IDPP Student Spotlight: Harshala Chandraiah

Harshala during an IDPP site visit to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in Spring 2019.

Harshala during an IDPP site visit to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in Spring 2019.

Harshala Chandraiah is a Research Associate at the American University Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP).

She is pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy at American University’ School of Public Affairs. She is concentrating in Environmental Policy. Her major interests include food policy, microcredit systems, and mitigation efforts for tackling climate change.

She previously worked on the World Wildlife Fund’s Crowd Climate Initiative and her passion for public policy research led her to join IDPP.

How would you summarize the focus of your work at IDPP?

At IDPP, I’m using textual analysis approaches to analyze the extent to which the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been implemented among its signatories.

153 UN member states congregate in New York annually to discuss the extent of CRPD implementation in each member states. I have been using these reports to analyze how far the member state have been in successfully implementing CRPD requirements.  

What inspired you to pursue work with IDPP?

My interest in data and its relevance in all fields of research, be it academic, governmental, or private, led to explore all avenues that promote studies and research of this type.

This coupled with my core interest in public policy, especially environmental, led me to pursue work at IDPP. For a sustainable and shared future, it is important to have all voices heard and IDPP gave me the opportunity to do just that.

What do you find most rewarding about your work for IDPP?

Improving accessibility for and the inclusion of persons has shown me the strength of collaboration. Our work at IDPP is intensely collaborative and I’m inspired by the many stakeholders from Asia, Europe, and the United Nations IDPP works with.

Having the ability to converse and collaborate from people of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities is very inspiring and the most gratifying part of my work at IDPP.

What do you hope to pursue after your time at AU/IDPP?

My hope is to pursue research or policy analysis in the field of social or environmental policy.