Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Master of Public Administration, May 2010
Lauren Servin has been working on alternative models for post-conflict development since 2006, specializing in South Sudan. Lauren is currently the South Sudan country manager for a Dutch organization called SPARK working on SME development with a focus on youth and higher education. Her work in South Sudan involves developing agro-enterprises that can begin to build local food related value chains, which are virtually non-existent in South Sudan. The goal is to promote food security while increasing youth employment so that young people become productive members of society rather than contribute to returned conflict. Through these programs, they also work on building and strengthening the business community and building an enabling business environment through civil society and government. SPARK will be running a pilot business plan process in Juba in Sept/Oct of 2012.
Lauren continues to volunteer with members of the Sudanese Diaspora on different programs, such as the Sudan Development Foundation, which focuses on community health. Lauren was a Co-Founder of the New Sudan Education Initiative (NESEI), now known as AfricaELI, and Project Manager of its start-up school project. In 2008, she and a small team of South Sudanese and Americans constructed and opened a secondary school geared at improving the standard of education in South Sudan. The foundation of this school was based on the principals of social business and Lauren created income-generating projects, such as a school farm, and arranged the tuition structure. She was also responsible for hiring teachers and recruiting students, along with overseeing a variety of challenging logistical & security issues needed to accomplish work in South Sudan's post-conflict environment.Through this work, Lauren has filmed and edited several short documentary pieces used for organizational fundraising. The films have also been shown at film festivals and on speaking tours across the country.
Lauren graduated from the University of Vermont in 2005 and received her MPA from NYU Wagner in 2010.