2015 Participants

Frances Z. Brown, a doctoral student in international relations at Oxford, researches donor stabilization and statebuilding approaches in conflict. She arrived at Oxford after over a decade as an analyst and practitioner at the intersection of conflict and development, including over 5 years on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Mali.  She holds a BA from Yale and an MA from the Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her previous work includes roles with the US Agency for International Development, the Council on Foreign Relations, and US Institute of Peace, the US 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Kabul-based Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, and two years in Beirut, Lebanon.  Her commentaries have appeared in the Washington Post, the LA Times, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, the American Interest, and elsewhere.

Research Project: Statebuilding from the Bottom Up. Foreign Interveners, Local Councils, and Conflict 

Brett Campbell is a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies, University of Trento, Italy. He earned his MA in European and Eurasian Studies from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, and his BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Prior to enrolling in his PhD, Brett was a lecturer at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Political Science and the College of International Relations and Diplomacy Dag Hammarskjöld. He also founded the American Institute in Zagreb.


Research Project: The legitimacy and costs of drone-targeted killings    

Silvia D’Amato graduated from the International Studies at the Department of Political Science of the University of Florence in 2010. She then moved to Brussels for an Internship at the Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (AEDH). In 2013, she received a M.A. in International and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Bologna (Forli Campus). She spent the second year of her M.A. studies as an exchange student at Sciences-Po Paris (M.A. Program in International Security). Since January 2014, she has been a Ph.D. Student in Political Science at the Scuola Normale Superiore - Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences in Florence. Her research interests concern International Relations, Political Violence, Civil Wars, Transnational Terrorism and Counterterrorism strategies.

Research Project: European responses to Islamist terrorism    

Jason Davis is a doctoral student in the political science department at University of Michigan, studying international political economy with a focus on international trade. He is also working towards a master's degree in economics. Before coming to Michigan, he completed a B.A. in economics and political science and an M.A. in political science at University of Toronto. His current work looks at such things as the sources and implications of trade liberalization's dynamic effects on the strength of different interest groups, and the impact of fiscal capacity on states' ability to enact Pareto-improving policy bargains.


Research Project: Political dynamics of trade liberalization  

Allard Duursma is a PhD Candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford with a research interest in international conflict resolution. His dissertation statistically examines the varying effectiveness of Africa and non-African mediation in civil wars in Africa between 1960 and 2012, as well as includes case studies on the various international mediation efforts in Sudan. In 2013, he won the Stuart A. Bremer travel award for best PhD student paper at the annual European Peace Science Conference.

Research Project: The effectiveness of mediation and the role of regional mediators in Africa 

Enrico Fiorentini is a second-year PhD student at the School of International Studies, Trento. His research focuses on international nuclear security negotiations. He has worked at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the IAEA, and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. He holds a BA in European and Transnational Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Trento, and an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Starting this August, he will be a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University. 

Research Project: From weapons to materials: building the global nuclear security regime  

Maurizio Geri is a PhD student and research assistant at Old Dominion University in Virginia. He completed his BA in Political Science and MA in Cultural Studies at the University of Florence. He has worked on peacekeeping and human rights with NGOs in Latin America and South Asia (Peace Brigades International and Nonviolent Peaceforce), and has worked with UNC and the World Learning Institute on conflict resolution and designing democracy. His recent research focuses on democracy. In particular, he is researching the post-Arab Spring transition in Tunisia (for the University of Florence) and political campaigns in Latin America (for the Carter Center in Atlanta).

Research Project: Making democracy work in the XXI century: substantial and meaningful democracies in the Muslim world   

Andrea Ghiselli is a PhD candidate at Fudan University under the guidance of Professor Chen Zhimin, Dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs. He is also a non-resident research assistant in the China-Mediterranean Region program of the Torino World Affairs Institute (T.wai). In addition, he cooperates with thinkINchina, a platform created to bring together Chinese experts, young foreign researchers, and students, in an informal environment to enhance the exchange of ideas and to create networking opportunities. Recently, he participated in the first edition of the European China Talent Program organized by the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin. His research areas are Chinese military diplomacy, in particular the Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTWs), and the China-Middle East/North Africa region relationship.

Research Project: The role of new actors in International Society  

Mattia Grandi is currently enrolled in the 4th year of the PhD Programme in "Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability" at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa, Italy). His research project deals with Hydro-politics and Cooperation in Transboundary Water Management (TWM): Conflicts, Policies and Governance in International River Basins, with a specific focus over the Eastern Nile River Basin. He holds a BA and a MA in Development Studies (University of Bologna, Italy), and has worked and lived in Nicaragua, Mozambique and Ethiopia. His research interests include International Relations, Security Studies, Environmental Studies, and Theories of Power.

Research Project: Hydro-politics and cooperation in transboundary water management  

Eva Jakusova is currently in the final stage of a PhD in Politics (University of Strathclyde) for which she has been awarded a 3-year Scottish Funding Council Studentship. Her thesis inquires under what conditions states cooperate with international criminal courts and tribunals. In addition to international criminal justice and post-conflict recovery her research interests include international organizations, international relations theory and qualitative comparative analysis. She completed a BA in Translation at the University of Vienna in 2003 and an MA in International Affairs (Distinction) at the University of Exeter in 2008. She undertook several internships in the field of international criminal justice and worked as a teaching and research assistant at Strathclyde and Stirling University.

Research Project: State cooperation with international criminal tribunals and courts  

Amit Julka is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore. Prior to this, he worked as a Media Specialist with the US Embassy in New Delhi, and as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He has a Master's degree in South Asian Area Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London and a B.Tech in Computer Engineering from Pune, India. In his spare time, he likes to read poetry in Punjabi and Urdu. 


Research Project: Common sense and foreign policy    

Zaha Kheir Zaha was born in Germany and raised on the Canary Islands. In 2005, she began her BA+MA (Licenciatura) degree in Political Science and Administration at the Complutense University of Madrid. During these five years, she spent several terms at Harvard University, where she discovered her passion for Middle Eastern politics. Before graduating from Madrid, she spent time in Egypt and the Palestinian Territories, learning Arabic and gaining contextual knowledge. Zaha is currently reading for her PhD in Politics at Oxford University, where she studies democracy and nationalism in Israel and Lebanon. She will spend the academic year of 2015/2016 doing field research in association with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Research Project: National sentiment and democratic consolidation. A comparative study of democracy in Palestine and Lebanon

Martin Lestra A graduate in European Governance (Sciences Po Grenoble and University of Kent) and EU International Relations and Diplomatic Studies (College of Europe, Bruges), Martin is now a first-year researcher in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute. Having written on the external dimension of the EU’s immigration and asylum policy as well as the Arab Spring’s impact on the implementation of the EU’s support to public health in Egypt, he now focuses on the behaviour of small Gulf states in international organisations under the supervision of Professor Olivier Roy. 

 Research Project: Why do they cooperate? Small Gulf states and the promotion of global public goods in international institutions 

Nathan Munier is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research is in the area of international political economy, specifically state responses to international agreements. The central question that guides his research is: why do some states have higher levels of compliance and cooperation with the Kimberley Process diamond certification regime, than others? He contends that state responses to international regimes are part of a domestic decision making process in which the preferences of private economic actors, often conflicting, account for much of the variation in state level compliance and the form that international regimes take. To test this theory, he examines in depth four diamond wealthy countries: Angola, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. His findings show that the more dependent states are on private actors in the diamond industry, the more these preferences are reflected in policy decisions. He will use this research to better understand how resource dependence, powerful economic actors and geography influence state responses to international agreements. 
Research Project: Domestic political economy and the regulation of conflict diamonds   

 James Shires is in the first year of a DPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford. He completed an MSc in Global Governance and Public Policy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a BA in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.



Research Project: Creating control. The role of risk management in global cyber-security    

 Max Smeets has an undergraduate degree from University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University, and an M.Phil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, Brasenose College. He is currently pursuing a D.Phil in International Relations at the University of Oxford, St. John’s College, focusing on the transitory nature of cyber weapons and its implications for international society. Max has a diverse professional background, having worked for financial, political, and non-governmental organizations.


 Research Project: The strategic implications of the ‘single use’ of cyber weapons  

 Sarah Smierciak

Sarah Smierciak is a doctoral candidate at Oxford University researching political economy of the Middle East with a focus on Egypt. Her dissertation explores how business-state relations have unfolded against a backdrop of market liberalizing reforms in Egypt during the last decade of the Mubarak regime to today. Using an anthropological lens, she looks at various themes includingparticipation in economic and political arenas across the socioeconomic spectrum, as well as the domestic effects of international trade and ‘development’ initiatives by international organizations. Before beginning the DPhil, she studied history and Middle East studies at Northwestern University for her BA, and completed an MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford. Her interests include writing, reading, documentary making, triathlons, languages, long-form journalism, Sufi Arabic poetry and tahini.

Research Project: Weaving Networks of Exclusion: Business-State Relations and the Re-making of Egypt’s Textile Sector