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Leaders in Graduate Education

Marie Berry, Director, Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative
University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

 

Graduate students at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies have opportunities to learn from women leaders who are mobilizing their communities to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. Among them: a Nigerian lawyer and activist working to defend women’s rights, an organizer of the U.S. Women’s March, and a team of media and film producers working to end conflict in the Middle East.

“The Josef Korbel School and the Sié Center have been at the forefront of efforts to democratize education by breaking down some of the barriers that prevent knowledge developed in the academy from actually reaching the people who need it.” –Marie Berry, Assistant Professor of International Comparative Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

Those women are among the practitioners in residence and guest speakers hosted by the Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative (IGLI) at the Josef Korbel School’s Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. The initiative seeks to fill a gap in the study of gender, peace, and security by concentrating on women working at the grassroots level, in addition to policy leaders.

“Students are included in every activity when these leaders come to campus,” says IGLI Director Marie Berry, assistant professor of international comparative politics at the Josef Korbel School.

IGLI has three areas of focus: innovative research on the role of women and other underrepresented groups in movements for peace and security; coursework and public programs featuring speakers and practitioners-in-residence; and a summer institute for women activists who lead movements to advance peace, human rights, and security around the world. Each year, the institute brings 15 women activists from around the world to the University of Denver for training and discussions on how to use civil resistance to pursue their work peacefully and maximize its effectiveness.

Thanks to IGLI programs, Josef Korbel School students benefit from coursework enhanced by a solid understanding of gender in security and leadership, as well as opportunities to participate in related research projects. About one-third of the school’s 260-plus graduate students are employed as research assistants in these and other research programs.

IGLI’s Micro-Mobilization (MicroMob) Research Project, for example, analyzes photos of protests to identify social dynamics related to gender. Berry also co-directs the Women’s Rights After War (WRAW) Project, which examines international efforts to strengthen the roles of women in post-war societies.

IGLI has hosted visits to the Josef Korbel School campus by prominent activists such as Hauwa Ibrahim, an author and human rights lawyer from Nigeria, and Carmen Perez, one of the national co-chairs of the U.S. Women’s March. Suhad Babaa, the executive director of Just Vision, spoke about the power of strategic storytelling for building peace in Israel-Palestine. In fall 2019, IGLI will host former Syrian radio show host Honey Al Sayed as a practitioner-in-residence. Al Sayed’s radio show drew millions of daily listeners before she was forced to flee her country as war closed in.

In addition to nurturing female grassroots activists, the Josef Korbel School and the Sié Center have received grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Rigor and Relevance Initiative to ensure that academic research findings enter into policy discussions and work on the ground.

“The Josef Korbel School and the Sié Center have been at the forefront of efforts to democratize education by breaking down some of the barriers that prevent knowledge developed in the academy from actually reaching the people who need it,” says Berry.

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