Oglethorpe Grad’s Internship Research Featured in The New York Times

John in Tunisia observing elections, as part of his Carter Center internship.

John Yager ’15 onsite in Tunisia observing the country’s first presidential elections, as part of his Carter Center internship.

John Yager ’15,  an Oglethorpe graduate who majored in international studies, recently saw his internship research—relevant to current world events—published in one of the world’s top newspapers.

While an intern at The Carter Center in Atlanta, John was a part of its Conflict Resolution Program’s Syria Conflict Mapping Project, founded in 2012, which analyzes open source information related to the Syrian conflict, in as much detail as possible, in an effort to assist mediators and humanitarian responders. According to its website, the Center has documented and mapped more than 40,000 conflict events in Syria (including clashes, aerial bombardments, artillery shelling, etc.), the changing relations between thousands of armed groups, movements of internally displaced people, and humanitarian conditions.

During two semester-long internships, John collected conflict data, conducted bi-weekly analyses of new developments in each Syrian governorate, and created corresponding maps to show changes in areas of control and the front lines of the conflict. The project’s results were recently published in an article in The New York Times.

While interning at the Carter Center, John was also accepted into the Center’s Democracy Program to participate in an international election observation mission to Tunisia to monitor the country’s first-ever presidential election in fall 2014.

“It was a wonderful experience that was truly an honor for me,” said John. “This was in the most purest sense, seeing history in the making.”

John pictured during the Oglethorpe commencement ceremony in 2015.

John pictured during the Oglethorpe commencement ceremony in 2015.

Currently, John is in Europe, pursuing a dual Franco-German master’s degree at Sciences Po in Paris and Freie Universität in Berlin. At the culmination of the two-year dual degree program, John will have two master’s degrees—one in international security from Sciences Po and a second in political science from the Freie Universität. In addition to his classes, John is currently interning with the U.S. Department of State as a researcher in international affairs.

While a student, John was active on campus, founding the Students for Justice in Palestine, which fostered a divestment campaign that became the first student-passed divestment proposal in the southeastern U.S.

“It made me quite proud to see my university’s student government take such a major and public step towards ensuring the protection of human rights in Palestine. This is a true example of the type of social involvement embraced and encouraged in the principles of a liberal arts education at a university like Oglethorpe.”

Contributor: Renee Vary Keele

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