Alumna Praises her “Dependable and Reliable” CEU Network

September 29, 2015

“Because of my connection with CEU,” explains Anna Franceschi (One-Year MAPP ‘14), “I had immediate access to this dependable and reliable network.”  Franceschi called on this network most recently just several weeks ago because the organization that she works for in the United States, Circle of Health International (COHI), was trying to figure out how it could best assist Syrian refugees. COHI partners with local organizations around the world to provide maternal and newborn healthcare in crisis situations.  It has been helping Syrian refugee mothers and newborns in Jordan, Syria, and Turkey for five years. 

Franceschi has traveled an interesting path – from an undergraduate degree in political science and sociology from the University of Arkansas, to two years in Croatia teaching English, a brief internship with a law firm when she thought she might want to go to law school, to a public policy program at CEU.  “What attracted me to public policy,” she says, “was that I wanted to be proactive.”  What attracted her to CEU was her eagerness to fill a “huge gaping hole in my knowledge base,” and the chance to study in Europe with an extraordinarily diverse set of classmates.  “Like many Americans, I knew nothing about the EU before I enrolled at CEU,” explains Franceschi.  She credits “fantastic” professors like Marie-Pierre Granger and Uwe Puetter with providing her with “a comprehensive education about the EU.”

Franceschi never dreamed when she began working at COHI in May 2015 that she would be calling on her CEU network to assist with COHI’s Syrian refugee efforts.  “When the situation in Hungary exploded,” she says, “I went on Facebook and asked if anyone had any contacts with active NGOs or nonprofits on the ground, or knew anyone who could provide me with more details about what was happening, and who to contact.”  Franceschi says that the response she got was immediate – and invaluable.  It was because of that response that COHI got in touch with Migration Aid, an organization that CEU supported this past summer providing it with space at the Open Society Archives where it collected and stored donations of non-perishable items. 

It’s not just the reliability of the information that was helpful; so too was the speed with which she received it. For example, Franceschi says that she and her colleagues at COHI heard about the two babies who were born at Keleti train station from her CEU network days before the story was picked up by the international news media.

Franceschi and COHI are continuing to monitor the refugee situation in Europe closely.  “I will be calling on this network again,” she says.  “I know these are people I can count on.”