The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin
Major: 
History, Government
BDP Certificate: 
Global Studies
Graduation: 
Spring 2011

Kevin interned with Global Youth Connect in Bosnia and Rwanda to meet requirements for his Global Studies certificate. In Bosnia, he worked within regions acutely affected by the Bosnian war to help local NGO’s and government agencies craft educational workshops focused on collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution strategies. In Rwanda, Kevin interned with FACEAIDS and helped conduct site visits and service learning activities.

“My hands-on experience in post-conflict societies directly influenced the ways in which I wrote about the material, engaged current events, evaluated academic works, and spoke about them in both formal and informal contexts.”

Describe the work you did with Global Youth Connect.
Both the Bosnia and Rwanda programs emphasized social justice, activism, and reconciliation specifically catering to youth within the context of human rights and development. Each program combined educational workshops, volunteering, and home stays in order to provide experiential and hands-on learning. Some specific activities we did were a three-day conflict transformation workshop with local youth in Bosnia, grant-writing for a local NGO, interviewing detainees and advocating on behalf of their rights in western Rwanda, and assisting with the annual report for a Rwandan NGO.

How did this experience connect to your BDP?
My BDP is Global Studies (International Conflict strand). My experience connected directly with my BDP because I worked in two post-conflict areas and engaged directly with the history and subsequent progress made in light of those countries’ genocidal pasts. My hands-on experience in post-conflict societies directly influenced the ways in which I wrote about the material, engaged current events, evaluated academic works, and spoke about them in both formal and informal contexts. I did not travel to Bosnia or Rwanda in order to do research in the sense of working in archives or conducting formalized interviews. Instead, I approached each opportunity as if the very society within which I was operating functioned as my template for research.

In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
My experiences in Bosnia and Rwanda have fundamentally transformed my outlook on life, my belief systems, the way I treat others and maintain relationships, and the way I engage in work. They have also equipped me with a stronger capacity to live in the moment. To me, this is invaluable in and of itself even if it doesn’t lead to a career in development work or humanitarianism.