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updated May 10, 2011


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Fall 2010 - Spring 2011

Spring 2011

CIE Welcomes New Students

Two students joined CIE in the Spring of 2011 - a doctoral candidate from Pakistan with an interest in planing for Higher Education, and a Masters candidate from the U.S. with experience in Japan and Georgia interested in working in development education.

Patrick Thoendel

I did not intend to start a career in international education, but more or less wandered into it.  I began my career by teaching English in Japan with the now defunct chain of English conversation schools called NOVA. I lived and worked in Japan for 2 years teaching English to everyone from 4-year-old children to 70-year-old pensioners. Despite the challenges of working in Japanese office culture I really enjoyed the work and the lifestyle. I began to see education and teaching English as a way to finance my travel habit.

As my time in Japan progressed and I was able to travel around East Asia I began to notice, how access to quality education was in many places the purview of the social elites. Once I noticed this I began to see it everywhere. This prompted me to join the Peace Corps in 2006. I was sent to the Republic of Georgia, where I lived and worked as a secondary school TEFL volunteer for Patrick Thoendel2 years. It was in Georgia that I began to see international education as a career and more than just a way to travel. This realization among other things prompted me to extended my service to the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, where I spent 2 years teaching at a boarding school in an isolated region near the Kazakh border.

In many ways the 2 years between the August war in Georgia and the events in Kyrgyzstan last June, were some of the hardest of my life. Witnessing first hand the results of brain drain, propaganda, imperialism, corruption and nepotism really made clear to me power of education to liberate but also to indoctrinate. It could just as easily be a force used to maintain the status quo, as it could be a means of positive sustainable change. This epiphany, drawn out over a 2-year period, was what finally made me realize that international education was the field for me

This 6-year roller coaster ride has left me a changed person. I have discovered a love of foreign languages and the low intensity chaos and confusion that typifies working in polyglot multicultural environments. I have learned to drink wine from a horn, eat sheep eyeballs and to appreciate karaoke. Most of all I have realized the importance of education and well educated people for any country’s development effort.

I came to CIE with the intention of gaining the skills that would allow me to work in a development context, creating the kind of education that doesn’t perpetuate exploitation and oppression. As well as to learn how to drive and create those educational development projects and policies that liberate as opposed to indoctrinate.

Salma Nazar Khan

Ten years ago, I decided to climb one of the tallest local mountains with my other female cousins in my native village of Amazai (one of the tribal areas of Pakistan). At first we all were enthusiastic and energetic and I was a little bit confused because that was my first attempt to climb a mountain. However, I thought it would be easy because all I needed to do was to keep looking at the top of the mountain and go up. But in the middle of the climb, I felt frustrated. Because it was becoming hard to climb up, I was thirsty, I couldn’t see the top, I was in trouble,,,,,,,

A similar thing happened in my studies when my parents, especially my mother, expected me to become a doctor and I could not accomplish that because of my family customs for female education. But I remembered that climb and thought “how can I stop?” I have started making efforts to climb again. Born in the tribal family of Amazai Pakhtoons, I am the first woman in my family who has completed a degree in any subject. I have suffered many road blocks in my career, which have helped me to become stronger. In short, I applied for the PrSalma Khane-STEP (Pre-Service Teacher Education Program) scholarship and finally got admission at CIE for doctoral degree in Educational Policy and Leadership as a major stride to reach my destiny.

In my whole academic and professional career every small accomplishment was woven like a strong climbing rope for me. I have worked as a volunteer in the field of education, health, rights of women and children, and awareness of community for a number of years with different national and international organizations. I have experience of teaching both at the school and the university levels. However, my desire to become a trainer of educational leaders became a determination while getting experience of management job in the teacher training wing of the Higher Education Commission Pakistan. I envisioned leadership that is impassioned and inspired. I envisioned leadership that is not only rooted in integrity and respect for others, but that also fosters the celebration of cultural diversity and consistent tolerance of the views of others. I, therefore, not only hope to gain technical skills to provide effective leadership within the education sector in Pakistan but also to encounter graduate studies that are firmly grounded in the tenets of human equality and socio-cultural diversity, such as those currently offered at CIE.

I really consider myself a lucky person because it is not just an opportunity to study in the prestigious learning environment of CIE. Rather I have my CIE family that will give me support, love, courage and determination to climb the mountain without thinking about the hurdles on the way.
Shortly, now that I feel a part of CIE, I finally reached the top of that mountain and I am ready to attack the next climb with skills wrapped in confidence to bring dynamic and radical change to the training of educational leaders and managers in Pakistan.

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Fall 2010

CIE Welcomes New Students

This September, CIE welcomed twelve new students who come from Bhutan, Germany, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tajikistan, and the U.S. They bring a wide diversity of experience as educators who have worked in Armenia, Brazil, Palestine, Senegal, Mozambique, The Gambia, and Guatemala as well as in their home countries. There are eight Master's candidates and four Doctoral candidates. Their experience adds to that of those already here to create an even more diverse set of students and experiences in the learning community at CIE.

Rolf Straubhaar

Rolf StraubhaarMy interest in community education began in northeastern Brazil during my undergraduate years, in a beautiful city named Salvador, Brazil's answer to New Orleans.  Working with a female-led community organization in an urban slum, I was very interested in the community building that occurred in this small bit of cityscape due to the herculean efforts of several women to bring resources, community classes and youth activities into their neighborhood.  This organization had been working for 15 years before I arrived, and I found myself wondering how this community had become so self-driven and empowered, the brass ring so many top-down development projects fail to grasp.

After several years in Brazil and after finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a curriculum writer for a community education program run by the nonprofit Care For Life in Beira, Mozambique.  This program was notable in how hard it tried to solicit community involvement and stewardship in its programs, but there were many moments in which I wondered how the communities we worked in might come further to emulate what I had seen in Salvador.

I then taught for several years in disadvantaged communities in the US through Teach for America, teaching fourth grade in Washington Heights in New York City and third grade on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.  On one hand, I became fascinated with the literacy acquisition process I was seeing in my students and literacy instruction in general.  Also, I became much more invested in the formal education process and the need for quality therein, especially in terms of teacher quality in low-income schools.

Professionally and academically, I am excited to use this time at CIE to look further into these various professional and academic interests that I have developed through my experiences, such as literacy, the balance and potential synergy between formal and nonformal education, and theories of community ownership and community empowerment.

Tatiana Krayushkina

I am still wondering how I ended up in something so completely strange for me, so far from what I have dreamed Tatiana Krayushkinaof and even what I was fearing the most? I have read a few bios and figured out that I am not alone in this. My way of finding a destiny was long and thorny. I graduated from a Slavic-Tajik University and worked as a teacher in a primary school for about two years. After that I have made a vow that I will never-ever become a teacher. It was so hard. But one nice lady from a little American pre-school re-discovered some talents in me when I was working as a teacher there for about a year while trying to establish my own travel agency. I just needed extra money to support my business. After that I was offered a job at QSI International School where I worked till present as a pre-school teacher.

Now I find it so exciting to see children learning, growing and developing. It is even more appealing to acknowledge the fact that I was a part of that significant change. I was well settled and satisfied with what I was doing. I had a good position, good community of parents, good salary after all. But one day I realized that not only children of the embassy's workers should have a good education. This, in turn, has prompted me to seek in the field of education for the opportunity to do something that can change the teacher's status and, thus, improve the educational structure in the entire country. I believe that in spite of the race, abilities, religion and family income, all kids deserve a good education.

I do not want to sound unrealistic and ambitious but we do need a new type of school there, new approaches, and new methods. The best place to learn something new is a new place. One of the parents helped me to find out about the Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program. I applied and by some luck I am here today. If I am here, it means that there is a goal and purpose behind it. So I have two years to discover it and learn as much as I can from the professors and fellow students from other countries so I can bring it back home and implement there. Who knows, maybe we will have a new type of school in the future.

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Judith Johannes

Judith JohannesDuring the last four years I have been working at the Representation of the European Union in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) where I was responsible for a portfolio, which included Education, Research and Youth.  Education is highly valued in the Palestinian society, which does not dispose of any other resources than the knowledge and knowhow of their people. Education soon became the focus area of my work and we funded development programmes and projects to improve the management capacities of the higher education institutions and the quality of their programmes, to assist the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in the implementation of the Teacher Education Reform, as well as to enhance regional university cooperation and to offer scholarships to Palestinian students, who desire to study at European universities.

After 10 years of professional experience in public administration I consider it as a great privilege to be given the opportunity to re-immerge myself into the academic world. I came to CIE to deepen my knowledge in educational policy, planning and management and see CIE as a platform for inspiration and innovative ideas for my future work. 

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Assela M. Luena

I was born in a village called Lundu which is located in extreme south of Tanzania. It was really a remote area. Being the third daughter of eight children of a Primary school teacher who devoted his life to bring new hope to the children of poor Tanzanians. That teacher sowed a seed which transformed the life of one of his seven daughters and he would gladly see Assela Luenait growing and sprout its fruits to the minds and hearts of the Tanzania’s young learners.

I started my marathon as a secondary school teacher in 1991. I worked very stressful in school which had acute shortage of teachers, teaching and learning facilities and overcrowded classrooms. The situation was probably worsened by uncoordinated implementation of universal primary education policy of 1975 which mainly focused on expansion of enrollment without putting much emphasis on other issues like training, recruitment and retention of teachers, construction of classrooms, provision of textbooks and other school infrastructures which are corner stones for quality education delivery.

What were reasons for all this mess? Was it weak polices, uncoordinated plans, poor management, small budgets or unstructured monitoring and evaluation schemes? In 2001 I was transferred to The Ministry of Education headquarters to work in the statistics section which later was changed to Education Management Information System (EMIS). Our main role was to produce education data and information which can be used as evidence in policy formulation, development of strategic plans, budgets preparation and monitoring and evaluation of education sector performance.

We need well focused polices, strategic plans, implementation frameworks, management skills and monitoring and evaluation schemes. Who is ready to tackle those challenges, who are ready to provide support? who is ready to slake the thirst for knowledge of our delighted learners?
Is it not CIE through their intellectual and academic capabilities while sharing their experiences with people from all over the world!

I am happy to be a member of a wonderful CIE community where I can fetch knowledge and skills from gifted and talented professors and other intellectuals, sharing different experiences and go back home after two years well equipped with confidence and necessary tools ready work in the technological challenging environment.

Thomas Coon

I recently finished Peace Corps service in the Republic of Armenia and returned to the US where I immediately jumped right into the master’s program at the CIE.  During my service in Armenia I finally came to terms with the realization that I would pursue a career in education, something that I had rather actively avoided for many years. 

Tom CoonMy interests have always been many and varied including, among other things, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, puns, foreign languages, all things Rhode Island and, particularly, entomology and for many years I sought my direction would in one or more of these. 

However, during my service I found, once again, how much I enjoy teaching and working with children something I first discovered working at the Roger Williams’ Park Zoo and later had reinforced at the Museum of Science Boston.  I am now coming to terms with this realization and am determined to continue that direction in the context of international education, a path on which I hope I will continue to have the opportunity to learn and use foreign languages, a mild addiction of mine.

Admittedly, my prior academic and experiential background is strongly in the biological sciences, particularly entomology, and, with that in mind, among my interests in International Education is the development of zoos as educational institutions, a concept quite well developed in the United States and Canada, but significantly less so abroad.  On the other hand, my experiences in Armenia also piqued my curiosity in the Soviet Education system and its continuing influences on education in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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Valerie Kurka

Valerie KurkaI was born and raised in the wonderful state of Wisconsin and look forward to a new chapter here in beautiful New England.

My international interest actually started in the United States during a summer job at Glacier National Park in Montana. There, nearly half of the 100 staff members were from all over the world. It was my first experience immersed in so many different cultures, languages, and new ideas. My desire for more international encounters soon led me to a backpacking trip across Europe, a wonderful undergraduate study abroad experience in South Africa, a service-learning trip to Israel/Palestine, and various other international learning opportunities.

After graduating in 2006 with a degree in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I became a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa (2006-2008). There I utilized my science background as a chemistry teacher in a rural secondary school. In addition, I also did work in HIV/AIDS education. This experience provoked my curiosity about education and learning and inspired me to continue in the education field. 

After returning to the United States, I had various experiences working with youth. Most notably, I was a short-term AmeriCorps volunteer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I worked at an urban high school in a corrective mathematics program. My international and cross-cultural experiences have enriched my life in more ways than I could have imagined.  For instance, they helped me see new perspectives outside of my life in America and gain awareness in world issues.  I am also better able to appreciate and respect differences in all types of people. Additionally, they helped me realize how personal experience is invaluable education.

I am very excited to be a part of the diverse CIE community in such a unique program which recognizes this. I believe cross-cultural exchange can be positive and can enhance lives in a variety of ways. I wish to continue to facilitate and promote cross-cultural exchanges so others may benefit as well. CIE is the perfect environment for learning and cultivating these tools.

Yetunde Ajao

I am proudly a Nigerian and happy to be at CIE. I believe that coming to CIE will facilitate the experiences that help examine policy formation and implementation in regard to education in developing countries. I graduated from University of Ibadan in 1989 with honors in Adult Education and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from University of Ilorin in 1995 both in Nigeria respectively. I have worked for over 20years armed with varied teaching experiences both in the formal and non-formal settings. I worked with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nigeria for twelve years rising to the Management level. My work experience and position as an adult education practitionYetunde Ajaoer gave me hands-on experience in community education programs as part of the organization’s community development service (CDS) program and by this I was exposed to implementing programs related to women particularly in adult literacy. Through this work, I realized how women are endowed with different skills that can complement each other at different stages of their development.

To further advance my skills in ways to better effect changes in the lives of women I opted for a Master of Arts degree in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Community Development and Social Action from the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute Brattleboro Vermont USA.

Among many reasons I chose CIE so that I can build my leadership skills in research practices and policy formulation and implementation. I am particularly interested in bridging the gap between the educated and non-educated women through the use non-formal education. This choice is rooted in my strong belief that, the successes and failures of educational policies with respect to women education particularly in developing countries can be deepened and broadened through policy studies.

As a policy researcher and expert with a focus in International Education, I want to be well versed in the meaning, purposes, scope and limits of education through generation of research that emphasizes international perspective and emerging areas of investigation. In a globalized world of today, there is need for educational policies that will meet the needs of the world, the people and at the same time encouraging the required change for sustainable development especially for women, who for decades were left behind the development agenda. 

My professional goal is to engage with women both young and old as they expand their horizon and become more involved in family and community decision making.  I plan to continue to work with the Nigerian Government and policy makers to review our educational system especially in non-formal and vocational system of education in Nigeria. I am a happily married woman blessed with five lovely children.

Karla Sarr

I’m proud to say that I am beginning my doctoral degree studies at CIE after completing my Masters degree in the same program in Spring 2010. I came to UMASS with an interest in education, anthropology, and cross-cultural interactions that had been ignited over 10 years ago when I was a study abroad student in Senegal. I decided to pursue graduate studies after having worked at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC; with Peace Corps as a teacher in Gabon; and as the coordinator of study abroad programs at Africa Consultants International-Baobab Center, an NGO in Dakar, Senegal. These experiences exposed me to numerous forms of education, particularly within the African context. It also Karla Sarrbecame clear that I wanted to strengthen my capacities in project work and research, and would benefit from a better understanding of the field of international education. What better place to pursue these objectives than at CIE!

During my time at CIE, I have contributed to project and applied research work. I participated in the Learning Initiatives in Rural Education (LIRE) project that focused on multi-grade education in Senegal and The Gambia. As part of the CIE team, I helped to develop training modules and accompanying documentation, as well as provided translation. As part of the work for my Masters project, I collaborated with the Grandmother Project in southeastern Senegal to develop a game that could be used in classrooms and within communities to explore intergenerational relationships and the tenuous co-existence between “the traditional” and “the modern.” I have also had opportunities to publish research on issues in U.S. education. I co-authored a piece on refugee education and recommendations for educators with Dr. Jacqueline Mosselson. Most recently, I provided Commonwealth Corporation with a literature review of employment transitions for youth involved in the juvenile justice system in the United States.

As I progress in the doctoral program, I plan to focus my studies on indigenous forms of education and ways of knowing, and how these interact with more formal schooling opportunities. I am particularly interested in how these issues affect families and communities, as well as how they fit into the larger geo-political climate.

Outside of my role as a student, I enjoy advising UMASS students who wish to study abroad in the International Programs Office. I also like to run, cook (and eat!), dance, read, and spend time with my husband and family.

Mshauri A. Khamis

I come from Zanzibar, Tanzania and believe that being educated is an asset for the family, community and a nation as a Mshauri Khamiswhole. On top of that I decided to develop my career path in the education sector by working directly in the community in order to encourage my people to involve themselves in the provision of education for their children as well as helping learners to work hard in their learning.  

My experience of being a teacher for ten years (1992 to 2002), allowed me to have great interaction with communities at the grassroots level. This increased my capacity to understand socio-cultural and socio-economic factors affecting the development of the education system and students’ performance, particularly in science subjects and mainly for girls. As a result of these experiences I began my BA program in Public Administration in 2002.

Upon completion of my degree I was assigned to be an HIV and AIDS Focal Person of the Ministry. I had a great time not only to apply my knowledge, skills and experience as a coordinator between community (students, parents, local community leaders, NGOs, Ministry’s staff) and Management of the Ministry (decision maker) but also to work for  attaining educational goals.

From September 2007 to May 08, I attending a fruitful course in International Diploma on Educational Planning and Management for developing countries at International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), it increased my performance capacity by understanding major issues to be considered in the planning process and better management in education sectors. I then returned to my country and began contributing to improving access to education in parity and quality for all regardless of gender, cultural perspective or level of income. One thing that I was pleased about was helping to develop a Manual for School Management Committees, which explained their roles and responsibilities in school management, and helped them learn how to use it to guide them in their daily performance.

I am excited by the opportunity of being a CIE family member and to join with other experienced educators. I am pleased to have the chance to gain advanced skills through sharing constructive ideas in the CIE community.

Colleen King

My first international and teaching experience came about during a study abroad program in Ecuador where I taught ESL to Colleen Kingmy own high school class of 50 students because the teacher they had hired never showed up that year. Having survived that experience, the language later led me to a position here in Western Mass teaching elementary school Spanish and working as a library media specialist. I strove to integrate global education into the k-6 language program, where many students had never ventured beyond the boundaries of their own county and needed tools to make their learning less abstract.  To refresh my Spanish and satisfy my desire to somehow participate in international development, I spent my summers traveling and volunteering in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador. I offered short-term relief for mothers at a pre-school for vulnerable rural children, taught a community English class, gardened with school children and continued to return to my job each September. In an effort to include my students in global/community-based learning, I brought a group of sixth graders to Costa Rica for a service-learning trip in 2004.

In 2005, I left teaching to join the U.S. Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. I worked on a nationwide teacher training initiative for alternative certification of rural untrained teachers.  I wrote curriculum materials and taught at The Gambia College, the primary teacher-training institute in the country. I used my library background to develop library centers in 3 local schools, and continually worked with various international organizations on in-service programs for teachers. After 3 years I came back to the U.S., only to return to The Gambia to teach at the Banjul American Embassy School where my students came from all over the world and often had little exposure to the local culture and community. Suddenly, the “hidden” curriculum seemed to have shifted from bringing the world into the classroom, towards guiding students toward an acceptance of their own surroundings.

I come to CIE with a background in formal education, but having had my philosophy and teaching practice shaped in non-traditional ways.  I am interested in the ways that a teacher’s own training can so greatly influence the outcome of education and ultimately of society. I see CIE as a resource and community in which learning can be combined with participation in education development, which seems an ideal fit.

Jacob Carter

Cross-cultural experiences have been a common thread in my life, both domestically and internationally. I grew up in rural North Carolina and at the age of 12, moved to a suburb of NYC. I remember other students looking curiously as I chewed on tall blades of grass and wore sandals and shorts to school despite the cold weather. They were shocked with my seemingly intimate relationship with straw, that I didn't own a pair of jeans and with my strange accent. This move and subsequent moves in high school, while at times frustrating, provided me with a unique "American" educational experience and exposed me to the differences within our systems of schooling. When I began traveling abroad, I became aware of entirely different issues, challenges and systems in the countries where I visited. These experiences included: studying abroad and living with families in Costa Rica and Jacob CarterSpain, interpreting for medical teams in rural villages in the Dominican Republic, coordinating a library in Guatemala City, partnering with indigenous Mayan weaving cooperatives, hurricane relief work, supporting children of asylum seekers and teaching in an elementary school in Norway.

After graduating from high school in 1999, I was determined to take "a year off" before college. Our family had moved two times during my high school career which had resulted in my attendance in 3 different high schools during my senior year. The last thing that I wanted to do was to go straight to a new school. Fortunately, my parents were supportive of my desire to rigorously pursue my own version of experiential education with the caveat that I would apply to a university and defer for a year. (I would spend that year driving nearly 10,000 miles around the US, engaged in relief work in Honduras, learning how to play the guitar, working for a summer in Alaska and also periodically as a server at a local inn.) Not realizing at the time the implications of such a decision, I decided to apply to only one school: UMass Amherst.

As an undergraduate at UMass, I decided to spend the first half of my junior year in Costa Rica to learn Spanish and, while there, switched my major to Spanish and signed up for a second semester in Spain. Energized by my experiences overseas, I designed a one month independent study to serve as an interpreter for a medical team in the Dominican Republic. This service-learning experience reintroduced me to life in the developing world and brought me back to a familiar region. This trip played a crucial role in my decision to pursue a job in Latin America for a humanitarian aid organization directly after college. In my search, I discovered a program in Guatemala called Safe Passage that was in need of a coordinator to lead their library and literacy initiative for nearly 400 students in Guatemala City. Safe Passage works with at-risk children whose families survive by collecting and selling recyclables from the city dump. As a Spanish and Comparative Literature double major, I couldn’t have created a better opportunity and I would stay there for the next two years.

Ever since I left Guatemala in 2006 I have wanted to return to school. For the last three years I have worked at Youth for Understanding facilitating exchange experiences for high school students which has been rewarding in many different ways. However, my most fulfilling experiences have come from working on the ground at Safe Passage and now as a Board member. My work in Guatemala continues to be what sparks my imagination and enthusiasm and has been my primary motivation for returning to school.

After a deliberate and purposeful process, I am returning to UMass with great enthusiasm. My learning has taken many forms over the years and I am eager to further my academic studies with the faculty and students at CIE. I strongly believe that education is one of, if not the, most important tools of development and have seen the results of successful programs to reinforce this belief. I hope to bring a unique perspective to problem solving with positive and thoughtful contributions to our discussions in the years to come.