2015 Summer for Development Study Abroad Program offers unique undergraduate academic and work experiences

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The Payson Center for International Development is excited to announce its 2015 Summer Study Abroad programs for undergraduate students in Panama and Geneva, Switzerland called Summer for Development.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS), smartphones and open-source software are technologies supporting development projects throughout the world. Whether you are working in Public Health, Community Development, Environmental Sciences, Law, Urban Planning or Disaster Management, it would be hard to find an initiative that does not call for data collection and analysis, for convenient tools for monitoring and evaluating impact or for some effective way to display your findings. However, work and research conditions in the developing world are such that international development professionals often need to adapt the technology they are using.

The Panama Summer for Development's three-week Geography, Technology & Development course (May 18 to June 6, 2015) introduces students to open-source mapping (Quantum GIS, Google Earth) and cellphone-based data collection software, and to the survey and data display skills needed to produce accurate and powerful information about any area of interest. Classes will be taught by the Payson Center’s own Dr. Julie Hernandez, a geographer with extensive international and technical experience in the field of urban resilience and Dr. Nanette Svenson who helped establish the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama.

The course will include visits to:

While in Panama City, students will meet with professionals from local and international organizations taking advantage of the city's role as the United Nations hub for Latin America and the Caribbean. They will also explore the city's diverse neighborhoods and use its historic "Casco Viejo" as a playground for data collection and mapping exercises.

Geneva, Switzerland

Students interested in learning how the world is quickly transforming under the combined influences of rapid urbanization, migrations and climate change and want to explore what is being done to address these transformations and their consequences on human economies, health, cultures, and environment will want to take advantage of this unique academic and work experience.

Whether students are majoring in, or simply interested in, issues of International Development, Public Health, Urban Planning, Environmental Science and Disaster Management, this is a great opportunity to learn more and then gain unique skills through an internship with our partner, the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development (ICMHD).

ICMHD is a leading international non-profit organization based in Geneva and will host the intensive, three-week Urban Resilience to Climate Change course (June 15 to July 3) and the subsequent three-week internship experience (July 6 – July 24). Classes will be taught by ICMHD Director, Dr. Manuel Carballo, an internationally recognized expert in environmental change and complex emergencies, the Payson Center’s own Executive Director and specialist of sustainability issues, Professor Colin Crawford, and Dr. Julie Hernandez, a geographer with extensive international and technical experience in the field of urban resilience.

Beyond the classroom and internship experience, students will benefit from the unique environment and atmosphere of Geneva, European headquarters of the United Nations, home to the highest concentration of international organizations and nonprofits in the world and global hub of ideas, people, projects and policies to make the world a better place.

The course will include visits to:

The Geneva Summer for Development program sold-out in 2014 and was reviewed enthusiastically by its participants.

Next steps

The Payson Center is in the process of  scheduling multiple events to exchange information with undergraduate students. Interested students are encouraged to subscribe to the Summer for Development mailing list in order to receive notifications of upcoming events.

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