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By Kelly Merchan
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

Cornell Global Development is pleased to announce its Master of Professional Studies (MPS) class of 2024. This year’s program will provide in-depth training to students who are mid-career professionals, scholars and aspiring development professionals.

Each student brings a unique specialty to the program, ranging from climate change and regenerative agriculture to inclusive policy design and advocacy for migrant populations, according to Terry Tucker, co-director of the MPS program and professor of the practice in Global Development.

“We are thrilled to have graduate students from around the world who are already confronting pressing development challenges in their work,” Tucker said. This year’s cohort represents students from nine countries, including China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, and the United States.

Cornell’s Global Development MPS program prepares graduate students for the next stage in their field-based development careers and development policy roles. The program focuses on serving low-income and rural communities across the globe, and trains student to both assess and create solutions for development challenges.

“MPS students in Global Development bring with them a wealth of knowledge that enriches not only this program, but units and communities across Cornell,” said Ed Mabaya, co-director of the MPS program and research professor in Global Development.

This year's cohort includes recipients of several prestigious scholarships and fellowships including Fulbright scholarships (2), the Coverdell Fellowship for Returned Peace Corps volunteers, Cornell Institute for African Development (IAD) scholarships (3), the IAD’s Bouriez Fellowship for Francophone Students, Einaudi Director's Fellowship, and a South Asia Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship.

Members of the MPS Class of 2024 and the grand challenge they seek to confront in their work are:

  • Mercy Awazi Abutsa: Climate change, conflict and displacement in Africa; policy communication
  • Oumar Issoufou Adamou: Climate change and food security challenges in the Sahel
  • Muhammad Yahya Aftab: Working towards equitable agrarian development through the strengthening of farming communities and their capacity to make claims on developmental outcomes
  • Tabindah Anwar: Adaptation to climate change using indigenous and local knowledge
  • Elizabeth Arrazola: Engaging migrant youth in their respective communities through inclusive policy design and economic opportunities
  • Owen Dunn-Hindle: Development of non-exploitative communities through ecologically integrated design and cooperative ownership
  • Andrea Durmiaki: Equitable opportunities and fair access to experiential learning/global education opportunities
  • Martin Faki: Interdisciplinary education and developmental practice programs as instruments for inclusive sustainable development
  • Gretchen Hanson: Farmer-centered research and pluralism in agricultural extension services; climate-smart and inclusive agriculture solutions; gender equity in food systems
  • Abdullah Jehanzeb: Development and facilitation of underproductive and under-resourced smallholder farmers to build inclusive food systems based on food sovereignty
  • Naveen Kottayil: Food systems-based approaches to reducing poverty and improving nutrition and livelihoods in South Asia
  • William Leahy: Economic Development in Eurasia
  • Jose Maldonado: Sustainable agri-food value chains in Colombia
  • Elirehema Mejooli: Renewable energy for rural development in Tanzania
  • Ling Niu: Vocational education and university management in China
  • Maria De Lourdes Orozco Ramirez: Empowering immigrant and socially disadvantaged small-scale farmers through social capital and climate education
  • Rhealynn Ravarra: Resilient communities and agroecosystems; adaptability to change; transformed approaches to relief frameworks
  • Jackie Sayegh: Empowering displaced women and youths; indigenous coping strategies; associational social structures
  • Phoebe Wagner: Social-ecological systems and land justice
  • Ziqing Wei: Agricultural economics and policy, with focuses on food, nutrition and environment issues

The one-year MPS program offers opportunities to examine competing theories, exchange ideas with leading scholars, prominent practitioners, and each other, and to enhance technical and practical skills for development practice. The program combines coursework and a capstone project which uses problem-solving skills to approach a real-world issue.

This year’s cohort brings diverse interests and perspectives to the program from prior experience in a range of sectors and diverse organizations, including government agencies, international organizations, community-based programs, educational institutions, NGOs, and voluntary organizations including Peace Corps and Americorps.


Kelly Merchán is a communications specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Global Development.

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