EPIIC Archives

Voices from the Field


Voices from the Field 2008

Since 2002, the Voices from the Field program brought together Tufts alumni working in the fields of nation building, complex humanitarian emergencies, human rights, U.N. peacekeeping, refugee assistance, poverty alleviation, preventative diplomacy, conflict resolution, and development assistance back to Tufts University for a a week of discussion and debate about “best practices”.  This year’s discussions have focused on poverty alleviation efforts.

2008 Voices

Andrea Araujo (EPIIC’03)
Currently a student at the Institute for International Studies in Geneva, Andrea spent the last four years working in the microfinance and development fields.  Most recently she worked with the Norms Specialist of the International Labour Organization office in Brasilia.  Prior to that, she worked in the Chile Country Office of the United Nations Development Program, where she assisted with the Global Microentrepreneurial Award and participated in the Microcredit Regional Summit; coordinated the Strategic Planning Workshop for Technonet Latin America and the Carribbean, a regional cooperation network for SMEs, a replicate of the successful Technonet Asia network; and was part of the inter-agency working group for a UN Consolidated Plan in response to Emergencies.  She also worked for the Fundacion para la Superacion de la Pobreza, an NGO focusing on microentrepreneurs.
Neil Blumenthal (EPIIC’02)

Neil Blumenthal, Director, began his association with Scojo Foundation in 2003 as a consultant in El Salvador developing Scojo Foundation’s first program and subsequently joined the New York team to expand and manage operations globally. Prior to joining Scojo Foundation, Mr. Blumenthal worked with the International Crisis Group and attended the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution in The Hague, Netherlands. Mr. Blumenthal received his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and His- tory from Tufts University and was a 2005-2006 Emerging Leaders in Public Service Fellow at NYU Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service.

Geoffrey Chalmers (EPIIC’94)
Geoffrey Chalmers is USAID/Mexico’s Economic Growth and Environment Team Leader, where he manages the Mission’s micro and rural finance activities and oversees activities related to rural development and the environment. Previously, as Microenterprise Development Advisor in USAID/Washington, he worked in the areas of microfinance, business development services, and rural finance at USAID’s Office of Microenterprise Development.  Prior to joining USAID’s Microenterprise Development Division, Geoff worked in the Microenterprise Division of the Inter-American Development Bank, and served as an advisor to Chispa, a microfinance institution in Masaya, Nicaragua, where he developed a pilot program to expand Chispa’s outreach to small coffee and dairy farmers.  He is author of “Hortifruti in Central America: A Case Study About the Influence of Supermarkets on the Development and Evolution of Creditworthiness Among Small and Medium Agricultural Producers” and “Jumpstarting Agribusiness Markets for Small Producers in Honduras”
Gail Schechter (EPIIC’89)
Gail Schechter has over 24 years’ experience in housing advocacy, discrimination complaint investigation, tenant and community organizing, and public policy research and development. Since 1993, she has served as Executive Director of the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, a fair and affordable housing advocacy group serving Chicago’s North Shore. In addition, she teaches public policy for Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. She is the recipient of numerous honors for her social justice advocacy, including the 2001 Champion of the Public Interest Award from Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. Originally from New York City, Ms. Schechter was Director of Organizing for a Brooklyn not-for-profit group and later co-founded the Chicago Mutual Housing Network while with the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Sonja Wolfe (EPIIC’92)
Sonja joined DAI as an Associate Business Manager for the Agriculture and Economics Group, and most recently worked as an Operations Specialist with the Management and Operations Services Team (MOST). As Operations Specialist, she was responsible for a widerange of project management topics, including providing support & training for project closedown, drafting security management tools, process, and policy, finance procedures, designing project management audit tools, and coordinating policy & process with other DAI support offices. Prior to joining DAI, Sonja worked at the National Academies of Science and has also lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt.

Robin Young (EPIIC’91)
Robin Young is a consultant, team leader, and project manager who provides technical assistance, training, and business development support for DAI’s projects in Latin America. She specializes in institutional and market assessments, business planning, credit products, and human resource development for rural and microfinance. With 15 years of experience, Ms. Young has been based in Central America for the past seven years.