2018 marks the 7th 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.
Ekrem Murat Çelikkan is a founding member and co-director of Hafıza Merkezi, the Center for Truth, Memory and Justice, in Turkey. Çelikkan has worked as a journalist for the past 25 years, assuming the role of reporter, editor, columnist, and chief executive editor. His primary focus has been on human rights violations and democracy.
In addition to journalism, Çelikkan has been an active member of the Turkish Human Rights Movement, and he has collaborated with human rights NGOs in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Italy and Argentina. He was a founding member and has been on the boards of the Human Rights Association, Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Foundation.
Çelikkan has also worked on projects related to the Kurdish problem and media ethics. Çelikkan has a bachelor’s degree in management from the Middle East Technical University (Turkey). As an AHDA fellow he will explore issues of historical dialogue and reconciliation regarding the Kurdish conflict, in particular with regard to the enforced disappearances of Kurds in the 1990s.
Civil Rights Defenders named Çelikkan Civil Rights Defender of the Year in 2018.
Bijoyeta Das is a freelance photographer and multimedia journalist whose work is based out of Bangladesh. Throughout her career, she has reported from countries such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Turkey and the United States. Ms. Das was a 2011 Peace Writer for the Women Peacemakers Program at the Institute for Peace and Justice (University Of San Diego, US), and her work has been broadcast on Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Radio France Internationale, Women News Network, Women’s eNews, WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Fotoevidence, and All India Radio; her photo story “Dreams of a Goddess” won the Silver Medal at the TashkentAle‐2010 Photo Festival in Uzbekistan, and her short documentary films “Branded Girls” and “The Saturday Mothers of Turkey” were official selections for the 2011 Women’s Voices Now Film Festival and were screened in the United States and in the United Arab Emirates. Ms. Das holds a BA in History from St. Stephens College, Delhi University (India), an MA in Journalism from Northeastern University (US) and a Diploma in Photojournalism from KA Asian Center for Journalism (Philippines). As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Das’s project will focus on rape victims and war babies of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. More specifically, her visual narrative (print, photos, and film) seeks to use oral histories to document the post-war lives of these women and their children.
Click here to learn more about Bijoyeta
Khet Long is the founder and executive director of Youth for Peace (YFP). He founded Youth for Peace in 1999 and has more than a decade of experience in peace-building work. Mr. Long has been instrumental in the development of the peace, leadership, and reconciliation program for young people in post-conflict Cambodia since the establishment of Youth for Peace. Mr. Long’s areas of expertise focus on memory initiative and post-conflict recovery as well as ASEAN integration, which led him to write his action research on the Legacy of Memory in Cambodia. He is actively involved in the Peace Education Research project in Cambodia as well as peace building networking and conferences which take place at the local, regional and global level and which focus on social justice, peace, and democracy. Long Khet holds a BA in Khmer Literature from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, a secondary teaching certificate from the Faculty of Pedagogy and an MA in Applied Conflict Transformation from Pannasastra University and Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS). Khet Long’s project at AHDA focuses on truth telling and making connections to the locationsof mass atrocities during the Khmer Rouge regime through intergenerational dialogues and local memory initiatives. His goal is toreconstruct the local history at community memory sites in a way that engages the community, including former Khmer Rouge cadres, victims, prisoners, witnesses, post war generation, and other relevant stakeholders in dialogue.
Click here to learn more about Khet
Mario Mažić has been the director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Croatia since late 2008, and he has worked with human rights organizations since 2006. As the director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights—Croatia, Mr. Mažić’s role is to coordinate the work of the organization and to overlook the implementation of its programs and projects, as well as to monitor research on wartime human rights violations. Mr. Mažić is currently enrolled at Zagreb University, where he is studying in the Faculty of Political Science and expects to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2013. In addition, Mr. Mažić studied International Politics and Contemporary problems in Government at the International Summer School, University in Oslo in 2008, and in 2010, he studied the Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia and Contemporary Literature at a Summer Study-Abroad Program in Croatia organized by Northwestern University. Mr. Mažić’s project as an AHDA fellow focuses on young Croatians who have grown up in Croatian towns without any contact with peers from other ethnic groups. He seeks to connect these groups of youth with those who fled the same towns in the early 1990s, and to create an interactive seminar that explores the nationalist politics of the 1990s and early 2000s that have continued to leave a deep mark on both Croatian and Serbian communities.
Click here to learn more about Mario
Sandra Orlović is the Deputy Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) in Belgrade, and is currently leading a team to work on the Kosovo Memory Book project, which is an unprecedented fact-based testimony about each person who died or disappeared during the armed conflict in Kosovo. Prior to her position there, she worked as a researcher of human rights violations, and she led a team of researchers and lawyers in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo on a project whose aim was to reinforce the international obligations of the state with respect to human rights violations committed by state actors through reparation measures and court cases. Ms. Orlović obtained her Law degree from the University of Belgrade (Serbia) where her main focus of study was International Relations. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Orlovic will research victims of the armed conflict of the former Yugoslavia and how support to victims on the part of successor states is measured, with the goal of establishing an institutional framework which can facilitate debate about the content and form of a regional fund for victims, and the many questions and challenges that such a fund presents, from methodology to acknowledgement and participation.
Click here to learn more about Sandra
Jolanta Steciuk works as an NGO analyst at the Polish-American Community Assistance Fund in Warsaw. Since 2008, Ms. Steciuk has played a central role in the Fund for Civic Initiatives, for the Grant Program of the Polish Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. She has been involved in a number of projects involving Poland, the Caucasus and the Balkans that have taken up issues of historical dialogue, accountability and the development of local communities and the NGO sector. Ms. Steciuk is also a Member of the Young Journalists Association POLIS and the author of the book All Shall Be Different, which received Book of the Summer Award from the BibliotekaRaczynskich in 2010. Ms. Steciuk has conducted a series of interviews with Polish human rights activist and publicist HalinaBortnowska. JolantaSteciuk obtained a degree in Law from Warsaw University, Law and Administration Faculty and was a fellow in the “Human Rights and Religious Freedom Program” at Columbia University in 1997.
Ms. Steciuk’s project at AHDA seeks to explore the aftermath of World War II in Poland and neighboring countries, with a particular focus on the redrawing of national borders and the forced transfers of populations. Ms. Steciuk is investigating how these shifts contributed to the narratives and memory that has since been developed in Poland, Germany and Ukraine. She is interested in models of building shared narratives.
Irena Stefoska works as an Associate Professor of Research at the Institute of National History, University Ss. “Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje. Her main areas of research include the theory and methodology of history, and the modern phenomena of nation and nationalism related to the Macedonian historiography. In the last decade, Dr. Stefoska has participated in various national and international projects related to the teaching of history. Dr. Stefoska holds a bachelor’s degree in Classical Philology from the University of Cyril and Methodius (Skopje), a master’s degree in Medieval Studies from the Central European University (Budapest), a master’s degree in Byzantine Studies from Belgrade University (Belgrade) and a doctorate from the University Ss. “Cyril and Methodius” (Skopje). She was also the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, for which she was a visiting research scholar at Brown University. Dr. Stefoska’s project while an AHDA fellow, entitled “The Burden of the Past: Teaching Macedonia (1945-1991),” offers an innovative approach to teaching history in the multiethnic society that defines Macedonia that stimulates peace, diversity and understanding.
Click here to learn more about Irena