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Rebecca Mantel 
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During my last semester at George Mason University, I won a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Experience grant. I spent the summer of 2009 in Kigali, Rwanda researching the participation of women in the illicit mineral (Coltan) trade across the DR Congo border.

That fall, I entered the Rice Anthropology PhD program. I began to research Haiti, focusing on medical aid. I was interested in the ideological influences of the long-standing Cuban medical presence in Haiti and the more recent influx of Venezuelan aid, siphoned through the Cuban programs and based on Bolivarianism, the social-political movement/revolution fomented by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Funded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, I began my field research in the summer of 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Initially focusing on the Bolivarian-Cuban aid alliance, I expanded my project’s scope to look at the complex ecology and competitive tensions of emerging, small-scale medical NGOs in the post-disaster context. I conducted the bulk of my research in 2011-12, with a brief exploratory study in Caracas, Venezuela. My essay on rape allegations of UN Peacekeepers in Haiti was featured in the Anthropology News online Series on Violence and Conflict in 2012.

Never one to plant roots, I traveled to Myanmar (Burma) in 2014 to research a potential second project on land rights, then interned at Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C., researching Myanmar’s changing legal landscape. I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate, writing my dissertation, and the co-convener and webmaster for the NGOs and Nonprofits Interest Group of the AAA.

Summary/Research Interests

Micro-NGOs, international humanitarianism, post-disaster temporalities, Haiti, Bolivarianism, Cuban medical aid