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"It's going to take a lot of hard work to heal my country"

Growing up in northern Uganda amid violent civil war, Teddy Atim remembers the sleepless night when armed soldiers arrested and imprisoned her father, who had worked as a civil servant in the former political regime. When her father, thankfully, was released from prison, he was barred from seeking employment. She and her siblings worked before and after school to help him grow food to sell.

"My father always told us that if we learned how to work hard and focused on our education, we could overcome any challenge—no matter what the future held for Uganda," recalls Atim, a 2008 graduate of the Master’s in Humanitarian Assistance program at the Feinstein International Center, a part of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Atim's early experiences fueled her commitment to helping those most affected by the war in Uganda: children. She joined humanitarian efforts to rehabilitate formerly abducted children forced to fight in antigovernment militias.

Through this work, Atim connected with researchers from the Feinstein International Center. Peter Walker, the center's director, helped her find funding so she could enroll.

"With Teddy's return to Uganda, the country has a real agent for change," says Walker, the inaugural holder of the Irwin H. Rosenberg Professorship of Nutrition and Human Security. "And we’re right there looking for ways to collaborate with her and support her important work." A leader in the first successful international effort to establish a professional code of conduct for the field, Walker's multifaceted investigations of crises—including those in Darfur, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan—have led to interventions that improve the lives of people living through them.

"The Feinstein International Center is unique in that its researchers work all over the world, conducting the kind of on-the-ground studies that can have real, immediate impact on the victims of war, famine, or natural disaster," he says. "And we're the only program that is training a cadre of humanitarian aid professionals who really get what it means to be evidence-driven."

Atim says the program at Tufts allowed her to develop her research skills so she could better understand the conflict in Uganda—and make a bigger difference in the lives of those affected by it.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work to heal my country," she says. "But, through my studies at Tufts, I learned to see the conflict from multiple perspectives. We are learning from Sierra Leone and learning from Rwanda. As the peace process goes on, I want to deepen my knowledge and use it to help other countries."

Gifts to runners in the Tufts Marathon Team as well as gifts to the Friedman Annual Fund directly support students like Teddy as well as the important work of the Feinstein International Center. For more information, contact:

Sean Devendorf
Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations
Friedman School
150 Harrison Ave., Suite 241
Boston, MA 02111
tel: 617.636.2949
sean.devendorf@tufts.edu