Tawnni Castaño de la Cuesta holds a BA Honours degree in Global Justice and a minor in World Politics from Leiden University College The Hague. She is currently a LLB for Graduates student at the University of Birmingham. Tawnni’s bachelor thesis focussed on international law and the use and regulation of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) participating in anti-piracy operations. She is interested in peace and conflict studies, international humanitarian law and human rights law, in particular with respect to Non-State Actors during conflicts. At the ICCS, Tawnni is working with Dr. Giuditta Fontana on a project regarding education and peace in deeply divided societies with the Netherlands as a case study.
Diana Dascalu is an undergraduate student in Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She spent a year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied Political Science. While in the United States, she completed an internship with the Cline Center for Democracy, where she researched ethnic and religious groups from around the world and conducted a preliminary analysis on the topic of sub-state violence as a result of demographic change and inconsistency in social status. She is interested in conflict, particularly terrorism, and is planning on starting a Master’s in International Security in the fall of 2017. At the ICCS, she is working with Dr. Nicholas Wright on the Psychology in Gray Zone Conflicts project.
Kiran Manku is on the MSc International Development course, following her undergraduate degree in Psychology with Year Abroad. She is interested in the development of minority groups and group cohesion, but also decision-making and international relations. Kiran has previously completed research on political ideology, moral foundations, and prejudice.
Fadhila Inas Pratiwi is currently studying an MA International Relations (Security) at University of Birmingham and holds a bachelor degree in International Relations from Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia. She is interested in foreign policy making process which part of her undergraduate dissertation, she also focuses on conflict and terrorism studies, and international security studies. Right now, she is working with Dr. Nicholas Wright in The Psychology in Gray Zone Conflicts project.
Olga Pyshkina is a Chevening Scholar, currently studying for a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in the International Development Department (IDD) the University of Birmingham. Her research interests focus mainly on the foreign policy of Russia, its previous and current relations with the West, as well as the influence, ideology and role of the Russian Orthodox Church in domestic policy and international relations. She holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the State Saint-Petersburg University of Economics and Finance (Russia). During her studies she has also received experience with simulations, attending Model UN in Saint -Petersburg, Russia.
Jessica Rowley is currently an MA International Relations student at the University of Birmingham with a BA History from the same university. After undertaking research on the politics of representation she is now interested in pursuing research on the continued impact Cold War constructions of security on international security regimes, transnational terrorism, and U.S. attempts to democratise the Middle East. After completing her studies, she aims to work within an independent policy institute on international defence and security with a view to later pursuing a career in diplomatic service. She is currently working with Dr Eszter Simon on a project investigating the Moscow- Washington Hotline as a trust institution seeking to determine whether the Hotline can offer trust for leaders in crises and also beyond the emergency circumstances for which it was created
Anatolijs Torbenko is currently studying an MSc in Global Cooperation and Security within the School of Government and Society at the University of Birmingham. Holding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Economics, obtained at Pskov State University (Russia), his research interests are connected to the role of political, economic and social institutions in developing trust and cooperation in the Central and Eastern Europe.
Eleanor Smith recently completed an MSc in International Public Policy at UCL, where her interests included post-war development and the governance of divided societies. Her dissertation examined economic policy in post-conflict de facto states. Eleanor also holds a BA in History with Spanish from UCL, during which she focussed on modern history, ranging from American progressivism to inter-war Eastern Europe. At the ICCS, Eleanor is working with Professor Paul Jackson on a paper examining violence in post-peace agreement Nepal.
Mariama Hassan-Balogun is currently studying an MSc in Global Cooperation and Security within POLSIS at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include Terrorism and Social Justice; she is currently researching rising islamophobia in the UK and how it links to radicalisation.
Federica de Pantz holds an MA and an undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Bologna. While her undergraduate major was in Sociology, she focused on International Relations of East Asia during her Master’s, and completed a dissertation on the international role of South Korea as a Middle Power. At the ICCS, Federica is working with Professor Nicholas Wheeler on a research project investigating the role of trust in the case of South Korea’s international relations. She is also editing the ICCS Blog with articles on such topics
Charles Sainsbury is a graduate of International Relations with Political Science at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include European security and critical security theory and he plans on studying an MA in International Relations in the future. He is currently working with Professor Mark Webber researching NATO discourses on Russia and Ukraine and on debates surrounding British defence expenditure.
Paula Stoleru is a graduate of International Relations with Political Science and currently completing an MA in International Relations (International Peacekeeping) at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on human trafficking and gender based violence in crisis situations. Other research interests include Securitisation theory, with a particular focus on the Securitisation of migration. After participating in the ICCS Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme, Paula has undertaken a work placement at the institute. She is currently working with Dr Dawn Walsh researching the frozen conflict between Moldova and Transnistria.
Hannah Caswell holds an LLB Honours in Law from the University of Warwick and has recently completed an MA in International Relations (Security) at the University of Birmingham. She focused her post-graduate studies on issues of civil war, state-building and post-conflict peacebuilding in the African region and this is where her current interests continue to lie. Actively involved in the Institute, she is attached to the state-building and intervention research cluster . Hannah was a project officer supporting the Institute’s first Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme. For this she undertook the production of a thorough preparation handbook for the events participants, in addition to logistics for the event. She is also sub-editor on the Institute’s bi-annual publication and has been responsible for collating and designing the news and events section of the publication.
Simon Copeland completed an MA in International Security Studies and an undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Leicester. He has been actively involved in a number of projects at the ICCS, including rapporteur work to produce an official policy report for the workshop 'NATO and Emerging Security Challenges; Researching for a key development policy report 'Decentralisation, Peace agreements and Post-conflict reconstruction' and undertaking rapporteur work for the workshop 'Responding to Uprising: Urban Security between Resilience and Resistance'.
Scott Edwards completed an MA in International relations (Asia-Pacific) at the University of Birmingham and an undergraduate degree in History and International Relations at Coventry University. He is currently working on his PhD proposals and finalising his contributions as a country assessor for two countries in Transparency International’s Government and Defence Anti-Corruption report.
Nawaz Hanif is a graduate of International Relations and Politics and is currently completing his Masters in Security Studies at the University of Birmingham. His current research explores ontological inquiries of drone technology and covert warfare and how potential changes may be affecting military and media narratives. Nawaz is a former Death Penalty Investigator at the legal action charity REPRIEVE, primarily investigating torture and drug trafficking. He was often drafted to undertake desk-based research around covert drone warfare in Pakistan and facilitated a surprise visit to Pakistan by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights in Spring 2013. At the ICCS, Nawaz is assisting the team working on The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States."
Richard Judd completed an MA in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and an undergraduate degree in International Relations of the University of the West of England. His research focuses are on Security and Development and Conflict Transformation. Richard is attached to both the Cooperation and Trust-building cluster, and the State-building and Intervention cluster. His current projects include working with the Institute’s Director, Professor Nick Wheeler, on Trustbuilding in Iran, undertaking intensive research into the Obama Administration’s outreach to Iran and also working with Professor Paul Jackson on a research project looking at reintegration of Maoist Combatants in Nepal. For this project Richard is undertaking systematic research on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.
George May is currently studying an MA International Relations (Security) and completed his undergraduate degree in Politics and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and the National University of Singapore. He is involved in research being undertaken by the ICCS into the Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States, specifically the relationships between the US, the Yemeni government and sub-state groups operating in Yemen. He is more generally interested in research projects examining security threats emerging from new technologies.
Natalie Palmer is currently studying for MA in International Relations (Diplomacy) at the University of Birmingham and holds an undergraduate degree in Transatlantic Studies and International Relations from the University of Dundee. Her current research focus is the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, primarily looking at the constraints and credibility of the foreign and security policy of an independent Scotland, in comparison with the foreign and security policies of the Nordic states. Having participated in the ICCS Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation training programme in April 2014, Natalie has now joined the Institute on a work experience placement. Natalie has considerable experience with simulations, attending Model UN and Model NATO conferences as both a chair and a delegate. Therefore, her research within the Institute is focused upon formulating the simulation aspect for the 2015 training programme, including finding a suitable topic and forum upon which to model the simulation.
Joanna Skelt recently completed her PhD thesis on ‘The Social Function of Writing in Post-war Sierra Leone: Poetry as a Discourse for Peace’ at the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham. She is working on the development of an interdisciplinary Creativity and Conflict Transformation programme for the ICCS. This will explore how creative narratives and the process of participation and production of such narratives aid our understanding of conflict and contribute to its transformation and will include case studies in varied settings. Jo has worked as an educational author writing citizenship and social studies materials in West Africa and the UK and is also a creative writer. Most recently she has worked on projects combining literature, community engagement and social cohesion in Birmingham.
Rudi Vrabel is a postgraduate student of International Political Economy with an interest in forging links between political economy and the field of security. During his undergraduate studies he was interested in the increasing link between security and economic development in Afghanistan, and particularly the relationship between NATO and the World Bank, which he also published on during one of his professional experiences. Whilst at the institute Rudi has analysed the issue of cooperation in international finance, where traditional entrepreneurial conflict and (in)security in the markets are increasingly becoming accompanied by unwanted collaboration among interconnected and loosely regulated private international financial institutions. Rudi’s work was published on the institute’s blog as well as in a Slovak financial newspaper. He has recently secured a position of junior financial analyst, where he continues to analyze trends in political economy and finance.
Véronique Rodriguez Perez is currently studying for an MA in International Relations (Security) within POLSIS, and completed a BA in International Relations at the University of Geneva. She is currently supporting two research projects on transitional justice and terrorism. She has developed a strong interest in researching the root causes of terrorism as well as the privatisation of security.