This Spring semester virtual program builds off the strong partnership forged between UVA and the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) through the UVA in Morocco: Participatory Development in Practice summer internship program and a successful pilot virtual global internship program launched in summer 2020. It will be centered upon virtual internships with HAF, which is based in Marrakech, and coursework related to sustainable development. The program represents a collaborative effort, by partners both inside and outside the University, to practice new modes of learning, contributing, and thriving while doing community-focused work.
The High Atlas Foundation is a U.S. and Moroccan not-for-profit organization that supports local communities in achieving their priority development projects, primarily in agriculture, education, and health. HAF facilitates the empowering of community development planning, especially with women and youth, and helps to build partnerships with all sectors, from the local to international levels, in order to implement the initiatives of the people.
This program will provide direct UVA credit through the Global Studies undergraduate program, as we believe strongly in the value of providing an academic scaffold around international internships in order to enhance students’ personal, professional, cultural, social, and intellectual development. Ultimately, we hope the UVA-HAF Virtual Global Internships program will serve to:
- Provide critical encouragement for students to continue to cultivate their “global”-orientation and to expand their knowledge of conditions abroad (social, cultural, economic, environmental, professional, etc.), despite the challenges of not being able to physically experience “other” cultural contexts.
- Assist students in gaining perspective on what skills, qualities, motivations, and competencies can be developed and reinforced through “global” virtual development analysis and work, as well as further understanding of trends related to remote work and approaches to achieving sustainable development.
- Enhance students’ abilities to develop relationships with international colleagues, gain exposure to diverse professional and life pathways, and observe and understand the challenges and satisfactions of people dedicated to advancing community-driven change.
- Gain exposure to real-world dilemmas and situations that present ethical questions for the development practitioner.
- Provide the High Atlas Foundation with enthusiastic student power to accomplish human development work and fulfill their mission as a Moroccan and U.S. non-profit organization operating under challenging professional, local, and international conditions.
In the course of the program, students will be exposed to a range of themes relating to development through the work of the HAF, including women's empowerment, conflict management, environmental conservation, cooperative-driven entrepreneurism, migration, and more. This opportunity is particularly relevant for, but not limited to, students interested in environments and sustainability, women’s studies, global culture and commerce, security and justice, public health, and development studies.
Program participants will be enrolled in a 2-credit Global Studies topics course at the same time as their internships with the High Atlas Foundation.
Broadly, students in the course shall:
- Analyze the qualities of sustainable development, the process of how it is achieved, and the role we each can play toward its manifestation in localities.
- Understand the causes of rural poverty conditions in Morocco and elsewhere and the kinds of actions that are essential toward alleviation and prosperity-generation.
- Build a strong frame of reference, through virtual experiential learning, of procedures for the reconciliation of conflicts (based on gender, ethnicity, class, environment/development, and territory) that hinder the realization of shared growth opportunities.
- Gain important awareness of Morocco’s guiding development premises - which is participatory and localized - whereby its successful (or not) implementation will bear very significant consequences not only for the people of the country but also for other nations’ models for growth.
- Forge positive relationships in the virtual class discussion space where we closely consider together both the potential obstacles and the progress that can be made in our global period.
Importantly, UVA does not give academic credit for a student’s actual work performed in the course of an internship. Thus, the course will be designed to scaffold and contextualize students’ virtual global internships with supplementary readings and assignments. Work for the course is not included in the 6-8 hours/week during which students will be engaging in work for their internships.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this program (see below for preferred qualifications for the internship). Previous study of Moroccan Arabic (‘Darija’) and/or French language could prove useful in accomplishing internship work.
- 14 weeks, during Spring 2021 semester
- 6-8 hours/week (weekly working and discussion hours to be set through discussions between HAF and individual participants)
- As a team member, help to develop an empowerment manual for women and girls.
- Research and draft for publication short (750-word) articles on the: a) value of tree planting; b) provision of legal aid for members of migrant communities; c) essential provision of clean drinking water; d) benefits of the pedagogical approach of experiential learning; e) nexus between human development and de-radicalization; f) critical need to advance value-added processing of agricultural product among communities of growers; g) participatory approaches to managing natural resources; h) the intersection between development and human rights; among other important topics (since 2018, twelve UVA students published their articles in multiple languages as a result of their internship with HAF).
- As a team member, contribute to project proposal and business plan development in agriculture, women’s empowerment, experiential and service learning at the university level, and natural resource management.
- Create social media content (design, text, imagery) to encourage tree planting and community-driven change.
- Attend Moroccan and international virtual workshops and write blogs about their content to help raise awareness surrounding issues related to sustainable human development.
- Organic agriculture – nurseries, cooperative building, organic certification, value-added processing, commercializing, and monitoring for carbon offsets
- Women’s self-discovery, economic empowerment, and participation
- Clean drinking water
- Youth development and employability
- School gardens and infrastructure
- Multicultural dialogue, education, and joint-development projects
- Capacity-building in strategic and business planning, project management, group decision-making, organizational development, and other areas
- Legal Aid for refugees, migrants, victims of human trafficking, women, youth, and families
- Care about development that reflects the will of the people who are intended to benefit.
- Flexible because in the development field, unanticipated challenges and opportunities arise and we need to adapt, respond, and seize the chances that we and communities have been given.
- Calm and willing to work as needed in order to submit on time high quality written and researched documents to secure partnerships that, if they come to fruition, can create a much brighter future for many Moroccan people.
Yossef Ben-Meir | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir has been dedicated to the field of international development since 1993 when he joined the Peace Corps in Morocco. In 2000, he co-founded the High Atlas Foundation and served as president of the Board of Directors until 2011, and currently leads its operations. Dr. Ben-Meir was a faculty member at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (2009-10). In 2003, he was a research fellow at the American Institute of Maghrib Studies, and earlier an Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), managing the agriculture and environment sector. He writes on the subject of promoting human development in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ben-Meir holds a PhD in sociology from the University of New Mexico (2009) where he also taught, an MA in international development from Clark University (1997), and a BA in economics from New York University (1991).
Ingrid Hakala | email@example.com
Ingrid Hakala is the director of UVA Global Internships and will serve as the UVA co-director of the program (on leave November 2020-March 2021). She holds a doctoral degree in the anthropology of education from UVA and has standing academic interests in the intersection of international education with international development.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.