2021-2022 marks the 10th year of the AHDA fellowship program. Since 2012, the fellowship has hosted at least 106 fellows who represent over 48 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.
Rebecca O. Johnson is a writer, social justice organization capacity builder and activist living in Bronx, NY. She writes to consider the many environments we occupy, and currently is focused on the landscape of dispossession, including destruction of Black communities by industrial toxins, White land theft and inequitable response to “natural” disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca’s capacity building primarily supports Black-led organizations in the South and West of the United States addressing the historical legacies of enslavement, Jim Crow era apartheid and ongoing structural racism in the US. She has been published in Callaloo, Race- Talk, The Women’s Review of Books, Social Justice Journal and many other publications. Rebecca holds an MS in Community Economic Development and an MFA in non-fiction.
Mbasekei Martin Obono is a human rights lawyer and advocate. He received his legal education from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom and Nigerian Law school. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Tap iNitiative for Citizens Development, based in Nigeria, and has pursued an Executive Programme with a focus on Expanding Impacts for NGOs and Public Institutions from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is passionate about civil and political rights and young people’s participation in governance. He is also fervent about historical conversations that lead to healing and reconciliation of communities that have suffered violence by state actors. Obono’s recent passion involves designing an online pictorial database that preserves and documents State sponsored massacres and atrocities in Nigeria, since independence in 1960. He is currently on the advisory board of Amnesty International, Nigeria.
I am a researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain and a Fulbright fellow at Columbia University. My rather eclectic academic background is in the fields of Sociology, Theology and Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature. I received my Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences from UCLouvain (Belgium) and a doctorate in Theology from KU Leuven (Belgium). For the last six years, my research has focused on the intersections of religion, conflict, and collective memory, primarily in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My project at AHDA, entitled Divided Bridges, aims at (re)discovering peacebuilding potentials in the major religious traditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Religions understand themselves as bridges between people, spiritually grounded instruments of peace. The project is envisaged as a combination of a website, workshops, and public talks. It aspires to provide a platform for open and inclusive discussions about the social role of religion. Far from being apologetic or oblivious towards past crimes, it desires to address “difficult history” in a direct yet responsible way. By engaging in the concrete theological and spiritual heritage of local religious traditions, while remaining conscious of the history of religiously inspired violence, the project aims to develop strong and resilient networks of peace-oriented citizens.
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