U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant Awardees: Washington, DC

Alumni TIES
5 min readDec 13, 2017


Following the U.S. Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (Alumni TIES) in Washington, D.C., participants were encouraged to bring their ideas to the table for a competitive small grant opportunity with funding of up to $10,000. The diverse array of submitted ideas were interwoven with the seminar theme, “Illicit Networks: Preventing and Combating Trafficking,” and reflected innovative, powerful tools to disrupt networks trafficking in persons and labor, antiquities, and wildlife. We are thrilled to share the nine projects selected for the U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grants provided through World Learning and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and thank all of the exchange alumni who submitted compelling, creative projects from the seminar.

You can see winners of previous U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grants from “The New Frontiers of Global Public Health” here, from “Education for All: Inclusion and Access as Pathways to Peace” here, and “Building Resilient Communities: Religious and Ethnic Diversity” here.

Congratulations to: Warren Binford

Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program to Canada, 2015
Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to South Africa, 2012

Warren Binford is awarded a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for her project “Engaging Frontline Service Providers to Disrupt CSAIO [Child Pornography] Networks,” along with U.S. Alumni TIES participants Elaine Alpert, Charles Carter, Russell Wilson, and Morgan Burdick. Her project aims to educate frontline service providers to be disruptors of CSAIO networks by determining their knowledge, confidence, and capacity to recognize and respond to potential abuse early. Her project brings new research to national antitrafficking efforts and follows that research with interdisciplinary advising and procedure development to combat CSAIO networks in the U.S.

Congratulations to: Morgan Burdick

Critical Language Scholarship to India, 2014 and 2016

Morgan Burdick receives a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for her project “Responding to Human Trafficking in Healthcare Settings Using an Interprofessional Educational Webinar Series.” The series brings together professionals from healthcare, social welfare, and community-based advocacy to build a collaborative care team capable of responding to those experiencing or at risk to human trafficking. Working with U.S. Alumni TIES participants Elaine Alpert, Sarah Lentz, Keri Zug, Katy Giguere, Chris Lapinig, and Ronnie Matthew Harris, her project develops a two-part webinar series to build these interdisciplinary responses to human trafficking risks in the U.S. and to offer professionals an affordable, accessible platform for interprofessional exchange.

Congratulations to: Sagan Friant

Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Nigeria, 2012

Focusing on illicit bushmeat trafficking in Nigeria, Sagan Friant is awarded a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for her project “From Illicit to Legitimate: Disruption of Wildlife Trade Networks through Building Alternative Nutritional, Economic and Health Networks,” along with fellow U.S. Alumni TIES participant Leah Dassler. Her project aims to combat food insecurity and emergent disease risks in six Nigerian bushmeat hunting communities through alternative livelihood skills trainings and health education, with the innovative goal of enhancing community resilience for the protection of wildlife.

Congratulations to: Ronnie Matthew Harris

Professional Fellows Program to Hungary, 2016
Professional Fellows Program to Romania, 2017

Ronnie Matthew Harris and fellow U.S. Alumni TIES participant Arren Delatorre-Mills will use the U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for the project “Not on Our Watch: Combating Modern Day Slavery and the Illicit Networks that Sustain It,” which builds on the legacy of the U.S. abolitionist movement to bring attention to the reality of modern day slavery. The project includes one-day seminars in both Cincinnati, Ohio and Iasi, Romania to build local and international relationships as a force to disrupt illicit trafficking networks across these communities.

Congratulations to: Anita Joshi

Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Brazil, 2016–2017

Anita Joshi receives a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for her work to prevent trafficking in persons in Mozambique through “Sparking Change: Preventing the Exploitation of Adolescent Girls through Social and Digital Innovation.” The project, in collaboration with U.S. Alumni TIES participant Kimberly Forster, aims to prevent trafficking through building community resiliency and empowering young girls with skills-building opportunities in areas vulnerable to the trafficking. It includes a workshop series which promote using digital tools for social change, micro-entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment.

Congratulations to: Christopher Lapinig

Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Philippines, 2009–2010

Working with Filipino migrant workers planning to come to the U.S. and those already here, Christopher Lapinig receives a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for his project “Ang Karapatan Mo Sa America (Your Rights in America).” His project will provide an online platform for migrant workers to share information with one another about labor recruiters and employers to flag potentially exploitative companies early. The project includes printed and online media materials in English and Tagalog to direct workers both in the U.S. and Philippines to the information collected on the online platform.

Congratulations to: Eugene Schaffer

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to Kosovo, 2016–2017

Eugene Schaffer is awarded a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant for his project “Understanding and Countering Trafficking: A School-Based Module,” along with U.S. Alumni TIES participants Arren Mills and Marianna Minaya. Aimed at teachers in Kosovo, teachers in training in Maryland, and students in Florida, the project is designed to provide information, curriculum guidance, and materials for introducing students in the classroom to local and global trafficking issues. The module field tests curriculum across three settings and audiences to assure its transferability to broader audiences in the future.

Congratulations to: Donna Yates

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to Bolivia, 2012–2013

Donna Yates will use her U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant to employ her project, “An Ongoing, Online ‘Virtual Conference’ about Antiquities Trafficking,” which breaks down barriers to accessing current academic research in cultural property protection. Her “virtual conference” provides interprofessional exchange of ideas in an accessible, affordable manner by hosting a collection of lecture videos from diverse leading experts in the field on a free online platform for anyone to access.

Congratulations to: Keri Zug

Fulbright U.S. Student Program to Peru, 2010–2011

Keri Zug receives a U.S. Alumni TIES Small Grant to increase health care provider capacity in screening and responding to victims of human trafficking in her community. Her project, “Building Provider and Staff Capacity to Combat Human Trafficking at La Clinica,” brings educational trainings to the providers at the Oakland, California clinic to develop an environment where potential victims of human trafficking feel comfortable sharing information and providers are equipped to meet their needs. The project concludes with the establishment of a standardized screening and response protocol to be implemented clinic-wide.

As these projects unfold across the U.S. and global communities, their progress and accomplishments will be updated on the U.S. Alumni TIES Medium blog.



Alumni TIES

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally focused seminars for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.