Following Nomads


Emilia Tjernström '06 won a 2006-07 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which includes a $25,000 stipend for independent exploration and travel outside of the United States and outside her home country, Sweden.

By S.C.

Emilia Tjernstrom '06
Photo by Fred Field
Her proposal, "Nomad's Land: Development, Conservation, and Nomads," will take her to Mali, Mauritania, Argentina, and Mongolia to survey nomadic herders caught between the forces of development and conservation.

"Nomads who have prospered for generations in hostile environments are struggling to cope with outsiders' conflicting interests," Tjernström says in an abstract of her proposal. "Migration routes are being cut off by park borders and mining claims, forcing nomads to move from ancestral lands."

Part of the impetus for her proposal was research she conducted in Mongolian national parks last summer, supported by a Freeman Foundation grant awarded through Colby. She also cited her research documenting the social contradictions of a developing socialist society, in Cuba, and a Jan Plan in Morocco, where she worked with street children in Tangiers. "I believe that it is essential to meet those who I theorize about," she explained.

Tjernström, an economics major, came to Colby from Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway. She is Colby's 58th Watson Fellow. Since 1970-71 the College has had at least one Watson Fellow each year.

To be eligible for a Watson, a student must be a senior and must be nominated by one of 48 colleges that participate in the program. This year 50 Watson fellowships were awarded. For more information on the Watson program visit

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