The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law has announced the winners of the 2011 William H. Crook Fellowships. Now in its fourth year, the competitive program awards fellowships to talented graduate students working with innovative nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged throughout the world.

“The Crook Fellowship program is at the heart of the Strauss Center’s mission to develop the next generation of global policy leaders,” said Dr. Francis J. Gavin, the Strauss Center’s Director. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of the Crook family, we are able to support the work of graduate students devoted to improving the economic, social and educational conditions of impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.”

The Strauss Center’s William H. Crook Chair in International Affairs presents the fellowships. The Chair is dedicated to promoting global economic development and fighting poverty. It was made possible by a gift from Mrs. Eleanor Crook in honor of her late husband. William H. Crook, a prominent public figure in Texas, served as United States Ambassador to Australia and was a pioneer in global development. At the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mr. Crook established the Office of Economic Opportunity in Austin in 1965 and later became the national director of Volunteers in Service to America, now known as AmeriCorps. He was active in poverty relief efforts throughout his life, establishing two orphanages in Ethiopia in the 1980s.

“The 2011 Crook Fellows are a remarkable group of young scholars who will spend this summer working throughout the developing world to enhance the opportunities of the poor,” said Dr. Kate Weaver, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and member of the award committee. “I can think of no better representatives to carry on Mr. Crook’s devotion to fighting global poverty.”

The Crooks Fellowship for 2011 have been awarded to the following eight projects:

Anna Trela will travel to central Peru and working with local NGO Rainforest Partnership to help local communities of San Antonia and Calabaza in the Pampa Hermosa distinct of Peru develop eco-tourism and alternative livelihoods to coffee export production that will improve prospects for social and sustainable development.

Jared Berenter will travel to Pistishi, Ecuador to work with AVANTI, an NGO devoted to helping communities living in extreme poverty. The focus of AVANTI’s work is to promote educational and healthcare development, provision of adequate sanitation, agro-reforestation, agricultural efficiency, and eco-tourism to communities living in extreme poverty. Jared will specifically be working on providing market analyses to help these communities identify sustainable livelihoods.

Lauren Ortel will be in central Peru, working with Austin-based NGO Rainforest Partnership to help local communities of San Antonia and Calabaza in the Pampa Hermosa distinct of Peru. Lauren will help community leaders develop proposals for eco-tourism and alternative livelihoods to coffee export production that will improve prospects for social and sustainable development.

Jaclyn Leaver will be working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She will be a Gender and Social Mobilization Volunteer, working with the Gender and Social Mobilization team on analysis and policy-implementation of goals related to women’s participation in the rural agricultural sector in Cambodia.

Rachel Wald will be working with the Discoverhope Foundation in Cajamarca, Peru. She will provide courses to local women on Wellness and Leadership, which will address issues such as self-esteem, nutrition, fitness and mental health, as well as general opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment.

Loren Reimer will travel to Kajiado, Kenya, where she will work with KIDS, an international NGO focused on improving access to education in rural Kenyan communities. Loren will focus specifically on providing girls with access to secondary education.

Milad Pournik will be interning with the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) in Brasilia, Brazil. IPC-IG is a global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on development innovations. He will be providing macroeconomic analysis and advising local policymakers on prospects for inclusive, equitable growth, particularly among youth and marginalized populations.

Daniel Setiawan will travel to Bali, Indonesia to work as a Client Relationship Manager for Zidisha Inc., a non-profit organization that facilitates lending for low-income entrepreneurs in developing countries. His responsibilities will include working with current borrowers to ensure timely repayment of loans and helping to identify barriers to repayment. Daniel will also provide orientation training to new borrowers by explaining Zidisha’s “peer to peer” lending program and will create web-based content (videos, photos, blogs and social media profiles) and teach Zidisha entrepreneurs how to utilize these tools to promote their businesses.

The 2011 award selection committee included Josh Busby, Crook Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center and Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs; Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs; Celeste Gventer Ward, Associate Director of the Strauss Center, and Dr. Kate Weaver, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs.


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