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Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
Isw08 Rotabi
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Isw08 Rotabi


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  • 1. Project Development from a Distance: A Case Example Karen S. Rotabi, PhD, LMSW, MPH Assistant Professor Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2. Where it Began: Research & Relationship Building
    • -Guatemala Intercountry Adoption Policy Analysis-
  • 3. Race & Discrimination (Mayans) Lack of Education & Opportunity History of War, Genocide & Displacement Health Disparities: Reproduction/ Contraception & Malnutrition Extreme Poverty & Desperation Most Basic Human Resource: Sex Organs & Reproduction Guatemala Child Adoption Policy U.S. Demand for babies & Policies International Policies: CRC & Hague Convention Cultural Context: gender roles, religion, ‘ machismo’ (high rape rates), & shame of illegitimacy, Political Corruption & Oppression Colonialism Economy Export Agriculture Over Population lack of history of domestic adoptions
  • 4. Current Products
    • Multiple Publications
      • Including 2 invited pubs in non-SW/high profile locations
    • Developed a website
    • Interviews with the press
    • Service activity emerged: Volunteer for the US Dept of State for int’l adoption agency accreditation
  • 5. Becoming Relevant to Internationalists
    • Anchor Ideas with
    • Human Rights
    • i.e. Convention on Rights of the Child
    • Other Int’l Agreements
    • i.e. Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption
    • Historical Analysis
    • i.e. Catalyst events
    • (war, genocide, etc.)
  • 6. What’s At Stake
  • 7. Lessons Learned
    • Because I was not “in country,” the process was filled with frustration
    • Networking by email and telephone is really like a roulette
    • Development of policy papers have a value-added to people on the ground
    • My ability to develop proposals is an asset to others
    • I’ve been willing to chase down some rabbit holes—being a risk taker is also an asset
  • 8. More Lessons Learned
    • 7. Networking at international conferences has paid off
    • 8. Self promotion is a little uncomfortable, but it is necessary
    • 9. Language skills are essential—I must continue to improve my Spanish
    • 10. Choose a region—become an expert in an area (i.e. my focus on Central America & post-conflict)
    • 11. As junior faculty, this is risky business in terms of tenure (even if they say int’l SW is a priority)
  • 9. Final Thoughts…
    • 1. While global social work is very satisfying and has great opportunities, it can be a lonely existence within the faculty environment because your work is often done out of sight and you can be accused of always coming and going.
    • 2. Also, it is inevitable that others do not understand—see you as pursuing a travel opportunity rather than a research agenda
    • 3. I’m still trying to figure out how to mix a service project with a research project (again the tenure issue)