Debbie Leter ’15 is working for the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in New York next year as a program assistant, which will involve attending UN meetings, organizing events and meetings, and conducting her own research. She knew she wanted to focus on social justice issues before coming to Haverford, but she did not know how to achieve her goal. “Over the past four years, I have realized the extent to which I am particularly passionate about international and cross-cultural communication [and] collaboration,” says Leter, “as well as peacebuilding, the prevention of violent conflict, and the role of civil society.”
Leter did not know much about Quaker-led peace work before coming to Haverford, but during her four years at the College she participated in a number of related activities, including a Center for Peace and Global Citizenship-funded internship in Ghana, an internship at the American Friends Service Committee, and working with the on-campus branch of a program called the Alternatives to Violence Project, which teaches non-violent conflict resolution skills and operates primarily in U.S. prisons.
Before beginning work for QUNO, Leter is spending the summer doing another CPGC internship in South Africa. “Through these CPGC experiences,” says Leter, “I have come to realize how much I love and value working with people internationally, and have been inspired to continue doing international peace work after graduation.”
Leter’s international collaborations extended to her junior year semester abroad in Hyderabad, India, where she interviewed NGO directors, staff members, and program participants about fostering interfaith coexistence between Hindus and Muslims. That work became the subject of her anthropology thesis.
“The fact that Haverford cares about its students as individuals and can see in them the potential to be agents of social change has made me think a lot about how everyone has the potential to become an agent of change, if we only collaborate and provide assistance to each other,” she says.
—Jack Hasler ’15
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.