LeChartre Wins Second Place in Shaheen 3MT Competition

Kroc Institute Ph.D. candidate, Joséphine Lechartre (peace studies and political science), won second place in the annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, which took place Feb. 28. She was one of nine finalists competing for $4,500 in prize money.

Lechartre is a Kellogg Institute Doctoral Student Affiliate and a research affiliate of the Kellogg Institute's Notre Dame Violence and Transitional Justice Lab (V-TJLab) who specializes in the study of transitional justice policies, civilian victimization in wars, and post-conflict political behavior.

“I am delighted, but not surprised, that Joséphine was so successful in the 3MT competition,” said Ernesto Verdeja, associate professor of peace studies and global politics, and a member of Lechartre’s doctoral committee. “Her research is methodologically rigorous, conceptually sophisticated, and driven by an ethical commitment to make the world better. Joséphine shows how peace research speaks to a wide audience about the most pressing issues of our day, and we at Kroc are proud of her enormous accomplishment.”

Lechartre’s presentation was based on part of her doctoral research. Her full dissertation investigates how the survival decisions that civilians make during genocide condition the emergence of new political cultures that drive political participation after the end of violence. For this competition, Lechartre focused specifically on Guatemalan refugees who fled genocide and spent 14 years in refugee camps in Mexico.

She showed that the refugees who became active participants in the administration of their camps developed strong democratic political cultures. Those who had only limited input in camp affairs did not, and they experienced social dislocation.

“This has important consequences,” explained Lechartre. “The first group is today highly active in democratic politics, whilst the second group has remained marginalized, with lagging economic development and with levels of social dislocation leading to a rise in criminality.”

"Joséphine's accomplishment demonstrates the value of the interdisciplinary training students gain at the Kroc Institute,” said Kathryn Sawyer Vidrine, assistant director for doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute. “3MT challenges students to take a narrow academic concern and convince a broad audience why it is important - exactly the thing we emphasize at Kroc by combining the normative field of peace studies with disciplinary approaches in our joint Ph.D. programs. We are proud that students like Joséphine can bring their high-impact work to the greater community through events like 3MT."

“Preparing for 3MT has been a very rewarding experience,” shared Lechartre. “I have learned professional development skills that will enhance my networking abilities by communicating my research in a short, effective manner, and I gained more confidence in public speaking, which will enhance the quality of future job talks and public-facing activities.”

For her second-place win, Lechartre was awarded $1,500 in prize money.

Sponsored by the Graduate School, Graduate Student Government, and the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development at the University of Notre Dame, 3MT is an academic competition that challenges graduate students to explain their research to a broad audience in three minutes or less, offering the broader community the chance to learn about cutting-edge research at the university.