Recognizing the many areas of expertise of each institution, Carter Center and Emory faculty and staff continually share thoughts and ideas about how to make the most of their resources. This past academic year, innovative courses were offered on such topics as how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) affect public policy, how healthcare issues impact social agendas and how language plays a role in aggravating or easing conflict.
Other new initiatives helped enhance learning experiences. In one example, law school students have begun working with The Carter Center's Human Rights Program to help research alleged human rights violations. "Being able to apply what they learn in class to actual situations throughout the world is an incredible advantage for these students," said law school Dean Howard Hunter. "Such an experience would not be possible without our link to The Carter Center."
Each year, over half of the more than 100 participants in Carter Center internship and graduate assistanceship programs are Emory students.
Misrak Makonnen, a graduate student in the School of Public Health, traveled to Ethiopia earlier this year with members of the Center's Global 2000 Program to complete fieldwork toward her master's thesis on the global eradication of Guinea worm, a project lead by the Center."On my trip I interviewed more than 500 villagers and learned so much by applying what I learned in the classroom to situations in the field. The experience was truly invaluable," said Makonnen.
Ian Jefferson accompanied a member of the Center's Conflict Resolution Program to Estonia last year to observe a workshop on Russian integration. "I gained so much from it that I wrote my honors thesis on citizenship issues in Estonia," Jefferson said. "I plan a career in international relations and my overall internship at The Carter Center-aside from the trip-was a major influence in that decision."
Links between faculty and staff have also been enhanced. Through the liaison program, 15 faculty have begun working with Carter Center programs, thereby merging Emory's academic and scholarly mission with the Center's action-oriented and interventionist agenda.
In many ways such collaborations are just a beginning. A minor in violence studies will be added to the University's curriculum this fall. It's purpose is to bring a new dimension to students' conception of violence and ways to prevent it.
Additionally, Joyce Neu, associate director of the Conflict Resolution Program, is exploring the possibility of adding an undergraduate minor in conflict prevention and resolution. "Working with Emory faculty has helped lead to new ways of sharing principles of conflict resolution with students," said Neu. "If we can provide a new generation with more peaceful ways of addressing conflict, then when these students attain leadership positions, they will be able to handle conflict more creatively and constructively."
Beverly Schaffer, a professor of economics who is working with Neu on this proposal, agreed. "We need to teach lessons of peace and this minor would provide a good start," she said.
If it is true that "great minds think alike," then future collaborations between Emory and The Carter Center will undoubtedly bring both institutions closer to separate, yet shared optimum goals-achieving academic excellence and helping create a world at peace.
Ann Carney is communications associate at The Carter Center.
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