Visiting Research Fellows

Norbert Adjusted

Norbert Koppensteiner (Spring 2022) is a peace researcher and freelance facilitator. Having previously served as a Senior Lecturer at the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Innsbruck, his facilitation especially focuses on breath, voice, and movement. He has extensive experience in teaching peace studies internationally.Koppensteiner is the author of Transrational Peace Research and Elicitive Facilitation (2020) and co-editor of the Palgrave International Handbook of Peace Studies: A Cultural Perspective (2014). He obtained his Ph.D. from the European Graduate School in Switzerland.

As visiting research fellow, Koppensteiner will be advancing two lines of research. He will explore the art of facilitation for peace and transforming conflicts, with a special focus on embodied approaches. This will be combined with methodological and epistemological research into comprehensive ways of knowing. He will seek to develop corresponding teaching formats to fit these topics.

Luis Pena

Luis Peña Reyes (Spring 2022) holds a Ph.D in Social Geography from Université Rennes 2 in France. He is a lecturer and researcher on the spatiality of peace and reconciliation at the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. He also serves as Vice President of the International Association of Reconciliation Studies. While at the Kroc Institute, Luis will explore the uneven socio-spatial process of building sustainable peace. He will conduct an intersectional spacial analysis of the patterns and trends of implementing the Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace signed by the Colombian government and the FARC-EP. 


Lisa Schirch (2021-22 academic year) is the Richard G. Starmann Sr. Visiting Professorship Chair in Peace Studies. She is also a Senior Research Fellow for the Toda Peace Institute, directing the Social Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding program. 

A former Fulbright Fellow in East and West Africa, Schirch is the author of eleven books focused on locally-led peacebuilding, including Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning, Local Ownership in Security, The Ecology of Violent Extremism, Synergizing Nonviolent Action & Peacebuilding, and Social Media Impacts on Conflict and Democracy

Schirch’s role at the Kroc Institute will include teaching and writing a book on digital peacebuilding and peacetech, continuing her work on peace process design in Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine, and researching links between technology, media, climate peace processes, and violent extremism.

Lydia Schoeppner

Lydia Schoeppner (Spring 2022) received her Ph.D. (2020) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. She is a Teaching Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College, a college of Canadian Mennonite University at the University of Winnipeg. Her article “The role of international organizations in dealing with sovereignty conflicts in the Arctic” in the Journal for Peace and Justice Studies received the Regional Studies Association’s 2018 Ph.D. Student Award for original and outstanding contributions in the field of regional studies. Schoeppner works with Inuit in Greenland and Canada to learn about Inuit peacemaking.

During her time as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Kroc Institute, she will edit and expand her research to further explore the effects of contemporary conflicts in the Arctic on Inuit as well as Inuit local and institutional responses. She especially focuses on the history and work of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the implications of culturally-relevant metaphors for learning about Inuit peacemaking past and present.


Benjamin J. Spatz (Spring 2022) is a scholar-practitioner focused on conflict and conflict management. He is a Research Fellow at the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and was previously a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. He has received awards from the United States Institute of Peace, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Eisenhower Institute, and Harvard University. As an internationally-recognized expert in sanctions, Spatz was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to serve as a member of the United Nations Panel of Experts on Liberia.

As a Visiting Fellow, Spatz will continue his research on elite bargaining in fragile states and the implications that various intra-elite bargaining tactics and strategies have for war, peace, and institutional development.

More information on visiting research fellowships »