I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science, specializing in international relations and African studies, at Barnard College, Columbia University (USA). I work on civil wars, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and African politics.
My current research project examines how everyday elements influence peacebuilding interventions on the ground. I conducted extensive fieldwork for this project between 2010 and 2012, with a primary case study on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and comparative research in Burundi, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Preliminary findings from this project have appeared in Critique Internationale and African Affairs (the latter piece won the 2012 Best Article award from the African Politics Conference Group). The book based on this research, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention, has just been released by Cambridge University Press.
My previous research project focused on local violence and international intervention in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where I have travelled regularly since 2001. It culminated in a book, entitled The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge University Press, 2010). The book won the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the 2011 Chadwick Alger Prize presented by the International Studies Association to the best book on international organizations and multilateralism. Research for this project has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Organization, the Review of African Political Economy, the African Studies Review, the African Security Review, the Revista de Relaciones Internationales, and the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.
My research has won numerous other prizes and fellowships, including two research awards from the United States Institute of Peace (2004-2005 and 2010-2012), two Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation research grants (2010 and 2011), a Presidential research award from Barnard College (2010), several grants from Columbia University (2010 – 2013), two Mellon Fellowships in Security and Humanitarian Action (2004-2006), the 2006 best graduate student paper award from the African Studies Association, and a Fulbright Fellowship (1999-2000).
Before becoming an academic, I worked for humanitarian and development agencies in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, and India. I hold a post-doctorate from Yale University (2007), a Ph.D. in political science from New York University (2006), and M.A.s in political science and international relations from Columbia University (2000) and Sciences Po (France, 1999).