Benjamin Feldman

Benjamin Feldman

Project Title: Uplifting Lives and Building Trust: How Countries Break the Fragile State Cycle and Improve Governance

Project description: For three decades, Western donor nations and international institutions have invested billions of dollars to strengthen fragile states and improve governance. Yet despite the foreign assistance, many countries remain trapped in cycles of weak institutions, endemic corruption, political violence, and crisis. My thesis uses the most similar case study method to investigate three countries – Rwanda, Lebanon, and Zambia – and argues that poorly governing states must strengthen social cohesion, or a shared sense of purpose and trust, to build more effective institutions and improve governance.

Most important accomplishment: Spearheading the initiative to bring back a version of EARS' peer support service as the organization's Reimagine Task Force Chair; serving as President of the Cornell Speech and Debate Society.

Reflections on the College Scholar Program: Being a College Scholar has defined my academic career at Cornell. I've gained invaluable insight about research methods and processes while immersing myself in my niche, interdisciplinary area of interest. Joining the College Scholar Program was among the best decisions of my collegiate experience.