Leah Squires: Policy Pitch Competition

September 12, 2018 0:04:05
Kaltura Video

Leah Squires (MPP/MENAS '20) talks about how her love for international authors and fiction books sparked her studies in international policy, culminating in an internship with Direct Relief.


Everyone My name is Leah Squires and any

friend of mine knows that I often prefer
the company of books to other people.

I really partial to fiction and especially
international authors who I started

reading at a pretty young age I can really
chart a connection from my love for

his and you know to my undergraduate study
of anthropology my Peace Corps service

in Morocco the work I did later with
refugees in Portland Oregon and

ultimately my decision to come to the ford
school and study international policy.

I believe that there are many voices
under represented in the policy arena and

a personal goal of mine is to learn
how to elevate and those voices and

shed light on their stories and
so with that goal in mind and

because I thought a summer
spent reading would be fun I

specifically sought out an internship
as a researcher a writer and

I was lucky enough to secure position with
direct relief in Santa Barbara California.

Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid
organization that supports domestic and

international partners with
medical relief assistance.

With the aim to improve the health and
lives of those

affected by poverty or emergency
situations I worked with the research and

analysis department which uses data and

To enhance or unable the direct release
and partner organizations capacity

to respond in crisis situations
specifically I my research focused on

the ring a refugee crisis happening right
now in Bangladesh where over 1000000.

Have fled genocide and
political persecution and me on Mar.

To settle now in Bangladesh where
today we have the largest and

most densely populated refugee camp in
the world it's also very precariously

positioned in the southern coastal Basin
which is prone to Monsoon flooding and

landslides and also typhoons so
I got to investigate the intersection

between existing environmental and health
hazards as well as the response to this

crisis by the HOPE Foundation which is
director Leafs partner in Bangladesh.

My primary deliverable was
a 3 part story series.

That looked at the refugee crisis and
highlighted the role that

the HOPE Foundation played in Bangladesh I
really liked doing this research it

was engaging for me given my interest
in international development and

also the connection to refugee policy
a practical takeaway for me was I got to

learn R J S mapping software which
I just thought was the coolest.

And also learning a little bit about
Excel gave me the opportunity to

apply quantitative analysis and tell data
driven stories specifically the direct

impact on the HOPE Foundation was also
really meaningful my reporting inspired

the director of the C E O to give the
HOPE Foundation a grant of $100000.00 and

also launching a company and fundraiser
that raised an additional $9000.00

in individual donations this funding
directly serves hopes operations and

will lead to the completion hopefully
of their field hospital in the camps

which primarily serves women and
children who are disproportionately

represented in the population at
about 80 percent so professionally

I'm really excited to keep working with
direct relief actually as a contractor and

continue reporting on this crisis and
hopefully other stories in the future and

the experience confirmed that I can
leverage my skills as a researcher

writer and fully influence decision
makers again in the future thank you.