Kroc Institute welcomes eight visiting research fellows, scholars for the 2023-24 academic year

Author: Lisa Gallagher

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Research fellows and scholars from around the world are arriving at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies to begin their terms as visiting research fellows on campus for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Kroc Institute’s Visiting Research Fellows Program brings outstanding scholars focused on peace research to the University of Notre Dame for up to two semesters. Fellows actively integrate their research with ongoing Institute research initiatives and participate in events and lectures as part of the Institute’s learning community.

“Each year the Kroc Institute welcomes a class of visiting fellows whose research and practice complements the work of our faculty and students to advance the field of peace studies,” said Erin B. Corcoran, executive director of the Kroc Institute.

“This program is unique in that it provides the fellows dedicated time to focus on their scholarly writing and intellectual contributions to the field of peace studies while in residence at the Kroc Institute. The connections and relationships that the fellows forge with our students and faculty last far beyond their time here on campus and serve to expand our global network of peace scholars and practitioners,” she said.

This year’s fellows include:

Seyedbabak (Babak) RezaeeDaryakenari (fall 2023) is the Senior Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His research broadly focuses on the dynamics of political conflict and violence in the Global South. During his fellowship at the Kroc Institute, he plans to conduct research on his project, “Gendered-Based Digital Repression During Anti-Government Protests,” which will examine how and why female activists are repressed by state actors.

Ana Velitchkova (Ph.D. ‘14) (fall 2023) is the Croft Associate Professor of Sociology and International Studies at the University of Mississippi. Her research interests lie in three substantive areas crossing disciplinary lines: transnational social movements, civil society, and community; violence; and citizenship, global inequality, and migration. While at the Kroc Institute, Velitchkova will conduct research on her project, “Pathways to Violent and Nonviolent Extremism: Creating a Dataset of Biographies of U.S. Extremists, 2015-2021.”

Qasim Wafayezada (fall 2023) is a journalist and the Specially Appointed Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Peace Diplomacy at the University of Kanazawa in Japan. Prior to this, he was the Minister of Information and Culture of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In addition to working on two articles for publication--on information and communication technology, and the interaction of online and offline domains in the formation of a gender-sensitive, peace-oriented political process in post-U.S. Afghanistan--he will work with two research programs at the Kroc Institute, the Afghanistan Program and Peace and Development (AfPAD) and the PeaceTech and Polarization Lab (PTAP).

Jenna Sapiano (academic year 2023-24) was previously a researcher for the Centre for Gender, Peace and Security at Monash University. Her research focuses on mediation; the women, peace and security agenda; and post-conflict constitutions. While at the Kroc Institute, Sapiano will work on her monograph on women’s rights in post-conflict constitutions, which is under contract with Bristol University Press.

Maria Paula Prada Ramírez (academic year 2023-24) has been engaged in dialogue, peacebuilding and transitional justice work for over 17 years, focusing on policy and project design and implementation, facilitation and creating strategic multilevel networks for political engagement and social ownership in Colombia. Maria has been a consultant and trainer with several international organizations in Colombia, Germany, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. Recently, she was a permanent advisor to the President of the Colombian Truth, Reconciliation, and Non-Repetition Commission and coordinated the design and implementation of an out-facing and sustainability strategy for the Truth Commission. This fellowship will enable Maria to work on an article for publication on the role and value of strategic alliances -national and international- during transitional processes; the case of the Colombian Truth Commission, as well as to contribute to the Legacy Project of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM). Maria is an accomplished economist with graduate education in international cooperation and humanitarian assistance, and mother of two daughters.

Maria Micaela Anna Garrido (M.A. ‘06) (spring 2024) is this year’s Alumni Visiting Fellow. She is a part-time professor with DePaul University’s Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies program. This fellowship will enable Garrido to develop her research on the impact of COVID-19 to the experience of migrant workers in Southeast Asia, for potential publication. Additionally, she will develop course offerings at DePaul University covering genocide, violence and trauma, and human trafficking, which are subtopics in her current course offering, “International Conflict and Peacebuilding.” The Alumni Visiting Research Fellowship is intended for Kroc Institute alumni who have pursued careers as peacebuilding practitioners and who seek time to reflect on and write about their work while in residence at the Institute.

Henri Muhiya (spring 2024) is a Kroc-Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Fellow and the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Natural Resources of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo. In November 2020, Muhiya was given a five-year appointment by Pope Francis, as a member of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development. Muhiya is also a doctoral student in literature at Université d’Angers in France. At Kroc, he plans to conduct research on his project, “The Roots of War and Violent Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960 to 2021.” The Kroc-CRS fellowship supports a rising mid-career or senior CRS staff person, or a member of a partner organization engaged in peacebuilding for a short-term research and writing post at the Kroc Institute.

Ivonne Solarzano (spring 2024) is a Kroc-CRS Fellow and technical advisor for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning for the peacebuilding platform and youth program at CRS-LACRO in Guatemala. She received her Ph.D. in research for social sciences at FLASCO Mexico. While at the Kroc Institute, Solarzano will work on the promotion and defense of human dignity as the center for the construction of peace, and the role of the Catholic Church in promoting and safeguarding that dignity.

This new cohort of visiting fellows joins Tecla Namachanja Wanjala, who began her fellowship in the spring 2023 semester, and will continue through fall 2023. Wanjala is a globally-recognized peacebuilder, trauma healing and transitional justice specialist. She continues to spend her time reflecting on her work as acting chairperson of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya and writing a journal article giving insights into Kenya’s turbulent Truth-Seeking process.

Applications for 2024-25 visiting research fellowships will open in September. Learn more about the program and how to apply.

For more information, contact Juan Florez Ramirez,

Originally published by Lisa Gallagher at on September 05, 2023.