Sherry Zalika Sykes
I am a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State undertaking a sabbatical year of research, writing and activism on violence. The Department of State, in concert with the Uma Chapman Cox Foundation, granted this sabbatical fellowship based on my proposal to better understand what is happening in the U.S. to counter the plague of violence. Violence of all sorts impacts so many of us, including my own son who was killed on July 4, 2013 in an armed robbery that occurred across the street from his school, Howard University in Washington, DC. My project began in August of 2014, and lasts one year. I and a team of five students from across the U.S. are investigating the policy and programmatic work of organizations that have been effective in diminishing violence, and I began formal study and teaching with Yale University’s Violence and Health Group in January.
I have served in Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, South Africa, and Mozambique as well as in Washington, DC where I engaged in oceans diplomacy. Before joining the Federal Government, I was an organizer and leader in community development organizations involved in the provision of fair and affordable housing, educational opportunities, entrepreneurship development, and leadership development and mentorship. After graduating high school in a Chicago, I earned an undergraduate degree at Stanford University and a masters degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
The Uma Chapman Cox Foundation Sabbatical Leave Fellowship Program recognizes, rewards, and encourages senior and mid-career career members of the Foreign Service. The one-year program is designed to enrich the participants’ careers, sustain their professional development, provide opportunities to stimulate public awareness of the Foreign Service, and ultimately to support and strengthen the Foreign Service of the United States.The program enables the selectee to pursue activities that will be beneficial and enriching to both the employee and the Foreign Service. The sabbaticals, as envisioned by the late Mrs. Uma Chapman Cox, allow selected officers to reacquaint themselves with the United States, and reaffirm their personal commitment to the Foreign Service.
Everything in this blog is personal and may not be attributed in any way to the U.S. Department of State.
My name is Melissa Pavlik. I’m currently an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago studying political science and statistics. My primary research interests are international security issues, including violence against women. I’m political at heart, and I intend to spend a career dedicating myself to crafting & presenting research-based policy approaches to international issues–my goal is to help implement policy frameworks that address violence worldwide. I’ve previously experimented with work in PACs, congressional offices, courtrooms, the federal bureaucracy, and non-profits, so I have a wide array of perspectives gained from working hard (if for brief intervals) in a wide array of places.
I grew up in Detroit, and now go to school on the south side of Chicago–a move that would make it impossible not to notice the devastating effects violence has on communities, as well as the disparities and bitterness that often underlines the gap between high violence and low violence areas. Such observations sparked my interest in this project, and in violence prevention in general.
My name is Amy Sereday. I am currently a graduate student at Columbia University pursuing a MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. I also have a BA in Communication from Western Connecticut State University and a post-grad certificate in Paralegal Studies from the University of Hartford. As a mid-career professional in the legal field, I returned to academia seeking new direction in my career and an infusion of inspiration in my life. My studies are currently focused on mediation, restorative justice, trauma healing and public policy.