Meet the Class of 2024
International Peace Studies Concentration
The International Peace Studies concentration in the Master of Global Affairs builds sustainable peace and justice through careers in policy analysis and political change, government and organizational leadership, and conflict analysis and transformation. This new cohort of students join a global network of more than 600 master’s graduates addressing violent conflict and peace, human rights and human development, environmental sustainability, and related issues. Students in this concentration are considered Kroc Scholars.
Eskandar Ataallah (Syria) graduated from the University of Tishreen with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He also completed an intensive course on nonviolence and human rights through the Academic University College of Non-Violence and Human Rights in Lebanon and has worked for the United Nations Development Program’s Social Cohesion and Gender Justice program.
After the 2011 crisis in Syria, Eskandar began his humanitarian work as a field monitor with a local nonprofit, the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. There he was promoted to field monitor, to head of monitors, and finally to community center coordinator. Eskandar speaks Arabic as his native language, English as a second language, and has started studying Spanish. He plans to play a fundamental role in helping countries that are suffering from crises to achieve peace. As a master of global affairs student, Eskandar is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Matthew Bocanumenth (United States and Colombia) recently served as a program associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, where he supported human rights research and advocacy on matters related to Colombia and the US-Mexico border. His work helped monitor Colombia’s peace process with a specialized focus on Afro-descendant, Indigenous, women’s, and LGBTQ+ rights. In 2021, he volunteered with Annunciation House and the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, Texas to help provide a safe, orderly, and humane welcome to thousands of asylum seekers affected by the Remain in Mexico policy.
Matthew holds a bachelor’s degree in international and area studies and political science from New College of Florida. His undergraduate thesis examined an urgent issue for the peace process in Colombia and for post-conflict stabilization in general: collectively reintegrating former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia into civil society. Matthew’s research interests include gender-inclusive peacebuilding, transitional justice, and human mobility. As a master of global affairs student, he is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Halkano Boru (Kenya) is a peace and conflict prevention practitioner with extensive experience in the support, development, and implementation of governance, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention, including projects preventing and countering violent extremism targeting Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia (Oromia region). Halkano graduated from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology with a BS in disaster management and international diplomacy. He has served as peace and cohesion cluster coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme in Kenya, where he worked to implement the Deepening Foundations for Peacebuilding and Community Security program with government agencies.
Halkano is skilled and experienced in conducting participatory research on natural resource management, conflict, governance, and violent extremism. He is also an alumnus of the YALI Regional Leadership Center, East Africa program, a US Department of State initiative that trains young African leaders. At the Keough School, Halkano plans to study the intersection of violent extremism, non-state armed groups, organized crimes, migration, illicit financial flows, and state fragility. As a master of global affairs student, Halkano is the recipient of a Thomas D. McCloskey Peace Fellowship.
Noha Elsebaie (Egypt), holds a master’s degree in gender and development from Cairo University. She has more than seven years of experience managing and evaluating humanitarian aid and peacebuilding projects. Most recently she worked as a senior project officer in the gender, peacebuilding, and partnership department at Catholic Relief Services. In that role, she led the technical implementation of interreligious community action projects with the goal of reducing conflicts and creating a peaceful environment in Upper Egypt while taking gender into account. Noha also worked as field coordinator at the Caritas Egypt Refugees office on a project in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency to improve socioeconomic conditions for Syrian refugee sin Egypt.
Noha is deeply committed to women’s empowerment and works to inspire more women to actively contribute to peace, conflict resolution, and state-building. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Rawand Faeq (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) is an open-source research analyst. He has conducted open-source intelligence and human intelligence research for various stabilization projects.
Rawand developed his analytical skills and political insight by working at Rudaw Media Network, one of the. Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s media outlets. His latest research project focused on understanding the information environment of the 2021 Iraqi National Election. As a master of global affairs student, Rawand is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Adeela Firdous (India) graduated from the School of Law at the University of Kashmir in 2019. Three of her academic papers were selected by the Association for Asian Studies for presentation at conferences in the USA with the support of the International Exchange Award and the Henry Luce Foundation Award. At the Keough School, Adeela plans to focus on strategic peacebuilding so that she can more effectively engage in grassroots peace and justice projects. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Ciera Griffin (United States) holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her undergraduate research focused on post-conflict reconciliation, modern-day genocide, and the impacts of international peacekeeping. She also served as a Charlotte Research Scholar, vice president of Model United Nations, and International House’s citizens diplomacy intern. Ciera joined the Peace Corps after college as an education volunteer, specializing in primary English literacy, community development, and monitoring and evaluation.
Ciera began working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after her Peace Corps service was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ciera focused on improving equity and accessibility within the EPA’s hiring and outreach practices, as well as developing gender equity and career development educational programming. At the Keough School, Ciera will return to her research roots and examine the relationship between human rights policy, international peacekeeping, and international inaction. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Nasiba Hamidy (Afghanistan) holds a BA in law and political science and has served as an assistant secretary to Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani. She worked on a project focused on women’s inclusion in peacemaking, which was developed and implemented through collaboration of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan.
Since high school, Nasiba has volunteered for social and cultural initiatives across the country. She founded educational programs and organized social activities for girls in her hometown and Kabul and also established a library and literacy program for youth. As a master of global affairs student, Nasiba is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Aung Myo Hein (Myanmar) is a development and peacebuilding professional dedicated to helping Burma/Myanmar become a more peaceful, democratic and developed nation. As the social cohesion program manager at Search for Common Ground from 2018 to 2022, he oversaw and implemented projects to prevent conflicts and build social cohesion in different parts of the country, including his home state, Rakhine, where he sought the resolution of conflicts between Rakhine and Rohingya communities. From 2015 to 2017, he served as the program development officer for the USAID Office of Transitional Initiatives and supported local civil society organizations and nongovernmental organizations in developing projects on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
Aung Myo has experience with the Early Warning and Early Response system, facilitating interfaith and inter-communal dialogues, countering mis/disinformation and hate speech, and digital peacebuilding. He seeks to build social cohesion through better governance and increase public participation in law reform and peace processes. At the Keough School, he plans to learn more theory and build practical skills to prevent further conflict and find resolutions that will create durable peace in his homeland. As a master of global affairs student, Aung Myo is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Fatima Faisal Khan (Pakistan) holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Lahore University of Management Sciences. She has worked at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan with international donors, government officials, and legislators on two projects centered on freedom of expression, association, and religion in Pakistan. She also established a network of 3,000 human rights defenders across the country, training them on their rights and developing resources for them. She contributed to fact-finding reports and policy briefs for the organization and authored a chapter of The State of Human Rights in 2021 in Pakistan.
Fatima has been an active participant, volunteer, and organizer for the Aurat (Women’s) March in her city and supports left-wing movements for students’ rights and against enforced disappearances. As a student, she led Project KIN, a campaign in collaboration with Peer2Peer and Facebook, aimed at eradicating ethnic stereotypes in Pakistan. Fatima is passionate about social justice issues, aims to use technology as a tool for interstate and intrastate peacebuilding, and hopes to study the implications of a virtual global landscape on rights-based advocacy. As a master of global affairs student, Fatima is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Aleithia Low (Singapore) most recently ran the communications team for Yara International's digital agriculture team. Prior to that, she managed the philanthropic activity of a family office, to support anti-trafficking, climate resilience and sustainable livelihood initiatives across Southeast Asia. She also has experience in impact investing, agriculture, environmental and arts education.
Aleithia graduated from Yale-National University of Singapore College’s inaugural class with a BA and honors in arts and humanities. As a Social Impact Fellow, she conducted research on the legacy of war in Vietnam and its portrayal in photography and literature. After graduation, she co-founded YNPACt, an alumni network that promotes nonprofit and social impact work.
Aleithia’s professional goal is to establish more equitable funding ecosystems and organizational structures, particularly for environmental nonprofits in Southeast Asia. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Tes Osborne (United Kingdom) mostly recently worked on a research project funded by the European Union that explored the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism across the Middle East, Maghreb, and the Balkans. Her extensive professional experience in the Middle East includes acting as the World Vision North West Syria Emergency Response program officer; independently setting up an education program for children in the West Bank; working with the Palestinian Circus School to promote theater and the arts as a tool for conflict transformation; and supporting youth leadership for a Jordanian peacebuilding organization. She has also volunteered with a safe house in rural Romania, a health-based initiative in India, an outreach program for asylum seekers in the United Kingdom, and a community livelihood project in Ghana.
Tes graduated with first-class honors from the University of Sussex and studied Chinese philosophy and culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Zakira Rasooli (Afghanistan) is an Afghan human rights activist who most recently worked as a country representative for iProbono, a legal organization strengthening civil society, representing people in need and advocating for justice. In 2019, she co-founded Afghanistan Unites, a grassroots conflict transformation youth movement that promotes nonviolence and peace. Zakira has seven years of experience working for peace and women and children’s rights in Afghanistan with national and international nongovernmental organizations and institutions. She has also worked as a researcher on peacebuilding, security challenges, and women’s participation in peacebuilding in Afghanistan.
Zakira graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration and a minor in law from the American University of Afghanistan. At the Keough School, Zakira aims to deepen her knowledge and skills in conflict resolution. As a master of global affairs student, she is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Asma Rassem (Yemen) was most recently a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund. She gathered research for the Prevention and Protection Working Group, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations in Washington, DC, that are focused on shifting US foreign policy away from conflict and towards peacebuilding. In this role, she focused on peacebuilding missions in Myanmar/Burma, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Colombia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
A native of Hodeidah, Yemen, Asma came to the United States in 2014 and served as a young ambassador for Yemen in Colorado through the US Department of State Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad exchange program. In 2016, she participated in multiple peacebuilding and intercultural conflict resolution workshops through the Community College Initiative Scholarship Program.
Asma graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in Arabic & Middle Eastern studies and religious studies. As an intern with UNRWA USA, she conducted research for the first nationwide virtual Gaza-5k, which raised money to provide mental health support for Palestinian refugees in Gaza and those who were affected by the Lebanon explosion of 2020. As a master of global affairs student, Asma is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.
Angela Azimah Seidu (Ghana) worked at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Ghana for more than five years, providing technical support for the implementation of livelihood, youth empowerment, migration, gender, and peacebuilding interventions. She has represented CRS on regional platforms, facilitating discussion on issues of gender, youth integration, and peacebuilding in Africa. Angela has more than seven years of experience in community mobilization, group facilitation, academic and community research, youth engagement, and community development interventions. She also has vast experience in the implementation and management of migration and youth-led employment programs in West Africa.
In 2017, Angela completed her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences at the University for Development Studies. She is passionate about rural community development, gender equity, peacebuilding, and livelihood opportunities for vulnerable youth. As a master of global affairs student, Angela is the recipient of a Kroc Institute Fellowship.