Claudia Heeyoon Ro
I have been involved with Humanity Crew since the beginning of my MPA program at Cornell in the fall of 2017. At the time, Humanity Crew was the only international client that was partnered with the consulting course as well as the only organization that focused on humanitarian aid and emergency relief. As an international human rights concentration, I was naturally drawn to the work that they were doing and that was the beginning of my connection with Humanity Crew. The organization’s mandate and my beliefs as a human rights advocate aligned very well and working with them has shifted my focus to pursue a career that highlights the importance of mental health well-being amongst the issue of forced migration.
My most recent project with Humanity Crew was developing a media strategy for them to utilize with a goal to maximize the organization’s presence in the media. As an extension of that project, I was charged with two weeks of field work to gather honest and real opinions of how the refugees themselves feel about the media when it comes to portraying the refugee crisis. I have spent one week in Athens, Greece visiting various refugee shelters interviewing refugees in person and one week in Haifa, Israel analyzing the results of the interviews and drafting a new academic journal regarding the direct impact of media on the refugees.
Although I have been working on a number of projects that involves humanitarian aid towards the refugees, my visit to Athens was my first time encountering real-life refugees. To meet the people that I have been helping remotely for the past few years and hearing their stories in real life was an experience like no other. I don’t think that I have experienced so many different emotions at the same time including sympathy, empathy, sadness, worry, a sense of motivation, relief and so much more. Meeting them in person made me feel oddly excited and motivated me to work harder to protect these people, to give them a normal life that they deserve. These stories I’ve heard were ones that should be told to the world, in their own voices, and I want to make that happen with Humanity Crew that presented me with this unique and special opportunity. The work that this extraordinary organization does to help the most vulnerable is in more need than ever and I am grateful that I get to play an important role as a helping hand. My time here at Cornell has truly been more enriched both personally and professionally through my time with Humanity Crew and I can't wait to see more impact that comes from it.