area focusing on U.S. Middle East policy.

Currently, Professor Zunes serves as a writer and senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus (part of the Institute for Policy Studies), an associate editor for Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and a member of the academic advisory council of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)


A prominent specialist on U.S. Middle East policy and strategic nonviolent action, Prof. Zunes has presented numerous lectures and conference papers in the United States and over a dozen foreign countries. His travels have taken him to 75 nations, including trips to the Middle East and other conflict regions, meeting with prominent government officials, scholars and dissidents, making him persona non grata in a number of authoritarian states. He has served as a political analyst for local, national, and international radio and television; a writer for the Huffington Post, Truthout, Alternet, Open Democracy, and Common Dreams websites; and currently writes a monthly foreign affairs column for the National Catholic Reporter and a twice-monthly column for The Progressive. He has also published scores of articles in academic journals, anthologies, magazines, and newspaper op–ed pages on such topics as U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, Latin American politics, African politics, human rights, arms control, social movements and nonviolent action.

His consistent positions in support of human rights and international law have earned him the wrath of both the right and the far left and arguably receives more Internet hits than any USF professor, not all of them positive.

Since coming to USF, he has enjoyed a number of short-term academic appointments, including serving as a research associate for the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz; a visiting professor for the International Master in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies at Jaume I University in Spain; and, most recently, a visiting research professor at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

He has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship on Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies at Dartmouth College, a Human Rights Fellowship at the Center for Law and Global Justice at the USF, and a Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies, as well as research grants through the Institute for Global Security Studies, the United States Institute of Peace, and the International Resource Center. He was the recipient of the 2015 Dean’s Scholar Award from USF’s College of Arts and Sciences and, in 2002, he won recognition from the Peace and Justice Studies Association as their first Peace Scholar of the Year.

Professor Zunes lives in a cohousing community in Santa Cruz with his wife Nanlouise Wolfe and is the father of three children: Shanti (28), Kalila (25), and Tobin (23).