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Keeping up with Altmans: Caroline Richter in the Global Scholars Fellowship Program

July 20, 2020 4:00 PM

Caroline Richter's Global Scholars Fellowship Program Cohort
Caroline Richter's Global Scholars Fellowship Program Cohort


Caroline Richter of the 2022 Altman cohort participated in the Global Scholars Fellowship Program with the Global Livingston Institute, an international development organization based in Colorado and Uganda. This remote fellowship is perfect for Caroline, as her interests lie with development in East Africa.

She answered some questions about the remote fellowship:

Tell us a little more about the fellowship:
"This summer I was part of a 5-week fellowship examining community development in East Africa. There were 2 main components: research and lectures. I researched the impacts of cultural exchange and predominantly focused on the role power dynamics played in those interactions and how that affects development projects. As part of my research, I conducted primary source interviews, did a literature review of secondary sources, and created a final paper and presentation that I presented to GLI board members and other stakeholders. The lectures were led by members of the Global Livingston Institute as well as their partners in Uganda, Rwanda, and the USA. They covered a range of topics from public health to early childhood education with the main focus on community development projects in Uganda."

What is the organization you are working with and what do they do?
"The Global Livingston Institute is an International Development organization based out of Denver, CO, and Kabale, Uganda. Their mission statement is 'Listen. Think. Act.' which is changing the way development work is done. This organization is focused on building sustainable relationships with the communities they help and taking the time to learn and listen before initiating any projects. In the projects that they run, they have predominantly local leadership. My favorite project of theirs is the iKnow concert series which is a music festival that connects community members to public health resources to prevent HIV and promote sexual health (also run by Tulane Professor Dr. Andrew Ward!). This is a fantastic organization that is focused on making development work better for the communities it is supposed to serve. They have taken the spotlight off of the 'Western do-gooders' and instead focused on local communities and working with them to serve needs."

Why did you apply for this fellowship?
"I applied to this fellowship because of my interest in East Africa. It tied in really nicely to what I plan to study in Rwanda and I was really excited to hear from local NGOs about the work that is being done in Rwanda and Uganda. This fall I will study post-conflict development in Rwanda and Uganda and I was excited to learn about this topic through an International Development lens the summer before I go. I wanted to expand my network in order to connect with people before my study abroad and also get an introduction to topics that are related to post-conflict development. This fellowship was so interesting as a standalone thing but I think it is particularly impactful to me because it provided a targeted foundation to what I want to study and experience in Rwanda this fall."

What have you learned in participating in this fellowship?
"My biggest takeaway from this fellowship was the importance of relationship-building in community development. The reason GLI is so successful is they take the time to understand the area they are in and form deep relationships with donors and community members. Oftentimes, development work takes on a white-savior approach to fixing problems. However, this fellowship really showed how complex problems do not have simple solutions and it is important to do research and understand the community before attempting to work towards a solution. In addition, this fellowship provided a valuable space to reflect on my role as a White Westerner when I go into these spaces and how implications from colonialism still remain and affect these countries. Through my research on power dynamics, I think I am more prepared to go to Rwanda with a sensitivity of my presence and also with historical context that will help me engage more while I am there. This fellowship connected to many things I have learned in the Altman program about cultural intelligence and being a Global Citizen. It takes a lot of work to achieve those two things and this fellowship allowed me to hear from local experts and other students that are interested in this topic which was key in opening dialogues that led me to feel much more confident going to Rwanda. I don't think it is realistic to ever actually become a Global Citizen but it is a noble cause to work towards and forming deep connections and taking time to deeply learn about other communities is an impactful step towards that goal."

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience?
"Even though these 5 weeks were virtual, I was still able to gain an incredible network of people in the field of International Development and feel a connection to Uganda, Rwanda, and Colorado. This fellowship was a fantastic opportunity to facilitate cultural exchange during the COVID-19 pandemic and introduced me to so many interesting fields of study. I have only become more excited about my semester abroad in Rwanda this Fall and I cannot wait to apply all the knowledge I have gained this summer to that program. The Global Livingston Institute has given me an important framework to think about International Development through and I will be able to apply their mantra of Listen. Think. Act. to anything I do in the future."

Caroline was a recipient of the Altman Program Scholarly Engagement Grant, an award that promotes scholarly activity among Altmans. You can view the results of Caroline's research on the Global Livingston Institute website

We are so glad Caroline had this incredible experience this summer. We can’t wait to see how she applies what she learned during her semester abroad in Rwanda this fall!


Global Livingston Institute's Entusi Resort in Kabale, Uganda. Photo from the Entusi Resort & Retreat Center website.
Global Livingston Institute's Entusi Resort in Kabale, Uganda. Photo from the Entusi Resort & Retreat Center website.