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Kori Bartko at ACCORD internship program

Student Kori Bartko attended The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) internship program in Durban, South Africa this summer. She describes how her training as a history student here at Loyola helped facilitate her work there.

“In the summer of 2023, I studied abroad in South Africa on a Diplomacy, International Affairs, and Politics Internship program. Centered around excursions and classroom lectures, the program also provided the opportunity to work for local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in KwaZulu-Natal, a province in coastal South Africa. While there, I worked for The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) located in the city of Durban. At ACCORD, I worked in the research department and learned techniques and methods for collecting and producing research. With this training, I completed assignments that utilized and enhanced my research skills. The opportunity to work with ACCORD was partially facilitated by my training as a student in the Loyola History Department. When I submitted my resume, I included a copy of a research project that I completed for a Loyola history course titled Sport and Society in 20th Century Africa. The course, taught by Professor Dawson McCall, helped me to reflect my passion and interest in conflict resolution, peacebuilding tactics, and research. In the course, I produced a research paper exploring the relationship between sports participation and peacebuilding in the West African countries of Liberia and Ivory Coast. The director of the research department at ACCORD was intrigued by my work and put me in contact with the African Solidarity Campaign (AfriSoC), a non-profit based in Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. AfriSoC does a range of work, such as the promotion of conflict and/or dispute resolution, combating violence against women and children, and discouraging discrimination. In order to do this, AfriSoC comprises a number of initiatives, such as social cohesion programs including round-table discussions coupled with sports, like netball and soccer. In addition, AfriSoC promotes capacity building through community training and workshops, as well as lobbying, advocacy, and social support. My experience in the Loyola History Department’s Sport and Society in 20th Century Africa course equipped me with knowledge about sports used as peacebuilding tools in different African contexts and served as the foundation of the productive conversation that I was able to have with the founder of AfriSoC. This course not only intrigued me while in the classroom but also while in South Africa, where I found myself inspired by seeing sports integrated into typical everyday life and peacebuilding initiatives.”