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Elena Swartz

Class of 2017-2018

About Elena

(updated 6/2018) Elena Swartz has experienced the power of organizations working together to help communities in crisis all over the world, most recently in Kathmandu, as a Luce Scholar. Elena is driven to find creative solutions to complex management and research problems due to humanitarian conflict and natural disaster.  She is particularly interested in the role of arts and culture in protecting and promoting human dignity during crisis.  As a two-term AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Member, Elena helped communities recover from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, in addition to community economic development projects.  She earned a BA with honors in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College, where she was named a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and received funding to conduct a two-year independent research project on the socioeconomic role of heritage sites in South Africa.  In 2016, Elena interned with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland where she helped introduce system improvements to the Human Rights Council and researched human rights field operations.  She received an M.P.A. in International Development from the University of Washington in 2017.  In Nepal, Elena worked with the Democracy Resource Center-Nepal (DRCN), a Nepali non-governmental organization. DRCN strives to promote Nepal’s developing democracy through field and theory-based research on the status of the implementation of Nepal’s constitutional obligations.  As a visiting researcher at DRCN, Elena analyzed data from field-based election observers during Nepal’s 2017 local and parliamentary/provincial elections, and contributed to DRCN’s management strategies for the organization’s newly created national field offices. Outside of work, Elena spent a lot of time trying to adapt to the pace of her surroundings, from taking Nepali folkdance classes to wandering around Kathmandu’s many heritage sites. Her experiences tended to lead to intense Googling sessions and endless questions for everyone around her.

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