The Institute for the Study of Human Rights welcomes scholars wishing to engage in research in the area of human rights. The Visiting Scholars Program is designed to link the visiting scholars with the Columbia community by providing connections to faculty members and encouraging participation in conferences and seminars.
Read the selected biographies of some of our recent scholars below. (Note: Bios may not be up to date.) Click here for a list of additional visiting scholars.
To learn more about the Visiting Scholars Program and how to apply, click here.
Paul Mikov is currently Executive Advisor for Policy & External Affairs at the Boris Trajkovski International Foundation, supporting the Foundation’s work with partners such as the Clinton Global Initiative, UNDP and UNICEF in New York, as well as the USAID in Washington DC. After several years in non-profit management and ministerial work in Southern California, Paul joined World Vision International (WVI) in 2003, where he held senior management and leadership roles for about ten years, specializing in humanitarian affairs and policy and advocacy. The last six years, Paul was the Director of WVI’s NY office and the organization’s UN Representative, until August 2012. In that role, Paul worked across the key portfolios of the industry (humanitarian, development, policy/advocacy), and across the most strategic domains: UN, governmental, non-governmental, media, corporate/foundations, and the faith-based domains. At the UN, Paul played pivotal roles in engagements with the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat, and the key specialized agencies, funds and programs of the UN, in particular UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and WHO. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, two masters’ degrees, and has completed half of the program towards a Doctor of Philosophy.
Jonathan Papoulidis is Senior Advisor, Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Affairs for a major international non-governmental aid agency. He previously served with the United Nations on three continents, including in Indonesia as UN Special Advisor for Aceh and Nias and before that, as Chief of Policy and Programmes for the UN’s recovery coordination efforts in Aceh and Nias. He also served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia as advisor to the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General for Recovery and Governance. Prior to these roles, he worked with UN OCHA at Headquarters and in the field. He has a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge where he was editor of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs. He was Coordinator of Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Affairs at York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and former executive committee member of the International Studies’ Association Peace Section.
Robert Robinson earned his PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Georgia in 2012. He is currently at work completing a book on the relationship between responsibility and theories of distributive justice, due out from Palgrave Macmillon in 2014. He has published articles, comments, and reviews in areas of moral and political philosophy, and philosophy of law.
Jarrett Zigon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include morality, subjectivity, and institutional spaces of disciplinary practice. These interests are taken up from the perspective of an anthropologist strongly influenced by post-Heideggerian phenomenology and critical theory. He has completed two research projects in Russia: one on the relationship between personal experience and moral conceptions, and a second on Russian Orthodox Church drug rehabilitation programs as spaces for moral training. His current research focuses on human rights as a transnational moral discourse. His articles can be found in Anthropological Theory, Ethnos, and Ethos among other journals. His books including Morality: An Anthropological Perspective (2008, Berg), Making the New Post-Soviet Person: Narratives of Moral Experience in Contemporary Moscow (2010, Brill),and HIV is God’s Blessing: Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia (2011, University of California Press).
Artak Ayunts has BA and MA degrees in Sociology from Yerevan State University. He also has an MA degree in Conflict Resolution from Bradford University, Peace Studies Department, United Kingdom. He completed his PhD studies at Yerevan State University in 2004 on the topic of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He has been a Tavitian Fellow at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and DAAD Fellow at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. Prior to that, he was the representative of the International Alert in Armenia. Currently he teaches at Yerevan State University. His research interests include Conflict Management, Peace Studies and Discourse Analysis.
Christine Bader is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and a Human Rights Advisor to BSR (Business for Social Responsibility). She also co-teaches Human Rights and Business in ISHR’s summer session. After earning her MBA from Yale, Christine joined BP plc and proceeded to work in Indonesia, China, and the U.K., managing the social impacts of some of the company’s largest projects in the developing world. In 2006 she created a part-time pro bono role as Advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for business and human rights, a role she took up full-time in 2008 until the U.N. mandate ended in 2011. Ms. Bader has published numerous op-eds and articles and given talks to conferences, companies, and universities around the world, including a TEDx talk entitled “Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist.” She holds a BA magna cum laude from Amherst College and is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ding Fangguan, also known as Gu Chaun, is a researcher and assistant director of the Institute for Information Society Studies (IISS) in the School of Social Sciences at China University of Political Science and Law. His research interests include internet freedom, freedom of press, and human rights issues in China. His publications on these topics have been used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, and other international organizations. His plan for research at Columbia will cover intellectual property, privacy, and "The Rise of Chinese Internet Citizens Rights Movement."
Penelopa Gjurchilova, PhD., LL.M., MPA is a Macedonian lawyer, diplomat, consultant, and lecturer. She holds a Ph.D. in EU Law from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, awarded in 2004, and a Masters in Public Administration as Kokkalis and Mason Fellow from Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2007. She also earned an LL.M. as Fulbright Scholar from the Law School of the University of Connecticut in 1995, a law degree from the University Cyril and Methodius in 1993, and a B.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy from the American College of Switzerland in 1992. She has worked as an associate attorney in a New York City law firm and as a diplomat for the Macedonian Foreign Service.
Arunajeet Kaur is a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Singapore. She recently graduated from the Australian National University. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled, ‘From Independence to Hindraf : the Malaysian Indian Community and the negotiation for minority rights’. She has also recently co-authored a book, The Migration of Indian Human capital; The Ebb and Flow of Indian Professionals in Southeast Asia (New York, NY: Routledge, 2011).
Asghar Khan is from Mardan District, Pakistan. Mr. Khan completed his bachelor’s degree, in 1998 and Master’s in Political Science in 2002 at University of Peshawar. Following his schooling, Mr. Khan joined the Government College University Lahore and completed his M.Phil. in Political Science. He is now a PhD candidate at the Political Science Department, University of Peshawar.
Rafi Nets-Zehngut is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University. He got his PhD at the Political Science Department at Tel Aviv University, and during his PhD studies was a predoctoral fellow at Yale and Columbia Universities. His research studies the psychological aspects of conflicts (e.g., reconciliation and healing processes), with the main focus being their collective memory. Regionally he focuses on the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict.
Nina Schneider holds a PhD in History from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. She specializes in contemporary Brazilian History, processes of historical redress and accountability in Latin America, politics of memory, and propaganda. Her new project investigates Brazil’s politics of historical redress from an entangled perspective. It pays special attention to the recently instated Brazilian Truth Commission and the dynamics between civil society, different state agents and the international community. Her recent publications include: ‘Breaking the Silence of the Military Regime: New Politics of Memory in Brazil?’, in the Bulletin of Latin American Research, and ‘The Supreme Court’s recent Verdict on the Amnesty Law: Impunity in Post-authoritarian Brazil’, in the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Rachel Wahl is a Ph.D. Candidate at New York University in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences program in International Education. Her research investigates the ways in which law enforcement officers in India respond to human rights advocacy and education related to state violence. This research was based on her twelve months of fieldwork in India. She was awarded the David L. Boren National Security Education Fellowship for fieldwork and intensive Hindi study. Rachel has also served as a consultant to USAID and the Norwegian Organization for International Development (NORAD) under the supervision of Dr. Dana Burde. Prior to beginning her Ph.D., she designed education programs for NGOs in New York, China and Peru.