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Intern Spotlight: Haley Broder

My name is Haley Broder and I am a dual degree Master of Social Welfare and Master of Public Policy student at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA, focused on refugee and forced migration. I am a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where I concentrated on peace and gender studies, and I have lived and worked in places including Costa Rica, Turkey, Greece, Dominica, and Puerto Rico. I am an iACT summer intern, thanks to the Mahdesian Fellowship through Global Public Affairs.

Prior to entering graduate school, I worked as an international humanitarian aid worker in disaster zones, leading emergency response and long-term recovery teams, and supporting survivors of gender-based violence living in refugee camps. I can think of little else but the tenacity, power, and resilience of the people on the ground I had the privilege of getting to work with, and I know first-hand the absolute importance of trauma-informed care and deep listening when working with survivors and vulnerable communities. I am humbled by the liminal role I played, and am incredibly grateful I was able to spend time getting to witness just a tiny fraction of their lived reality. The humans I met along the way have left me certain of the importance of opening our hearts, listening with active, curious, receiving ears, and advocating for open borders and dignity for those displaced.

My work has often entailed the privilege of intentionally choosing to work in places people were trying to escape, or are forced to leave, and my social work and public policy degrees are helping me build the tools to do so in more sustainable, critical ways. As an advocate and fieldworker, I am passionate about understanding and addressing forced migration by way of gender. In my daily work with refugees and asylum seekers, I was confronted with case after case of gender-based violence and was able to provide assistance due to my prior training. I know from my past work how important it is to be in the field, hear and shape programs with and for those living them, and learn better ways to be of service for them, from them, with them.

iACT is refugee-led, refugee-centered, and refugee-powered. iACT listens to those with lived experiences, uplifts them, focalizes them. This is critical to humanitarian aid.

To me, public service is ugly, humbling, beautiful, sweaty work. It is addressing cracks in the foundation and attempting to foster smoothness without causing additional harm. It is saying “I hear you” to those who say “We are unwell,” and assisting through policy, advocacy, direct humanitarian aid. It is neither easy nor glamorous. There is no day I dream of doing anything else.

iACT because…as the descendant of refugees, someone once helped my family along their way. I will forever continue to try to pay it forward and make the world a little more empathic, and filled with the soul and humanity that connects us all.


Help iACT continue to do what it does best:

Support refugees in the forgotten corners of the world through soccer and preschool.

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