Kyla Korvne

The Global Citizen
Former Pace University student, Kyla Korvne

Peacekeeping and diplomacy in Kosovo. Post-genocide restoration in Rwanda. Female empowerment in India. Building learning programs in Nepal, Nicaragua, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi. This is a glimpse of the work Kyla Korvne ’15 has been doing around the world.

Currently the global learning manager at buildOn, an organization aimed at building a better future for America’s youth while building schools in some of the world’s poorest countries, Korvne travels more than half the year to Nepal, Nicaragua, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi, evaluating the learning needs in each country and building the global learning department/program from the ground up.

But Senegal, where she spends the other half of the year, is her home and where it began during a study abroad trip as a Pace student. There, she interned at the Senegalese Committee for Human Rights and conducted research on maternal health to contribute to reports and briefings for the Senegalese government to encourage changes in policy.

“When I studied abroad in Senegal, it was a huge turning point for me. I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the country, its people, and their language,” says Korvne.

That experience, coupled with an intensive summer school program in Kosovo, where she studied peacekeeping, diplomacy, justice, and post-conflict development, led Korvne to change her plans—from doing an internship at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to going to another developing country.

Enter Rwanda. At the School for International Training, Korvne took classes on post-genocide restoration and peace-building; Kinyarwanda, the country’s language; and conducted research on female social empowerment in the post-genocide era.

Her project looked into the ways gender norms have shifted positively in the country, which is now 70% women and has seen women take on the “breadwinner” role.

“It was emotionally and intellectually difficult. History is so present in every moment of your day,” says Korvne. “The project made me realize that I wanted the rest of my work to be centered around women and gender.”

After graduation, Korvne travelled to Himachal Pradesh, India, where she worked at EduCARE India, a nonprofit NGO with principles of community and sustainable development through applied research, social entrepreneurship, and volunteer action. As the project manager for EduCARE’s female empowerment program, she curated and conducted workshops for women ages 8–65 years covering a range of topics including sexual health, gender equality, waste management, body image, and disaster preparedness.

That year, Korvne was awarded a prestigious Fulbright award, which took her back to Senegal to design a research project exploring the pathways to political empowerment for women in rural villages who participated in the three-year Tostan community empowerment program. For her work, Tostan nominated her for the International Center for Research on Women's 2017 Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research.

For Korvne, the study abroad trip to Senegal was what changed her life and continues to inspire her to make a difference around the world, something she says is very much a part of who she is.

“I’ve always been a super, super independent person for better or for worse. I never let my parents help me put my clothes on. What that turned into was a real willingness to go out on my own. I learned adaptability, and being adaptable is more important than any other qualities a person can have,” says Korvne. “Studying in Senegal helped me realize where I wanted to be and it made me realize I was capable of that.”

Former Pace University student, Kyla Korvne

Peacekeeping and diplomacy in Kosovo. Post-genocide restoration in Rwanda. Female empowerment in India. Building learning programs in Nepal, Nicaragua, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi. This is a glimpse of the work Kyla Korvne ’15 has been doing around the world.

Currently the global learning manager at buildOn, an organization aimed at building a better future for America’s youth while building schools in some of the world’s poorest countries, Korvne travels more than half the year to Nepal, Nicaragua, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi, evaluating the learning needs in each country and building the global learning department/program from the ground up.

But Senegal, where she spends the other half of the year, is her home and where it began during a study abroad trip as a Pace student. There, she interned at the Senegalese Committee for Human Rights and conducted research on maternal health to contribute to reports and briefings for the Senegalese government to encourage changes in policy.

“When I studied abroad in Senegal, it was a huge turning point for me. I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the country, its people, and their language,” says Korvne.

That experience, coupled with an intensive summer school program in Kosovo, where she studied peacekeeping, diplomacy, justice, and post-conflict development, led Korvne to change her plans—from doing an internship at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to going to another developing country.

Enter Rwanda. At the School for International Training, Korvne took classes on post-genocide restoration and peace-building; Kinyarwanda, the country’s language; and conducted research on female social empowerment in the post-genocide era.

Her project looked into the ways gender norms have shifted positively in the country, which is now 70% women and has seen women take on the “breadwinner” role.

“It was emotionally and intellectually difficult. History is so present in every moment of your day,” says Korvne. “The project made me realize that I wanted the rest of my work to be centered around women and gender.”

After graduation, Korvne travelled to Himachal Pradesh, India, where she worked at EduCARE India, a nonprofit NGO with principles of community and sustainable development through applied research, social entrepreneurship, and volunteer action. As the project manager for EduCARE’s female empowerment program, she curated and conducted workshops for women ages 8–65 years covering a range of topics including sexual health, gender equality, waste management, body image, and disaster preparedness.

That year, Korvne was awarded a prestigious Fulbright award, which took her back to Senegal to design a research project exploring the pathways to political empowerment for women in rural villages who participated in the three-year Tostan community empowerment program. For her work, Tostan nominated her for the International Center for Research on Women's 2017 Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research.

For Korvne, the study abroad trip to Senegal was what changed her life and continues to inspire her to make a difference around the world, something she says is very much a part of who she is.

“I’ve always been a super, super independent person for better or for worse. I never let my parents help me put my clothes on. What that turned into was a real willingness to go out on my own. I learned adaptability, and being adaptable is more important than any other qualities a person can have,” says Korvne. “Studying in Senegal helped me realize where I wanted to be and it made me realize I was capable of that.”