Do Good Abroad: A Panel Discussion on Jobs in Humanitarian Aid and Relief

event_image Event offered by:
Foreign Policy Association

Event Details

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM 
American University - School of International Service Founder's Room
4400 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington, DC
Event type
Lecture / Panel  

Event Description

Working in humanitarian or philanthropic organizations abroad can be one of the most rewarding and thrilling experiences. But how do you find work in such a field, and what can you do to ensure it is a legitimate opportunity?


In this panel discussion you will learn:

·  Of the different positions working as a humanitarian worker overseas: What kind of work can I find in relief efforts?

· About organizations hiring workers to go abroad: How do I know it is a legitimate organization working towards truly altruistic goals?

· How to find opportunities working abroad: What resources do I have at my disposal to find such jobs?

· How to position yourself as the best candidate: How can I properly highlight my professional and academic experience to increase my chances of being hired?

· Of the experience overseas: What can I expect working in humanitarian aid and relief efforts? What kind of conditions will I live in?


All attendees receive:

• Enrollment in the Foreign Policy Association Global Jobs email alerts

• Light food and drink during networking/Q&A session


Who should attend this seminar?

• Undergraduate and Graduate Students considering or preparing for overseas in a humanitarian role.

• Young Professionals interested in beginning a career overseas in a humanitarian role.

• Mid-Career Professionals transitioning to a career in overseas humanitarian efforts.


This Global Career Boot Camp is sponsored by The American University School of International Service (SIS)

Event Speakers

    • Paul von Zielbauer - Moderator
      Founder, Roadmonkey

      Paul von Zielbauer launched Roadmonkey in 2008 to give motivated people the chance to dive deep into a foreign culture and work hard for people in need. From 1999 through 2009, he was a staff correspondent for The New York Times, covering state government, private security firms, the military justice system and the war in Iraq. He has traveled in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by train, boat, motorcycle, tram, bicycle, chicken bus and occasionally by car. He completed a Fulbright Scholarship for Young Journalists in 1997 while living in Berlin.

      In 2005, The Times nominated Paul’s investigative series on privatized prison healthcare for a Pulitzer Prize. Paul graduated with honors from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He received a B.A. from Iowa State University. He speaks German, Spanish and Vietnamese. He was born & raised in Aurora, Illinois.

    • Paul von Zielbauer
    • Earl Yates - Panelist
      Associate Director/Volunteer Recruitment and Selection - Peace Corps

      Earl Yates was appointed Associate Director for Volunteer Recruitment and Selection effective March 26, 2012.  He directs and oversees the nation-wide recruitment of approximately 12,000 applicants annually, from which his office competitively selects and fields about 3,500 Trainees, who are sent to the field for their service as Peace Corps Volunteers.

      Immediately prior to this recent appointment, he directed Peace Corps’ Office of Management, which includes the Office of Human Resources Management, the Office of Administration, and the Office of the Freedom of Information Act Officer.

      As the first Country Director for Peace Corps/South Africa, from July 1996 to October 1998, he managed the New Country Entry of that program, and he served as Africa Regional Director from October 1998 to January 2001.

      He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Howard University, a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and has done post-master’s graduate study in International Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

    • Earl Yates
    • James Ian Carter - Panelist
      New Business Development Manager - Africare

      Ian Carter is the business development manager at Africare where he leads proposal development teams, liaising with programming, finance, communications and field staff to ensure high quality, cohesive proposals; monitors and tracks business opportunities; and represents the organization to an array of external clients and stakeholders. Prior to Mr. Carter holding this position, he worked as a consultant to Africare where he crafted the business development strategy for the mining sector.

      Specializing in human and institutional capacity development, change management and process design, Mr. Carter has demonstrated his expertise in project management, organizational effectiveness and performance improvement in both public and private sector ventures.

      Previously, Mr. Carter worked for Deloitte Consulting in the Emerging Markets Group in human capital where he produced capacity building methodologies and business development initiatives for clients that included the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

      Before his time at Deloitte, Mr. Carter served as international process leader at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., an extraction industry company where he managed projects in nine countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Africa. In this role, Mr. Carter served as the project manager of a training and development program that brought 70 Congolese engineers to the U.S. for hands-on, technical training.

      Mr. Carter holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Arizona.

    • James Ian Carter
    • Mark Overmann - Panelist
      Assistant Director and Senior Policy Strategist - Alliance for International and Cultural Exchange

              Mark Overmann has served as the Assistant Director and Senior Policy Specialist at the Alliance for International and Cultural Exchange since February 2009. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mark was the Director of College Communications at Georgetown University, where he worked closely with the university's outreach and exchange programs to China. He also previously worked as the Program Associate for Communications at the National Council for International Visitors.


             Mark made his first substantive trip abroad during college to study in Angers, France. Following his graduation with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, he taught English and studied Chinese in Northeast China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region. He subsequently earned his M.A. in International Communication from American University’s School of International Service. Mark is coauthor with Sherry Mueller of Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development (Georgetown University Press, 2008). He speaks French and Chinese, and is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.

    • Mark Overmann
    • Dr. John Coonrod - Panelist
      Executive Vice President - The Hunger Project


      John Coonrod is the Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project, where he is responsible for research, advocacy and its programs in South Asia and Latin America. He works closely with the President and CEO on all aspects of strategy, including programs, fundraising and communications and is based in Washington, DC.

      He is a leading spokesperson for the organization and has been interviewed on BBC, CNN and NBC television. John is an expert on bottom-up, gender-focused development and decentralized local governance who has lectured at the United Nations, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), Princeton University and the United States Air Force Academy.

      John serves as co-chair of InterAction's Food Security and Agriculture working group, as advisor and board member to a number of emerging international NGOs. He is an avid amateur photographer and figure skater.

      John became The Hunger Project's first volunteer in March of 1977, joined its staff in 1985, and has participated in the development and implementation of all of its programs.

      John grew up in the Midwest and was trained as a physicist at Stanford (BSc) and the University of California-Berkeley (MS, PhD), during which time he was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. He worked as a research physicist at Princeton University from 1978 through 1984. As a physicist, he was involved in the design and construction of the High-Energy Astronomical Observatory satellite, the first whole-body CAT scanner and the first tokamak designed to achieve a break-even fusion reaction.

      At The Hunger Project, John met his colleague and future wife Carol. They were married in 1988 and are living happily ever after.

    • Dr. John Coonrod
    • Scott Webb - Panelist
      Office of Food and Agriculture Systems - International Relief and Development


      Scott Webb is currently a Program Officer with the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems unit at International Relief and Development (IRD), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization responsible for implementing relief, stability, and development programs worldwide. He manages IRD’s Food Security programming in Niger, Senegal, Gambia, and Ethiopia.  At IRD, Mr. Webb started as a Recruiter, then shifted to program operations with the Iraq unit, backstopping IRD’s OFDA funded Humanitarian Assistance to Iraq program, as well as the Relief unit, where he helped set up emergency water trucking for Ethiopian pastoralist villages along the Somali border.  Prior to IRD, Mr. Webb was a recruiter with the Peace Corps’ San Francisco office, where he interviewed and recruited almost 400 applicants for positions all over the world. Having worked in recruitment and operations, Mr. Webb has a wide range of experience he enjoys passing along to those looking for international development career advice.

       Mr. Webb has a Masters of Public Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Masters in International Relations from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelors in Political Science from UC San Diego. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger from 1997-2001.  He blogs at and tweets from @voxsouley.  

    • Scott Webb