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October 6, 2008

Appe Wins Rotary Grant for Field Work in Ecuador

Rockefeller College doctoral student Susan Appe.

Rockefeller College doctoral student Susan Appe will conduct research in Ecuador. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

October 6, 2008 - Second-year doctoral student Susan Appe of Albany, N.Y., received a competitive Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship to conduct research in Quito, Ecuador, on non-governmental organization state relations in urban areas in winter/spring 2010. The $24,000 grant will fund transportation, tuition and fees, room, board, language training, and educational supplies.

Appe, who is in the Rockefeller College Public Administration and Policy doctoral program, said, "I am thrilled to win this scholarship because it will enable me to continue academic field work in the Andean region of South America, and also be a liaison between Rotary clubs here in the Capital District and in Quito, Ecuador."

In Ecuador, Appe will be affiliated with the Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar in Quito. She is interested in nongovernmental organizations, and how they are working both with and against state institutions.  

Prior to coming to UAlbany, Appe was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia for several years. She returned to South America for a year as a Fulbright Fellow in Bogota, Colombia, after earning a master's degree. She said the Andean countries have a rich history of civil society movements, and urban governments are increasingly forging relationships wth the nongovernmental (NGO) sector. "I intend to spend my lifetime working in and out of South America, and with South American and U.S. scholars," she said.

While she has never been to Ecuador before, her field work there will complement her prior experiences in Colombia and Bolivia. "As I continue to conduct research in preparation for my departure, I am realizing that Ecuador has a strong history of social movements that have mobilized through grassroots (organizations), but also have transitioned into nongovernmental organizations," Appe said. This is the case with the women's and indigenous people's movements, for example. "I am hoping I will be able to look at the shift of social movements to NGOs and the conflicts, if any, that emerge. Also, I will examine how social movements and NGOs relate to the state institutions in Quito," Appe said.

Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholars act as "ambassadors of good will" by presenting at Rotary clubs, schools, civic organizations, and other venues in the country where they are studying or conducting research.

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