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On April 1st, three of our graduating Global Studies MA students who are also Rotary Peace Fellows presented their research at Bridging Divides: Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center Spring Conference.


nitsovaSilviya Nitsova presented research on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, based on fieldwork she did in Ukraine last summer (with the assistance of a Global Studies Summer Grant). Silviya focused on the initial stages of the conflict and more specifically on the domestic sources of the Donbas rebellion. Her argument claimed the three most important determinants of the rebellion were people’s fears for physical safety and cultural status, the role of the regional political and economic elite and the coercive failure of the central state.

Santibanez smallBarbara Santibanez
’s work centered on human rights education as both a theory and a practice that has the potential to foster critical reflection in society. She argues that this approach is needed to generate profound social change ranging from the individual to the larger community. Its aim is to prevent future human rights abuses and to improve the human condition.



Maja smallMaja Muminagic examined the contested Loyalist and Nationalist identities in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the way in which these identities are articulated, culturally and symbolically, and reflected in the landscape of the city. It revealed diverging narratives, and through them, the citizens’ deepest fears and insecurities, and the reasons why the ethno-sectarian divisions in Belfast continue to persist. Maja hopes that her research will benefit practitioners in peace building and conflict resolution by demonstrating the symbolic dimensions of conflicts and developing innovative approaches to building peace.