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for such sensitive work? Can private contractors adequately be held to account when they violate the rights of detainees?” she asked.
In addition, private companies are providing essential security services, complicating efforts to ensure accountability.
“We found that there are significant loopholes in American law,” she said. Many of these contracted workers cannot be held accountable for crimes committed while under contract with the U.S. government, putting them in a “legal no-man’s land”. She points out that the negative actions of these contractors could have “tremendous foreign policy implications.”
ere is a strong link between DeWinter-Schmitt’s
advocacy work and research. She recently had a chapter published in the book Private Security, Public Order: the Outsourcing of Public Services and Its Limits in which she took her dissertation research on the self-regulation efforts in the apparel industry and applied it to the private military and security industry.
De Winter-Schmitt has brought her interests in human rights and corporate social responsibility to the classroom as well. Last fall, she taught Human Rights and the Media. “I think students respond well to receiving information about human rights violations and also the response of human rights advocates via visual mediums like film,” she said, noting that the course is integrated with AU’s annual Human Rights Film Fest.
e course also looked at the use of social media tools
like Facebook and Twitter and other technology like GPS that can be used as a tool for human rights monitoring. She also co-taught a class on Corporate Social Responsibility
DeWinter-Schmitt sees an increasing interest amongst IPCR students in bridging the skills they learn in the program with the business world as well as a growing recognition of the role that private companies can play in conflict.
“In the field of peace and conflict resolution, the involvement of businesses, not only in perpetuating conflict, but also in alleviating conflict remains relatively unexplored,” DeWinter-Schmitt said. It is an area she hopes she can continue to explore and further incorporate into the IPCR program.
Managing editor Rebecca Davis
aSSiStant editor Courtney Hess
deSign editor Marlena Serviss
contributing WriterS Amy Buffenbarger France Francois Courtney Hess
When Laura Kurland, MA/IPCR ’08, completed her MA in IPCR, she never expected to find a job so close to home.
“I definitely thought that I would have to stay in D.C. to put my degree to good use, I never thought I would find a career in Minnesota,” said Kurland.
Kurland, a native of Rochester, Minnesota, now serves as the Regional Co- ordinator for Latin America for the Global Citizens Net- work (GCN), a Minneapolis-based agency that organizes international volun- teer opportunities around the world. (from left to right) Laura Kurland in Xiloxochico, Mexico on a trip with Global Citizens Netowork, with Carlos, age three. Carlos is showing his collection of toys that he carried around everywhere while the two had lunch at his aunt’s house (photo courtesy of Laura Kurland).
A former participant in the Fulbright Student Program, Kurland had spent time before and after studying in the IPCR program working in Peru, looking at the ways political decentralization impact indigenous communities.
She has taken this experience and applied it to her current position, where she often must deal with conflicts that arise within GCN’s host communities. GCN sends volunteers to indigenous communities in North America, Latin America, East Africa, and Asia, to work on community development projects driven by the community.
“One of the ways I have used IPCR skills has been training leaders of our groups to understand their roles in the communities, to mediate the goals and expectations of group members and the communities they are working in,” Kurland said.
Kurland advises current IPCR students to take advantage of opportunities to travel. “e best thing I did was go abroad,” she said. “It opens a lot of doors.” She also recommends that students be open to the idea of international volun- teer work.
For more information on Global Citizens Network, visit: http://www.globalcitizens.org
Visit the new IPCR web- site for frequently updated: Jobs
IPCR related events in the DC area
Student organization events and activties
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