The 2006 Graduates of the Alan B. Slifka Coexistence and Conflict Master's Program
Eleven students have successfully completed the 16-month program, taking a full-time courseload at Brandeis during the 2004-05 academic year and completing a field project in the fall of 2005. See below for brief sketches of their projects.
Tamara Ambar has a Master's degree in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Motivated by the Jewish imperative to pursue social and economic justice, she worked with Jewish teens on a literacy education project in urban Boston last year. Tamara's interest in Coexistence and Conflict grew out of both personal experience of working on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and from her academic study of marginalization.
Tamara did her field project with the Abraham Fund in Israel, evaluating the effectiveness of the Coexistence Network, which includes over 160 non-profit organizations in Israel working specifically on coexistence and equality issues between Arab/Palestinian Israelis and Jewish Israelis.
Mengistu Ayalew has a Master's degree in International Studies and ten years' experience working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the government of Ethiopia, including a posting to Nairobi. He came to the program with direct experience of peace processes in East Africa and has undertaken a particular study of the IGAD, a sub-regional set up to facilitate development and conflict resolution endeavors in the Horn of Africa.
For his field project, Mengistu was part of a team doing a comparative assessment of the impact of tsunami and tsunami interventions on the intra-state relations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Aceh). (He received a Mellon-MIT award for this project).
Peter Bauman came to Brandeis after spending several years working as an instructor and independent facilitator on the Outward Bound Unity program, intended to help youth overcome hatred and celebrate diversity. He has a particular interest in the use of the program as a tool for coexistence work in the Middle East.
Peter worked with a team who received Mellon-MIT fellowships to conduct a comparative assessment of the impact of the tsunami and the tsunami interventions on intra-state relations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia/Aceh. He also evaluated an Outward Bound prototype course designed for Palestinian and Israeli youth.
Michaël Ehrlich received his M.A in international economics and finance from the International Management Institute of Paris and has studied Business at University of Florida, Gainesville. As part of his program he worked for Francois Zimeray, French member of European Parliament and president of Medbridge Strategy Center, where he helped to develop and realize the First Inter-Parliamentary forum in the Middle East. This was a delegation of 160 Parliamentarians from 28 European countries that launched a new initiative to support the Middle East peace process through meetings with high political leaders in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
For his field project, Michael worked with the Project on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard on the Abraham Project conceived by Dr. Bill Ury. Michael's primary task was to look at how the European Union could contribute to the Abraham project by contacting members of the European Parliament. Michael also conducted research for his field project on the role of religion in the peace-building process, and looked at how religion can support coexistence work.
Philip Gamaghelyan majored in political science, served in the Armenian army on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and has worked as a Refugee Assistance Project Manager in a human rights NGO in Armenia. He was a founder member of the Michnaberd cultural-educational NGO, whose objectives included assisting political dialog with Azerbaijani NGO's.
Phil's field project consisted of drawing up a strategic plan for coexistence interventions in the Caucasus in conjunction with the learning of International Alert, Seeds of Peace, Mercy Corps Conflict Management Group and other peace-building organizations.
Keren Hendin has worked in the field of informal education in Israel, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. She served in the Israeli army as a military social worker and has been working recently as a facilitator in programs dedicated to promoting dialogue-based coexistence for teenagers from countries in conflict. Keren served as the Jerusalem Coordinator for Building Bridges for Peace, a program designed for young Israeli and Palestinian women, under the auspices of Seeking Common Ground, and as a coordinator and facilitator of the youth initiatives sponsored by the Interreligious Coordinating Council of Israel.
For her field project, Keren worked as the program officer for African projects at the Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy. She worked on developing a trauma healing and training center in Zimbabwe in collaboration with Africa University. She also developed a proposal at the request of the Somali Parliament to provide Parliament members with training in conflict resolution skills.
Isabella Jean is a native of Armenia. She has undertaken extensive research on issues of peacebuilding and conflict in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus, Israel, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Egypt. She has worked and volunteered for years with groups dedicated to grassroots organizing, human rights and conflict resolution. These have included Seeds of Peace International Peace and Conflict Resolution Camp, Search for Common Ground, and the NGO Training and Resource Center in Armenia. She came to Brandeis after spending two years as a trainer/facilitator at a policy research and advocacy non-profit working on educational equity issues.
As part of her field project, Isabella worked with the United Nations Bi-Communal Development Program in Cyprus, designing follow-up programs and evaluation approaches for their coexistence programs for Turkish and Greek Cypriot youth.
Priscilla Kankhulungo is the Civic Education Officer at the Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi. She is responsible for raising public awareness of good administrative practices, human rights and conflict resolution through seminars, workshops, publications and television and radio programs. She also investigates cases of alleged administrative injustices and abuse of human rights.
Priscilla's field project was in Malawi with the Office of the Ombudsman. She examined the role of women in promoting political tolerance and coexistence work as a prerequisite for safe guarding their rights.
Chandan Nandy has been working as a journalist in India for over ten years, reporting on conflicts in Kashmir, Punjab, northeast India, and Gujarat. He has worked for the Hindustan Times, the Telegraph in Delhi, Calcutta, and Jameshedpur, and the Observer of Business and Politics, in Delhi. He has a particular interest in the nexus between security and religious issues. He was awarded a Chevening Scholarship in 1999.
Chandan conducted his field project in Bangladesh and India, addressing the problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India and other related issues, including the coexistence conflicts that arise from such immigration. (He received a Mellon–MIT award to do this.)
Gazala Paul has been working in development and social justice NGO's in India for many years. She is currently the Managing Trustee of the Samerth Trust, a Gujarat-based NGO devoted to community peace-building and humanitarian support. Previously she has worked for Oxfam as a program officer in Gujarat and Rajasthan. In 2004 she was the recipient of a Chevening Scholarship to study peace and conflict management in Northern Ireland.
For her field project, Gazala conducted research on how the tsunami has impacted coexistence issues in Aceh, Indonesia, and in Sri Lanka, where there have been long running conflicts. (She received a Mellon–MIT award to do this.)
Inessa Shishmanyan has been working as the manager of youth programs and as a trainer in conflict resolution and manager of youth programs at 'Democracy Today' in Armenia. Her particular training specialties are gender studies and conflict resolution.
For her field project, Inessa worked with Seeds of Peace as a Co-coordinator of the Delegation Leaders (DL's) Program. She coordinated afternoon and evening sessions for the adult educators from conflict regions, such as Middle East and South East Asia. She also helped DL's to interact with their peers from across borders of dispute and guided them through the coexistence journey.