Alumni Highlight

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Nikita Shikha Perumal
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Congratulations to 2016 graduate Nikita Perumal on beginning work on her Fulbright in Vanuatu.

Nikita is a recent graduate of the Dual B.A. Program between Columbia University and Sciences Po., she received a B.A. in the social sciences, with specializations in law and political science at the Euro-American campus of Sciences Po in Reims, France. At Columbia, she completed a degree in human rights with a specialization in sustainable development. Nikita is particularly passionate about climate justice and the ways in which human rights intersect with the environment. At Columbia, Nikita participated in the Humanity in Action John Lewis Fellowship for civil and human rights, worked at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, served as a teaching assistant to two sustainable development classes, and organized with Columbia Divest for Climate Justice. Nikita also completed fieldwork for her undergraduate senior thesis in Port Vila, Vanuatu under the Columbia Undergraduate Global Policy Fellowship. Her thesis, entitled “’The Place Where I Live Is Where I Belong’: Human Rights and the Question of Climate-Induced Migration” was on a human rights-based approach to climate-induced migration. 

Nikita considers her U.S. Student Fulbright grant project as a direct extension of her thesis and of the activism Columbia Divest for Climate Justice has advanced over the past four years. For her Fulbright, Nikita will return to Vanuatu to examine how various climate impacts in Vanuatu can be considered as human rights issues and how these human rights-based approaches can feed into legal and political mechanisms for climate justice, including global mitigation and regional adaptation. Nikita sees the Fulbright as the perfect opportunity to expand on a number of issues she barely touched during her thesis fieldwork, and is incredibly excited to pursue the grant. Her host research institution will be the School of Law at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Emalus campus. Nikita is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.