2017 marks the 6th year of the AHDA fellowship program. To date we have had over 59 fellows in the program representing over 30 countries. Below find information regarding the professional interests and accomplishments of select fellows and alumni.
While at Columbia, fellows design individual projects that address some aspect of a history of gross human rights violations in their society, country, and/or region. Click here to read more about the fellows' projects.
Click here to read about more about the work of our Fellows.
Laura Alvarez is a political scientist with an emphasis in democratic governability and international relations. From Cali, Colombia, Laura works at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana's Institute of Intercultural Studies (Instituto de Estudios Interculturales), which is known for its involvement in both scholarly and advocacy work. Laura's position as researcher has enabled her to work on a number of peacebuilding and applied research projects with communities that have been victims of the Colombian conflict, and that are working towards reconciliation. Recent projects include establishing a dialogue between indigenous communities and sugar cane industrialists, and the creation of a regionally-focused post-conflict development plan in Montes de Maria that involved government, women’s and victim’s organizations, and peasant, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
As an AHDA fellow, Laura plans to develop a project proposal that will focus on collecting stories and testimonies about Colombian victims that have been displaced by violence, suffered human rights violations and later became heroes in their own communities, fostering reconciliation and peace building. These stories will not only be presented as reports on the Colombian post-conflict Truth Commission, but also will be made public through various media resources, so that they can be known and the victims can be acknowledged.
Laura is a Ford Foundation Fellow.
Eylem Delikanli is a founding member and an oral historian at the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT), a grassroots research cooperative based in New York City. RIT’s work focuses on commonization practices for social change in Turkey, with an emphasis on social and economic justice, gender equality, sexual rights, cultural and political recognition, and ecologic sustainability from a critical historical perspective. Eylem is currently working on a digital oral history archive for the 1980 coup d’état in Turkey, which is part of RIT’s collective memory working group.
She is the co-author of the oral history book Keşke Bir Öpüp Koklasaydım (with Ozlem Delikanli) about the 1980 Coup D’État in Turkey, published in 2013. As an AHDA fellow, Eylem will work on a project titled “Institute of Silence”, which will display crucial historical moments of Turkey on a web platform. In particular, the project seeks to address the silence around the 1980 coup d’état by making publicly available the oral history interviews of those targeted by the Junta. The hope is that these interviews, paired with official documents, will expose and teach users about the human rights violations and mass atrocities that occurred in Turkey during this time.
Eylem is an ISHR Fellow.
Debby Farber is the curator of Zochrot NGO ("Remembering" in Hebrew), an Israeli organization working to promote acknowledgement and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948. Between 2012 to 2014 she served as the Civil Transitional Justice program director in Zochrot where she established the first Unofficial Truth Commission in Israel for the events of 1948 in the Negev. Debby is also currently a PhD Candidate in the Politics and Government Department in Ben Gurion University.
As an AHDA fellow, she will work on an Interdisciplinary Historical Archive for Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev, a project that aims to raise awareness of the Bedouins’ struggle and human rights violations against them, suggest options for redress, and serve as a resource for research and advocacy on behalf of Bedouin land rights.
Debby is an ISHR Fellow.
Srdjan Hercigonja is a junior researcher at the Belgrade-based Center for Comparative Conflict Studies. In addition, he serves as Director of the Initiative for Contemporary Art and Theory (ICAT). It is in this capacity that he serves as a founding member of the ‘Four Faces of Omarska’ Working Group project. Prior to joining ICAT, Srdjan worked for a number of local NGOs dealing with human rights issues and transitional justice; he has also worked for UNDP Serbia and the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University, London. Both as an activist and scholar, Srdjan’s work is focused on conflict transformation, arts and politics in the context of post-conflict and post-genocide societies.
He has a particular interest in memorialization processes as they relate to war crimes and memory studies. As an AHDA fellow, Srdjan plans to develop a project that will focus on the ways in which victims of war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where no public recognition of atrocities has emerged, employ memory activism as a form of memorialization.
Srdjan is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Kyaw San Hlaing is the Founder and Executive Director of the Peace and Development Initiative (Kintha) in Rakhine State, Burma. As a teenager, Kyaw San participated in protests against Burma’s military-led government, activities which led to his arrest and imprisonment for 5 years, a period which was followed by exile to Thailand for 9 years. Kyaw San finally returning to Burma in 2012 and founded the Peace and Development Initiative (Kintha) in 2013 in response to the deepening religious and ethnic divisions taking root throughout Rakhine State.
As an AHDA fellow, Kyaw San will develop a project that documents stories of the victims of the communal violence in the region—violence that, in 2012, claimed the lives of over 200 Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims and displaced another 140,000 people. The project will lead to the creation of a memorial gallery designed to help youth in particular develop an understanding of the importance of ethnic and religious pluralism, responsible citizenship, and empathy.
Kyaw San is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Tonderai Kambarami is a senior researcher at the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, an umbrella organization that provides leadership and support to a coalition of 21 Human Rights Organizations in Zimbabwe. In 2015, he coordinated community outreach activities that delivered citizens’ recommendations on the operationalization of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to Parliament. This work ultimately led to an improved draft of the bill that directly reflected the conclusions of the community outreach campaign. Since 2014, Tonderai has initiated and coordinated the National Dialogues on Zimbabwean Conflicts, a series of truth-telling and memorialization initiatives that create space for citizens within Zimbabwe and in the diaspora to address the legacy of violence resulting from major conflicts in Zimbabwe’s history.
As an AHDA Fellow, Tonderai will develop a documentation and memorialization project that seeks to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations in the Matabeleland region during the Gukurahundi era (1980-1990). The project will work towards accountability through the documentation and preservation of evidence of crimes, the facilitation of truth-telling and memorialization initiatives for victims and their families, and the exploration of mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.
Tonderai is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Lura Limani is an editor, writer, and researcher based in Prishtina, Kosovo. She is the editor-in-chief of Prishtina Insight, an English online magazine published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in Kosovo. For the past ten years Lura has worked as a journalist, writer, translator, researcher, and editor in Kosovo and Germany. As the editor of Prishtina Insight, she has managed the transition of the biweekly newspaper to an online platform that offers in-depth interactive stories about Kosovo and the region. She also contributes as an editor to the independent zine Lirindja and as a research affiliate to the Kosovo Oral History Initiative.
As an AHDA fellow, Lura will develop a multi-media oral history project about Kosovo and the fall of Yugoslavia. Titled “1989”, the project focuses on memories of the 1989 crisis of Yugoslavia as it unfolded in Kosovo through a television documentary and a book of first-hand recollections.
Lura is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Lydia Mugambe is a lawyer from Uganda who was appointed in July 2013 as a Judge of the High Court in Uganda. Prior to this appointment, Lydia worked from 2005 to 2013 at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR), first as a Legal Officer in Chambers and later as an Appeals Counsel under the Appeals Division in the Office of the Prosecutor. In addition, Mugambe was a participant in the Global Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention, hosted by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation As an AHDA fellow, Mugambe will develop a project around women in northern Uganda who have suffered severe human rights abuses, including rape, during the over 10-year civil war affecting their community.
Lydia is an Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) Fellow.
Oryem Nyeko works in Gulu, Uganda with the Justice and Reconciliation Project, where, as Communications and Advocacy Team Leader, he implements projects on peacebuilding and transitional justice in post-conflict northern Uganda. Currently he works on a project entitled, “Let’s Talk, Uganda” which is aimed at facilitating dialogue among young Ugandans on transitional justice and reconciliation. To this end, his work involves traditional and new media, and Oryem writes and blogs regularly on the various dimensions of dealing with the past in post-conflict settings. Oryem has also surveyed indicators for peace through the ‘Everyday Peace Indicators’ initiative.
As an AHDA fellow, the project Oryem plans to develop at Columbia is an oral history project designed to provide a space for ordinary Ugandans to share their perspectives on commonly told narratives around war, political transition and peace in Uganda’s tumultuous history.
Oryem is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Gina Romero is a social activist, social entrepreneur and expert in civic education, youth empowerment and democracy strengthening. She is currently Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, an association of over 400 civil society organizations, networks, activists, youth, and academics in Latin America and the Caribbean that seek to strengthen democracy, human rights, sustainable development and social cohesion. Gina also serves on the Board of Directors of Fundación Mujeres por Colombia and Corporación Ocasa, where she is also advisor on innovative methodologies.
As an AHDA fellow, Gina will develop a project that focuses on empowering young people, who were not directly affected by the country’s history of violence, to serve as leaders of intergenerational historical dialogue. This project would be done in the context of the historic 2016 Colombia Peace Accord between the Government of Colombia and the FARC.
Gina is a Bosch Foundation Fellow.
Mariam Aboughazi is a researcher and coordinator of the Memory of Conscience file for the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), based in Cairo, Egypt, where she has been developing a narrative of the past 5 years in the country. Prior to this, Aboughazi worked on a number of projects related to memory and history, including ‘Revisiting Memory: Public Space’, with the Cimatheque Alternative Film Center, and as a research assistant on projects related to politics in Egypt. As an AHDA fellow, Aboughazi will develop a mobile application that offers downloadable walking tours of downtown Cairo narrating the different events (accompanied by testimonies, personal anecdotes and soundscapes from these events) of the Egyptian revolution and the story of political transformation, turning the city’s downtown into ‘a walking museum’.
Javeed Ul Aziz joined the Department of History at the University of Kashmir as an Assistant Professor in January 2013, where his research focuses on the economic history of modern Kashmir, the historical roots of marginalization, and the role of memory in shaping identity. Besides teaching courses on Modern Indian History and the History of Modern Kashmir, Aziz also supervises graduate projects as part of the “Gathering History from Below” initiative, which facilitates projects based on non-conventional sources that aim to bring to the fore people and communities who were hitherto hidden from history. Since 2015, Aziz has been actively involved in creating an Oral History Repository at the Department of History, working to identify persons who have witnessed oppression or have personal stories of oppression, and motivating them to come forward and record their narratives. As an AHDA fellow, Aziz will develop a project around memory and narration that attempts to identify the roots of oppression and the ways that power manifests itself differently for different communities.
Javeed joined AHDA as a Whitney M. Young Fellow.
Bonita Bennett is Director of the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to this, Bennett worked as a youth worker for the Diocese of Cape Town, a high school teacher, a project manager for the South African Institute of Race Relations, and as a research and project manager for the African Tenants Verification Project of the Western Cape Land Claims Commission. Bennett’s work in the non-profit and public sector has sought to bring together her pedagogical training and her political activism, and she has combined skills gleaned during the days of the anti-apartheid struggle with her formal training to inform her approach to her position as Director of the District Six Museum. As an AHDA fellow, Bennett will develop school curricula that use moments in South Africa’s national history—employing storytelling, performance, creative writing, the arts, and history—to illuminate current realities and link the past to the present, with the overarching message that the past matters.
Benji de la Piedra is an independent oral historian and writer living in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. He is currently at work on an oral history project that explores the biography of Herbert Denton Jr (1943-1989), a little-known but legendary journalist at The Washington Post whose life and work provide a window onto issues of race, sexuality, and political culture in the second half of American twentieth century history. Previous work includes his M.A. oral history thesis project, entitled “That Something Else”: Botkin, Portelli and Ellison on Democratic Pluralism and the Dialogical Encounter. During his time as an ADHA Fellow, de la Piedra will be developing a project that gathers and interprets oral histories from current graduate students at Columbia. The project aims to explore perceptions of race, gender, and identity on an American college campus, with the goal of initiating a restorative campus-wide dialogue about the ideal of diversity and feelings of institutional disavowal.
María José Kahn Silva holds a degree in Art History (Universidad de Buenos Aires). Since September 2015, she has been responsible for Educational, Artistic and Museographical Development at ESMA Memory Site, where she is working to develop International Cooperation by building networks between the Site and the international community to promote human rights, memory and museums. Prior to this she coordinated the Educational Department at MALBA -Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, developing educational programs and collaborative actions between the museum and social organizations and worked as a Bilingual Museum Educator. She has assisted investigators and cultural agents at Fundación Proa and the Latin America Research Center of Harvard Business School in Argentina. In addition to these activities, Kahn Silva teaches Art History at Escuela Motivarte. As an AHDA fellow, Kahn Silva will develop an education program that invites security and military students to visit the ESMA Memory Site, as a way to learn about and understand the human rights violations committed during the last military dictatorship in Argentina.