2020 marks the 9th year of the AHDA fellowship program. Since 2012, the fellowship has hosted 96 fellows who represent over 47 countries and territories. Below please find information regarding the professional interests and accomplishments of 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.
Nicolas B. Habarugira is a Rwandan social scientist and researcher who has worked with non-governmental organizations for many years in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region. He is a community worker and human rights activist who worked as a participatory action researcher with the Community Based Sociotherapy Rwanda starting from 2014. The organization promotes psychosocial well-being in Rwanda through interventions focusing on healing, reconciliation and social cohesion. Community Based Sociotherapy addresses post-genocide issues, including trauma healing, reconciliation and restoring the social fabric as a contribution to Rwanda’s transitional justice initiatives.
Srdjan Hercigonja is a junior researcher at the Belgrade-based Center for Comparative Conflict Studies. In addition, he serves as Director of Four Faces of Omarska. It is in this capacity that he serves as a founding member of the ‘Four Faces of Omarska’ Working Group project. Prior to joining Four Faces of Omarska, 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.
Bosch Foundation Fellow
Nayla Hamadeh is a founding member of the Lebanese Association for History (LAH), an organization that aims to support history teachers and to promote the learning and teaching of history as a discipline in Lebanon. In particular, the organization seeks to raise public awareness about the importance of history, and to ensure that history education in the country is inquiry based and critically engaging. Ms. Hamadeh’s roles at the organization are two-fold: Since 2005, Ms. Hamadeh has been facilitating teacher training workshops all over Lebanon on active teaching strategies. To this end, she currently manages an extensive professional training program for history teachers entitled, “Developing History Teachers Capacity to Foster Historical Thinking”. The project aims to introduce and apply the concepts of historical thinking and to empower learners to think critically about the past. Ms. Hamadeh also works closely with the LAH president on fundraising and strategic planning for the organization.
In terms of her background, Ms. Hamadeh has worked in the Educational Resources Center at International College (IC), Beirut, from 1998 to 2013, where she coordinated the curriculum guide project as well as teachers’ professional development programs. During this period, she also held a teaching position at the Social Studies Department and worked as the coordinator and trainer for the SPEC program proposing a student-centered, problem-based, experiential and collaborative classroom model. Ms. Hamadeh has presented at numerous conferences, including the LAES conference on History education, Euroclio, and the KAICIID Global Forum. She holds an MA in Educational Foundations and Policy Studies from the American University of Beirut and in 2010 she was awarded the “Randa Khoury Innovation in teaching award”.
As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Hamadeh will develop a study tour for students, academics, and media experts that explores commemorative sites and culture in Lebanon, and how memorial processes enable participants to acknowledge different cultures and perspectives within their own communities.
As the Technical Advisor of Arts and Culture for Social Integration unit in FLICT (Facilitating Initiatives for Social Cohesion and Transformation) project, Ms. Haputhanthri oversees a program that focuses on reconciliation and social integration in post-war Sri Lanka. She heads the cultural component of the project, dealing with history, memory and education as well as arts, film and theatre projects. She played a lead role in conceptualizing the program and securing funds at a global proposal call by the European Union entitled, 'Investing in People: Culture as a Vector for Democracy' in 2013, and she presently leads a team and a cluster of partner organizations for the implementation of the project. She is responsible for overall concept and strategy development, networking, financial project management including HR and reporting functions. She is also developing a project on “Memory Work in Post-War Settings,” the ground work for which will occur in the coming months.
In addition, Ms. Haputhanthri is a translator, writer, and arts manager. She is author of a handbook for social activists entitled Cultural Fluency: A Transformative Agenda for Caring Communities. She has worked on developing new knowledge and creative methodologies in promoting social inclusion and has worked from policy to community level, in the areas of education and arts for reconciliation. Ms. Haputhanthri has an MA in Asian Studies from Lund University, Sweden and a BA Honors in Sociology from the University of Delhi, India. She further specialized in History and Anti-racist education at York University, Toronto, Canada. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Haputhanthri will work on a project proposal on Memory Work in post war Sri Lanka. The multimedia project hopes to support a ‘traveling museum’ on social memory and modern history with a story telling approach; it aims to address the trauma and reflect upon the experiences and root causes of the conflict in Sri Lanka by tackling some of the deep cultural and structural issues embedded in a divided, hierarchical society.