MGA Peace Studies graduates awarded Hesburgh and Brembeck Fellowships

Author: Kate Chester

The Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame announced the winners of two prestigious awards, the annual Hesburgh Global Fellowship and the inaugural Howard S. Brembeck Fellowship.

Sarah Nanjala, who graduated in December 2022 with a master of global affairs degree, was named the fourth recipient of the Hesburgh Global Fellowship. Named after the late Notre Dame President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., the two-year fellowship provides funding for a graduate of the Master of Global Affairs program who pursues work related to peace, justice, development, or other related fields. Funding subsidizes entry-level employment, commensurate with experience, with partnering organizations and agencies.

Anna Romandash, also a December 2022 master of global affairs graduate, was honored as the first Howard S. Brembeck Fellow. The newly established award enables aspiring scholars to develop practical skills in the field of international peace and security. The one-year fellowship, open only to MGA graduates, honors the memory of Howard S. Brembeck, founder of the Fourth Freedom Forum, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving national security through economic development, commerce and diplomacy, and not military power.

“It’s a privilege to announce the winners of these fellowships,” said Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School. “Sarah and Anna are exemplary scholar-practitioners who apply interdisciplinary research strategies for sustainable peace in the world. I have no doubt that they will serve as a force for good as they begin their post-Notre Dame careers.”

A native of Kenya, Nanjala will begin her work with UN Women in Geneva, Switzerland in April. As an intergovernmental support and liaison intern for the organization, Nanjala can exert strategic influence on gender equality to enhance global efforts for women and girls. In her new role she will work closely with the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review in intergovernmental engagement, gender-sensitive research and analysis, information and logistical support.

“Thanks to the Hesburgh Global Fellowship, I can pursue my passions as part of my new role in Geneva,” said Nanjala. “These include working with and for women and children; human rights advocacy; diplomacy and mediation; evidence-based policy development; and gendered peacebuilding.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity this award has given me,” she said.

Nanjala, who earned a concentration in international peace studies as part of the master of global affairs, masterfully juggled academics at Notre Dame with professional work in peacebuilding and advocating for women’s rights. Nanjala served as a research assistant for SHARE, a $40 million cooperative project through USAID, from February 2021 until late 2022. She simultaneously earned political affairs experience as an intern for the Peacebuilding Commission, part of the United Nations Department for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in New York, from January to July 2022.

Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Nanjala was a communications specialist in Kenya, working with the Centre for Strategic Development with the World Bank. Before this, she was a journalist with Nation Media Group, and a reporter and editor with the Senate as part of Kenya’s Parliament, where she produced reports on Senate House and Committee proceedings.

As a Brembeck Fellow, Romandash will work with Notre Dame Professor Emeritus David Cortright to promote the New Paradigm Project. The effort uses the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War to assess the costs of that conflict and consider more humane and effective approaches to security and development as part of a new paradigm for U.S. foreign policy. Romandash will provide research support to write and distribute publications, and programmatic support to organize public events on issues related to the war’s anniversary.

As a master of global affairs student, Romandash also earned a concentration in international peace studies. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, she beginning the master of global affairsarriving at Notre Dame, Romandash was a researcher and an award-winning journalist from Ukraine. Democratization processes, freedom movements and human rights violations across Eastern Europe and Central Asia are some of the topics she’s researched. As a reporter, Romandash has written extensively on Belarus and Russia’s dictatorships, and on Ukraine’s relationships with the European Union and the United States. Her areas of interest include international security, sanctions and transitional justice. As a professional advisor at United Europe, Romandash writes on Europe’s defense and response to human rights violations and crises.

“I appreciate that the Brembeck Fellowship focuses on the intersection of foreign policy with peace and justice,” said Romandash. “My hope is to expand my knowledge thanks to this fellowship, so that I may make a meaningful contribution to this project and overall, to help revise foreign policy in an effort to create a more peace-oriented world.”

The Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs program prepares students for skilled, effective leadership and careers in government, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector. The program integrates rigorous coursework, close engagement with policymakers, multi-disciplinary faculty and students from around the world, and extended field work around the globe.