Visiting Research Fellows
Roddy Brett (Academic Year 2022-23) is an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Bristol. His research focuses on the causes, consequences, and legacies of political violence (particularly mass collective violence), and how states, societies, and international actors move on from protracted episodes of egregious violence. His research addresses when, how, why, and to what effect peace negotiations and transitional justice mechanisms are instituted and whether, if at all, said processes and mechanisms shape the path of protracted mass violence towards intergroup coexistence and reconciliation. He has extensive experience as a practitioner and policymaker, having worked for the United Nations and other governmental and non-governmental bodies.
During his time at the Kroc Institute, he will work on two projects: conducting original research with the Peace Accords Matrix on the place of reconciliation in peace agreements, and completing his monograph, The Path Towards Reconciliation after Colombia’s War: Understanding the Roles of Victims and Perpetrators, based on an investigation he led for the United Nations in 2015 on the role of the so-called victims’ delegations in the Santos-FARC-EP peace talks in Colombia.
Erica Dávila (Academic Year 2022-23) is Professor of Educational Leadership at Lewis University. She has been teaching and writing curriculum for over 20 years in Chicago and Urbana, Illinois, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently she works with aspiring and practicing school and community leaders working towards their doctorate in education in ways that cultivate justice-centered policies and practices in the field of education.
During her time at Kroc, Dávila aims to amplify the work of women of color activists within the Chicago Young Lords and other activist groups who held educational justice at the forefront. This book project is an interdisciplinary work of critical educational scholarship that resides at the nexus of critical race feminism, historical memory, and political education.
Jenna Knapp (Fall 2022) is the 2022 Alumni Visiting Fellow. She is a peacebuilding practitioner who has been working in El Salvador for the past decade on various trauma healing and community organizing initiatives. Much of her work has centered on supporting youth experiencing incarceration in processing and sharing their stories, in an effort to shift toward restorative responses to violence in an otherwise highly punitive setting.
She graduated from the Kroc Institute Master's in International Peace Studies in 2016 and has since been working to expand and sustain the community peacebuilding organization Nueva Esperanza, which she founded and co-coordinates in El Salvador.
She will spend her time at the Institute writing a narrative storytelling book designed to translate her twelve years of experiences in close proximity to ongoing violence in El Salvador into a tool that will serve peacebuilding pedagogy and practice.
Norbert Koppensteiner (Academic Year 2022-23) 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.
Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs (Spring 2023) is Senior Specialist on Armed Groups and Peace Processes at the Folk Bernadotte Academy (FBA) in Sweden, a governmental agency working in the field of peace, security and development. She is also affiliated associate professor in peace and conflict research with Uppsala University.
As a practitioner, she is mostly working with support to peace negotiations, security transitions and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes. Her research focuses on issues such as the political reintegration of both non-state armed actors and former military leaders after civil wars, spoilers in peace processes, conflict resolution in the context of Islamist armed conflicts, the concept of peace, military reintegration after war, conditions for post-conflict democratization, and electoral violence. She has carried out field research in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Burundi, and the Philippines. Her latest book is the co-edited volume, Violence in African Elections : Between Big Man Politics and Democratisation (London: Zed Books, 2018).
While at the Kroc Institute, Söderberg Kovacs will work on a monograph on the transformation of armed actors into political parties, drawing on descriptive data from a newly completed database of rebel-to party transformations, 1975-2020, her previous work on this topic, and field work material from the Philippines.
Isis Nusair (Fall 2022) is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and International Studies at Denison University. She is the co-editor, with Rhoda Kanaaneh, of Displaced at Home: Ethnicity and Gender Among Palestinians in Israel, and translator of Ever Since I Did Not Die by Ramy Al-Asheq. Isis is the co-writer and co-director, with Laila Farah, of Weaving the Maps: Tales of Survival and Resistance. Her research focuses on Palestinians in Israel, Iraqi women refugees in Jordan and the United States; Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Germany; and Syrian television drama post-2011.
She serves on the editorial committee of the International Feminist Journal of Politics, and previously served on the editorial committee of Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) and as a researcher on women’s human rights in the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. She is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Isis is a member of the Palestinians and Transnational Feminist Collectives. She is a 1994 graduate of the Kroc Institute's Master's in International Peace Studies Program.
During her time at the Kroc Institute, Nusair will focus on completing her upcoming book, Permanent Transients: Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan and the USA.
Nilofar Sakhi (Fall 2022) is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and has been teaching courses as a Professorial Lecturer of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She has also served as course coordinator and instructor at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute and as Director of Policy and Diplomacy at McColm & Company. Sakhi also taught at George Mason University and American University of Afghanistan.
Sakhi has been widely involved in assisting peace, development, and counterinsurgency policy formulation. She has served as a Country Director of the Open Society Foundation-Afghanistan office and an Executive Director at the American University of Afghanistan. A former Fulbright fellow, Sakhi has written extensively on various aspects of traditional and nontraditional security, geopolitics of peace, peacemaking and peacebuilding processes, and human security. Her recent book is Human Security and Agency: Reframing Productive Power in Afghanistan.
As a visiting research fellow at the Kroc, Sakhi will be advancing two research areas: focusing on regional security with a case study of Afghanistan and the South and Central Asia region, and exploring the domestic and external incongruencies that impact regional peace diplomacy.
Tecla Namachanja Wanjala (Spring - Winter 2023) is a team lead for the Shalom Centre for Counselling and Development (SCCODEV), a local NGO in Kenya supporting social healing among communities affected by violent conflicts. She is also one of the eminent members of Kenya's National Peace and Mediation Team (NPMT).
Wanjala is a globally-recognized peacebuilder, trauma healing, and transitional justice specialist. A nominee for the 1,000 Women for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, she is also a recipient of the 2019 Peace Builder of the Year Award offered by the Center for Justice and Peace of Eastern Mennonite University.
In her most recent engagement, she was contracted as an expert and advisor to USAID/KEA's Democracy, Governance, Peace, and Security (DGPS) office, advising on election conflict, electoral violence, conflict prevention and mitigation, and early warning mechanisms during the 2022 Kenya general elections.
During her research fellowship, she will spend time to reflect on her work as Acting Chairperson of TJRC and write a journal article giving insights into Kenya's turbulent Truth-Seeking process as the country tried to confront her painful past so as to heal and reconcile her people.
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