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From Army pilot to marsh boat:
a Yale student's Iraqi journeys

The first time Carina Roselli ’14MEM went to Iraq, she was an Army officer and helicopter pilot "living on an enormous Air Force base, which I was never allowed to leave unless on a mission, in the air, and under the cover of darkness," she writes. "My helicopter was regularly shot at, my base was occasionally rocketed, and I had very little personal contact with Iraqi citizens."

Four years later, Roselli is back in-country on a fellowship with the nonprofit organization Nature Iraq. A student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (as well as a JD candidate at Vermont Law School), Roselli writes on an FES summer blog that this is a "supremely different" mission: "I am here to meet [Iraq's] people, understand its culture, and support its progression toward environmental sustainability."

Specifically, Roselli expected to "explore Mt. Peramagroon’s incredible biodiversity, . . . to observe Marsh Arab communities and Nature Iraq’s marsh restoration projects, and to [go to] Erbil (Kurdistan’s state capital) to explore its 6,000 year old citadel and the giant bazaar below it." If that doesn't sound academic enough, she adds, "I’ll be finishing up several articles on Iraq’s southern marshes and starting a new article on transboundary water diplomacy with a colleague here."

Other FES students are blogging this summer from Tanzania, Berlin, and elsewhere. Tess Croner ’14MEM tracks chimps in Rwanda; Caitlin Doughty ’14MESc digs (and eats) potatoes in Peru; and Valerie Moye ’14MEM wrestles with the role of outsider academic/activists visiting the slums of Delhi:

As we left the meeting one young woman asked Dr. Tapan “what’s going to happen for us now that you brought these people to visit?” This echoed our group’s discomfort in entering a slum community: what is our role as “outsiders” in studying their lifestyle and recommending changes? What positive and negative impacts will our presence invoke? Who are we to assume we know what’s “best” for this community?

Filed under School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Carina Roselli, Iraq
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