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.
Sofia Dyak is the director of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv (Ukraine), an institution dealing with research and public history projects. Her responsibilities at the Center include researching and curating exhibitions and other public history projects. Before taking the position of director, she was involved in developing and realizing research projects, exhibitions and workshops, and summer programs dealing with preservation and oral history in western Ukraine, a region often described as borderland and known for its diversity before the Second World War. Dr. Dyak earned her PhD at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw). Her research interests include the post-war history of border cities, heritage and urban planning in post-catastrophic cities, as well as city branding. The project she will develop as an AHDA fellow is an urban history project that examines cities such as Medzhybizh, which was a center of the 18th century Jewish movement known as Hassidism. The Holocaust not only marked the destruction of Jewish communities from such towns, but also the obliteration of historical narratives that were associated with this past. The last two decades of post-socialist development have been marked by an increased nationalization of local memory that further ignores the history and diversity of these cities and their past and present inhabitants. Through educational workshops, an exhibit and a film, Dr. Dyak’s project reconstructs the history of these cities and emphasizes the multi-ethnic patchwork of these cities. In so doing, the project presents the diversity of these cities in a 21st century context, where respect towards Others is a fundamental requirement of living in today’s civilization.
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Nataša Govedarica currently works as Program Manager at Heartefact Fund, a private foundation which uses culture as a tool for social change. She is an award winning play writer and a dramaturge, and has won multiple prizes of the Bosnian Public Radio 1 for her radio plays. Her latest prize came from a festival in Bosnia for her co-authorship of a theatre play “Hypermnesia”, which tackled childhood memories of individuals from Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo. Ms. Govedarica was born and grew up in Sarajevo, and currently lives in Belgrade. Ms. Govedarica holds a BA in Dramaturgy from the Academy of Performing Arts, University of Sarajevo, and an MA cum laude in Human Rights (University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna). Her MA thesis on film as a medium for human rights awareness rising was published under the title “The Picture of Human Rights”. Recently Govedarica published a study “A Land of Uncertain Past”, which dealt with the politics of memory in Serbia from 1991 - 2011. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Govedarica will develop a documentary theatre performance that examines the case of Prijedor ethnic cleansing (sometimes called the “Prijedor Genocide,”) where survivors live next to unprosecuted perpetrators and bystanders. The performance will also examine the treatment of this case in Serbia (the perpetrators’ community).
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Cleber Kemper currently works in the coordination of The Special Commission of Murders or Disappeared for Political Reasons of the Secretariat for Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic. His office seeks to investigate the deaths and forced disappearances that took place during the Brazilian dictatorship (1946-1985), to establish a clear record of past human rights violations, and to implement and promote reparation programs for the families of the victims of the dictatorship. Mr. Kemper works specifically to resolve legal claims relating to the legacy of Brazil’s dictatorship, and to assist and follow up with cases of recognition and in compensation programs on behalf of the families of killed or disappeared people under the military regime. The project he will develop as an AHDA fellow relates to the final report of the National Truth Commission, which will be published in May 2014, and which examines the period of the military regime in Brazil. Mr. Kemper seeks to teach about the findings of the report in schools, and to create a series of public events that enable the public to engage with victims, to build empathy, and in so doing to deconstruct the national myths glorifying the military that continue to hold sway today.
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Daphne Lappa has been working for the multi-communal Association for Historical Dialogue and Research in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she holds the position of Research Officer since 2011. Ms. Lappa’s research interests evolve around the theme of coexistence in diversity, namely how religiously and ethnically diverse communities managed to live alongside in the pre-modern and modern era. She has extensive experience in the fields of social and cultural history and has worked with archival material of diverse periods and nature. She is also especially interested in the use of new technologies in history as a way of minimizing the gap between academic and public history. Ms. Lappa has studied history at the Universities of Crete and Athens, Greece. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Lappa will work on the development of a series of graphically powerful and user-friendly on-line interactive maps that will provide a visual, alternative narrative of Nicosia as a shared and contested space (both religiously and ethnically) in the late 19th and 20th centuries, in an effort to redress the multiple fragmentations that the city’s body and memory have undergone.
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Darija Marić is a sociologist who has been working at Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past since 2009. Her responsibilities at Documenta include coordinating field research for the project “Unveiling Personal Memories on War and Detention from 1941 until today.” The project includes the creation of a collection of 400 video-recorded testimonies on a wide range of war experiences in Croatia with the use of oral history as a method to collect and open up individual memories on past traumatic events from a wide range of perspectives, including those of minorities, victims, women, war veterans, etc. Prior to this work, Ms. Marić worked as a coordinator for the initiative for the establishment of RECOM, the Regional Commission Tasked with Establishing the Facts about All Victims of War Crimes and Other Serious Human Rights Violations Committed on the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia from 1991-2001, in Croatia. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Marić will focus on refugee issues during and after the war in Croatia. The aim of her project is to try to increase awareness, empathy and a deeper understanding of suffering and losses experienced by different ethnic groups during and after the war in Croatia.
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Dahlia Scheindlin is an international political and strategic consultant whose expertise is public opinion research; she is also an academic and a writer. Ms. Scheindlin is based in Tel Aviv, where she moved from New York City in 1997; she has developed research-based strategy for electoral, social, and corporate campaigns in more than a dozen countries. She is currently a doctoral candidate in political science at Tel Aviv University, researching unrecognized (or de facto) states. Ms. Scheindlin has advised political campaigns on public opinion and strategy since 1999, including four national campaigns in Israel, as well as political and other public campaigns in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Serbia, the USA, Cyprus and Greece. She also works extensively on issues of conflict resolution and human rights; she has conducted extensive research for the government during the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David negotiations in 2000 and currently conducts research and advises a number of peace and human rights groups in Israel. Ms. Scheindlin has contributed opinion articles to major publications and blogs regularly at 972mag.com. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Scheindlin’s project takes up the issue of Palestinian refugees. She seeks to explore fresh ways for Israel to acknowledge and take responsibility for traumas perpetrated on others, and to move the discourse on the topic to the mainstream Israeli public.
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Tammi Sharpe is presently on a sabbatical from the United Nations (UN), serving as a Human Rights Fellow at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) and carrying out independent research on the U.S. Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. The purpose of her research is to examine peacebuilding lessons from U.S. history, focusing on the legacies of slavery and segregation. Prior to her sabbatical, Sharpe worked for fifteen years with the UN in humanitarian protection, promotion of human rights and peace-building. Her main affiliation is with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees but she has also served with the Department of Peacekeeping and the Peacebuilding Support Office. The majority of her service has been in the field serving in: Angola, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She also worked at Headquarters in Geneva and New York. Before joining the UN, she worked on immigration policy in Washington, D.C. and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. Sharpe earned a BA in Political Science from Columbia University and an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. As an AHDA fellow, Ms. Sharpe seeks to develop a project that would enable the BCRI to expand its oral history project to include members of the white community who either actively or passively opposed the Civil Rights Movement.
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Mikang Yang is co-chairperson of the steering committee of the Asia Peace and History Education Network and International History Forum on Peace and History, where she executes various programs in the field of historical reconciliation. She has, for example, developed materials for history classes and various campaigns related to historical matters, and she has conducted programs such as the Youth History Camp with participants from Korea, Japan and China. Dr. Yang’s work in the field history dialogue and history reconciliation also takes up the relationship between Korea, Japan, and China. She currently serves as coordinator for the publication of an alternative textbook available in all three countries entitled History to an Open Future, which is the first collaborative history textbook in East Asia. Previously Yang worked as secretary general of the Korean Council for the drafted Military Sexual Slavery by Japan from 1997-2002. She also serves as senior pastor of the Hanbaik Presbyterian Church, and in 1998 she completed her doctor of ministry degree. As an AHDA fellow, Mikang Yang seeks to develop a methodology for history and peace education that can be applied to different programs promoting historical reconciliation, and that will increase mutual trust among states and citizens in East Asia, where historical dialogue has become increasingly difficult because of territorial conflicts and the prevalence of parochial nationalism.
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Titi Yu is a documentary producer based in New York. She has produced hundreds of hours of documentaries for PBS, HBO, NBC, and History Channel. In her career, Titi has worked with such luminary media figures such as Bill Moyers, Tom Brokaw, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Michael Moore. Documentaries she’s produced have garnered prestigious awards such as the Emmy, Gracie Award, the Headliner Award and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award. Titi holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA in Documentary Film from Emerson College. She is currently the Editorial Producer at Futuro Media Group. The film project Ms. Yu will develop as an AHDA fellow explores what happens when in the aftermath of war, when a beleaguered nation begins the arduous task of building a civic dialogue. Ms. Yu’s film follows a group of Burmese reporters as they become pivotal players in building a newly independent, professional news media. The story examines the larger narrative of journalist and democracy in transition by asking the question, what happens after the revolution is over?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.