Global Governance and Human Security PhD Program

Resources for GGHS PhD community members


Anatole France Pitroipa defended his dissertation titled “Building Tolerance as a Strategy to Mitigate Violent Extremism: The Contribution of UFC to Social Cohesion in Dori” in May 2024.

Ellen Busolo Milimu defended her dissertation titled “In the Margins: An Intersectional Analysis of Sports in Kenya’s Informal Sector” in May 2024.

Dennis Jjuuko defended his dissertation titled “Engaging Survivors in Transnational Justice Governance: Global, National, and Local Perspectives from Uganda’s Post LRA Insurgency” in May 2024. He has experience in transitional justice, governance of security, leadership and development, global governance, and migration, where he has guided policy development and published peer-reviewed work. He is currently a fellow with the African Leadership Center at the King’s College London on the ‘Leading Practitioners’ Program.

Muhammed Mahdi Hasan defended his dissertation, titled “Governing Al: Creation of Norms and Delegation of Authority” in April, 2024.

Paul Yoo defended his dissertation “Neoliberal Youth Security Governance: South Korean Youth, Governmentality, Power Relations, and Shaping Youth (In) Security” in April 2024. His academic work focused on the role of neoliberal, security, and local power relations in shaping how South Korean youth understand their security, identity, and agency.

Denise R. Muro defended her dissertation titled “Navigating Narratives: Immigrant and Refugee Lived Experiences, Counternarratives, and Social Connections in an Era of Securitization of Migration” in March 2024. Denise is passionate about bridge-building and creating opportunities for understanding between groups, and a commitment to equity and social justice has guided her work. She has over ten years of experience working, advocating, and conducting research with immigrant and refugee communities in Colorado, Wyoming, Germany, and Massachusetts. Her research focuses on immigrant and refugee experiences, narratives, and community-building, centering their agency and voices. She is a proud Latina and a first-generation student.

Rebecca Yemo defended her Dissertation “Advancing Women’s Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of The United Nations Universal Periodic Review” in March 2024. Her research and policy interests include compliance with international human rights law and agreements and the role of international organizations in advancing human rights protection and promotion efforts. She currently works with the Massachusetts Business Roundtable as a Policy and Operations Fellow.

Nadezhda Filimonova defended her dissertation “The Practice of Climate Adaptation Governance in Arctic Cities: Understanding Local Policymaking Interactions in Norway and Russia” in November 2022. Her academic work focused on the roles of state-city and city-expert interactions and the impacts of climate change as drivers for local policymaking in municipal solid waste management and urban water management in the Arctic. She is a research fellow at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, and an affiliated scholar at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam.

Balkissa Daouda Diallo defended her dissertation “Governing Global and National Migration Nexuses: The Case of the Niger ‘Transit’ Region.” in May 2023 titled,   Balkissa is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow at the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously, she was a lecturer at the University of Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger.

Polly A. Cegielski defended her dissertation “Security, Gender, and Power: NATO’s Advising Program in Afghanistan” in September 2022. Her academic work focused on the gendered and hierarchized security notions that NATO propagates through its security advising program in Afghanistan. She is currently employed with Booz Allen Hamilton working for the U.S. Army command in Europe. Dr. Cegielski is looking forward to continuing her security research into new areas that deal with such issues as cyber security and advising in the war in Ukraine.

Shelley Brown defended her dissertation “Reframing the Silent Burden of Perinatal Mental Health in South Africa: Applying a Global Health Governance and Human Rights Perspective” in April 2022. Her work focuses on barriers in policy responses, specifically access and identification, related to perinatal mental disorders in South Africa, drawing on human rights and global governance frameworks. Dr. Brown is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University in the Department of Health Sciences, where she teaches Global Health, Health Policy, and Mental Health courses. She recently received seed funding from Boston University’s Center on Forced Displacement to support research on a collaborative project investigating health needs, barriers, and perceptions of health interventions among refugees in greater Athens, Greece.

Safiya K. St. Clair defended her dissertation “Race, Gender, and Peace: How Women’s NGOs Build Peace and Enhance Gender Justice” in Spring 2022. Her academic work focused on the strategies women use to build peace, transform cultures of violence, and create gender justice for underserved groups. She used the skills gained in the GGHS Ph.D. program to land a role as a Senior Manager, Learning and Development in the corporate sector. In June 2022, Dr. St. Clair will launch a blog to help students thrive in graduate school.

Jean-Pierre D. Murray defended his dissertation “The Migration-Security Nexus in South-South Population Flows: Securitization of Haitian Migration in the Dominican Republic” in March 2022. His work focuses on the roles of elite political actors, civil society organizations, and intergovernmental organizations in constructing or contesting narratives of migrants as security threats, and the corresponding extraordinary policy measures toward migrants. Dr. Murray is currently an Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College where he is affiliated with the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies. He was previously a Visiting Lecturer in Political Science at Wellesley College and has also taught in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies, Mona. 

Miranda V. Chase defended her dissertation “Damming Sustainability: How Social and Environmental Networks Influence the Construction and Management of Large Dams in the Amazon Basin” in March 2022. Her work focuses on how local communities in the Amazon region build coalitions with a wide array of diverse partners, and how they become a social movement capable of influencing high-level political spheres. Dr. Chase has been working in the Amazon region since 2011 and her research merges fields such as political science, international relations, political economy, sociology, and sustainability studies. She is currently a Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at San Diego State University.

Charla M. Burnett defended her dissertation titled Evaluating Participatory Mapping for Public Decision-making using SeaSketch in Spring 2022. She is a scholar and practitioner of participatory mapping using geospatial technologies and coordinates multilateral and bilateral international development projects. She currently supports Michigan State University’s International Development Research Agenda as a USAID Proposal Development Specialist for the department of Global Innovations in Development, Engagement, and Scholarship (Global IDEAS) where she facilitates multi-college/industry program design and proposal development.

Chantal Krcmar defended her dissertation titled “Indian Women Construction Workers’ Social Construction of Human Security” in Fall 2021. Dr. Krcmar is currently a full time Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Simmons University. 

Kundan Mishra defended his dissertation in October 2021 titled Distress, Dilemma, Decisons: Household Aspirations and Migration Decisionmaking in Rural India. Kundan is now a Senior Program Officer for South Asia (in Delhi) at the International Development Research Center, working in the area of Democratic and Inclusive Governance.

Sudeshna Chatterjee defended her dissertation titled ‘Gendering Bare Life through Sex Work Governance in India: Rethinking Sexual Labor Precarity and Resistance from the Postcolony’ in July 2021 and currently serves as the Director of Equity and Social Justice at the Town of Reading Massachusetts. Sudeshna is a scholar-practitioner in the field of gender/racial justice and inclusive governance and is active in several DEIA initiatives such as the Racial Equality Task Force at UMass Boston and Boston University’s Center for Anti-Racism Research Affiliate Network Program. 

Adriana Rincon Villegas has an MA from the University of Georgia (USA), and a law degree from Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano (Colombia). Recipient of the UMB-SSRC Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development program award 2017. Her dissertation, defended in May 2021, explores the narratives of gender in the legal discourse of peace in Colombia, titled The Gender of Peace: State Power and Discourse in Colombia (1946-1991). Dr. Rincón received the GGHS Excellence in Dissertation Research Award. She currently resides in Calgary, AB (Canada), where she works as an Instructor at Athabasca University and University of Winnipeg. 

“Lyndsey McMahan defended her dissertation, A Top-Down Approach to Bottom-Up Development: NGO Implementation of Early Childhood Development Programs in Rwanda, in March 2021. She graduated from Boston College with a Master of Social Work in Social Innovation + Leadership and Global Practice. Additionally, she holds a Bachelors in Spanish from Oklahoma State University. Dr. McMahan currently resides in Boston, MA where she works as Director of Inclusive Pedagogy at Boston University School of Social Work. Prior to this role, she was the Assistant Director of Global Field Education at Boston College School of Social Work.”

Eike Schmedt defended his dissertation titled World Heritage Governance Assessing the Influence of Governance Factors on the Protection of Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites in March 2021. Dr. Schmedt received his BA in European ethnology and philosophy from the University of Kiel and his MA in world heritage studies at BTU Cottbus- Senftenberg in Germany. Eike served as Outreach and Funding Coordinator for the Graduate School at Illinois State University. He is currently an Executive Assistant for International Affairs at the Technical University Clausthal in Germany. 

Michael Denney defended his dissertation in 2020. His dissertation was titled Balancing the Environment and Development: Environmental Reform and Mainstreaming at the World Bank Ethiopia Country Office. Dr. Denney currently resides in Providence, RI where he works as Philanthropy Officer at Care New England hospital system.

Christopher C. Graham Christopher Graham defended his dissertation in 2019. His dissertation was titled The Political Economy of Migration Governance: How Political Actors, Networks, Institutions, and Policies Impact the Migration-Development Nexus in the Global South. He is an Associate Adjunct Professor at Fisher College, Boston, MA. 

Timothy Adivilah Balag’kutu defended his dissertation in 2019.  His dissertation was titled “From Minamata To Mines in Ghana: A Cross-Scale Study on Global Governance of Mercury Use in  Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining”.  Dr. Adivilah Balag’kutu is a Lecturer and faculty member at the Center for Peace and Security at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). He is also a Research Fellow with Earth System Governance, as well as member of the Canadian Journal of African Studies’ Editorial Advisory Board, Future Earth Early Career Network of Networks Council, and ORCID Researcher Advisory Council (ORAC). 

Charles Brackett defended his dissertation in 2019. His dissertation was titled The Rise And Rise of The Criminal Record: Power, Order And Safety in The United States 1848-1960. Dr. Brackett is currently an Associate Director in charge of Project Management for New Ventures at Year Up, a national nonprofit serving Opportunity Youth. 

Abigail Kabandula defended her dissertation in 2019.  Her dissertation was titled The Governance of Transnational Security Threats in Fragile States: The Case of the African Union (AMISOM) 2007 – 2017. Dr. Kabandula is a Research Scientist at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures and Adjunct Professor of international politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She holds dual master’s Degrees in Global Governance and Human Security from UMass Boston, and Historical Studies from the University of Cape Town.

Bharathi Radhakrishnan defended her dissertation in 2019.  Her dissertation was titled Understanding Gender And Access to Health Care For Resettled Women In Post-war Northern Sri Lanka Through Intersectionality. Dr. Radhakrishnan is currently a Researcher for Peace, Conflict, and Governance at Mercy Corps. She was previously Program Manager for the Gender, Rights, and Resilience (GR2) Program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Aamer Raza defended his dissertation in 2019. Dr. Raza is now an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Peshawar, in Peshawar Pakistan. His dissertation was titled “The Effects of Issue-Area Governance Overlap on the Institutions of Multilateral Counterterrorism Cooperation.”

Jason McSparren defended his dissertation in 2019 and is currently the 2021-2022 Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Providence College, Vice President of Research and Grant Writing at The Green Institute (, and Curriculum Advisor for this year’s Schifa, titled, Science, Faith and Innovation for Human Dignity at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha ( Dr. McSparren did his Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at the West Africa Research Association (WARA) at Boston University. His dissertation was titled Seeking a Nexus between Transparency, Accountability and Sustainable Development in the Extractive Industries: Analysis of the Mali Extractive Industries

Deborah McFee defended her dissertation in 2019 and is currently the Outreach and Research Officer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies. St Augustine. Dr. McFee’s dissertation was titled Global Governance and the Post-Colonial Nation State: Women, Gender, and Public Opinion in Public Policymaking in Trinidad & Tobago 1956-2005

Theresa Sommers defended her dissertation in 2018 and is currently the Senior Manager of Research on the Vaccine Acceptance and Demand Initiative at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, DC. Previously, Dr. Sommers worked as the Project Manager for USAID One Health Workforce Project/Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. The title of Dr. Sommers’ dissertation is, “We Want to Be Free:” A Qualitative Examination of Migration as a Social Determinant of Health for Youth, Cross-Border Migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa 

Gabriela Bueno Gibbs defended her dissertation in 2018, which was titled “The Institutional Landscape of International Forest Protection: Understanding Institutional Complexity in International Forest Governance.” Dr. Gibbs is currently working as Acquisitions Assistant at The MIT Press. During her doctorate, she also worked as a managing editor for the Global Leadership Dialogues Series, published by the Center for Governance and Sustainability at UMass Boston. She holds an LL.M. graduate degree from the Yale Law School and another one from the University of São Paulo.

Jamie Hagen defended her dissertation on “Queering Women, Peace and Security” in 2018, subsequently winning the prestigious International Studies Association’s James N. Rosenau Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Her research bridges a feminist security studies approach with queer theory to offer a more complete gender analysis of how the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolutions impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people living in conflict-related environments.  Her 2022-2023 British Academy Innovation Fellowship analyzes how the participation of LBTQ women can be improved in peacebuilding processes. Partners on the project include Anupama Ranawana at Christian Aid UK, Colombia Diversa and Christian Aid Colombia who together are focusing on the participation of LBTQ women in Colombia’s first WPS National Action Plan for the implementation of UN SCR 1325 in Colombia. Dr. Hagen was a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Women, Peace and Security Centre in 2019 and is an affiliated scholar with the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict at Cornell University for fall 2023.

Yuliya Rashchupkina defended her dissertation,  “Mainstreaming Climate Change in Development: The Evolution of Discourse,” in 2018. After teaching in the Boston area at Babson College and Suffolk University, Dr. Rashchupkina is now an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Modupe Oshikoya defended her dissertation in 2018titled: Exploring the impact of insurgencies on gender-based violence and the Nigerian armed forces: The Boko Haram Case. Dr. Oshikoya is a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Wesleyan University.

Jeremiah O. Asaka defended his dissertation in 2017, titled: Transformations in conservation governance and implications for human security: the case of Kenya’s northern rangelands. Dr. Asaka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University, Texas.

Jinyoung Kang defended her dissertation titled The Emergence of Private Governance in a Nonwestern Context: The case of South Korea in 2017. Professor Kang teaches sustainability as an assistant professor at Loyola University Maryland. 

Jay Jinseop Jang defended his dissertation titled Human-Centric National Security in Strong States: South Korea’s Security Relations with North Korea. He is a senior fellow at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, UMass Boston. He is also the founder of Educational Divide Reform Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiming to contribute to social inclusion and community development through youth education, particularly for underserved communities. He is also the President of Boston Korean Business Association as well as the Vice President of Korea Association of Military Studies.

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy defended her dissertation in 2017 titled Environment, States and International Organizations: The Role of Global Environmental Conventions in Protecting the Environment. Dr. Escobar-Pemberthy is currently an Assistant Professor at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín (Colombia). 

Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra defended his dissertation titled “Kashmir as a Protracted Social Conflict: Examining the Role of Non-State Actors in the Policy-making Process” in 2016. His dissertation was published as a book by the Cambridge University Press. Dr. Mahapatra is currently a Professor of Political Science at Florida State College in Jacksonville. 

Negusu Aklilu defended his dissertation “What explains the behavior of Chinese companies in Africa: Exploring the nature of African agency in FOCAC platforms and on the ground” in March 2023. His academic work focused on the role of African agency in influencing Chinese companies. The research involved an investigation of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework in terms of how environmental cooperation is conceptualized under the cooperation framework and how different agents have been exercising agency to shape environmental agenda setting and decision making in the process. The research also looked at Chinese environmental footprint in Africa and deeply explored a case study in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit System, to understand mechanisms that shape Chinese companies in Africa. Negusu is currently a dialogue facilitator and founder & coordinator of the Destiny Ethiopia Initiative that has facilitated a groundbreaking scenario building process for Ethiopia and has led and conducted several high-level political dialogues aimed at promoting conflict transformation and durable peace in Ethiopia.

Wondwossen Sintayehu Wondemagegnehu defended his dissertation “Complexity at the science-policy interface in Ethiopia’s policy spaces” in March 2023. His work focuses on the dynamics of science-policy-practice, the interplay among discourses, structures, power relations, and human agency within complex policy processes, and the various pathways through which knowledge is accessed or resisted. Dr Wondwossen is currently an advisor to the African Group of Negotiators  and a negotiator on a range of environmental issues which includes the recently launched intergovernmental negotiation process on the Science-Policy Panel to support action on chemicals, waste, and pollution. He was previously a judge at the federal court in Ethiopia, and later joined the Environmental Protection Authority as Director of Policy and Legislations.

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