Meet our team

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NGO Management Team

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Pamina Firchow

Founding Executive Director

Dr. Pamina Firchow is Associate Professor in the Conflict Resolution and Coexistence program within the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Her research interests include political violence, transitional justice (especially victim reparations), reconciliation and peacebuilding. In particular, she is interested in the study of the ‘local turn’ in peacebuilding and the international accompaniment of communities affected by mass violence. Before entering academia, Firchow worked on the worldwide campaign to stop the spread of illicit small arms and light weapons. She can be contacted at Pamina.Firchow@gmail.com. More can be found on her website at paminafirchow.org.

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Roger Mac Ginty

Chairman of the Board

Dr. Roger Mac Ginty is Professor at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. He is Director of the Durham Global Security Institute (DGSi). With Professor Pamina Firchow, he founded Everyday Peace Indicators. Mac Ginty edits the journal Peacebuilding (with Oliver Richmond) and edits the book series ‘Rethinking Political Violence’. His main academic interest is in the interfaces between top-down and bottom-up approaches to peace. His latest book is "Everyday Peace: How so-called ordinary people can disrupt violent conflict" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021). More can be found on his website at rogermacginty.com.

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Peter Dixon

Research Scientist 

Dr. Peter Dixon is a Research Scientist at the Conflict Resolution and Coexistence (COEX) program at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Co-Principal Investigator on the Everyday Justice project. His main research interests are in transitional justice, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and political violence, particularly in how people’s everyday experiences during and after conflict enable or limit transformative solutions. Previously, he worked at the UN and International Criminal Court. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California. peterdixon.org.

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Jeremy Sinensky

Operations Manager

Prior to joining the EPI team, Jeremy Sinensky served as Budgets and Contracts Coordinator with World Learning’s Department of State-funded Youth Exchange, creating and managing financial and compliance systems, while overseeing partnerships and grant implementation. He maintains ten years of experience serving as both a program administrator and facilitator with NGOs, supporting peacebuilding endeavors in Ghana, Iraq, Liberia, Mexico, and Poland through diplomacy and international exchange programs. Jeremy holds a Master’s degree in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from the SIT Graduate Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing from Binghamton University.

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Khaled Sakr

Operations Manager

Khaled Sakr is an educator with over 15 years of experience in different educational contexts. As a corporate Learning and Development Manager, he led teams of facilitators in designing and delivering training programs focused on cross-cultural communication and emotional intelligence. After the 2011 revolution in Egypt, Khaled left the corporate world to focus on peace education specifically with NGOs that specialize in implementing training and development programs that tackle cultural, social, and political issues in Egypt. His work with cultural minorities and exposure to their struggles brought up questions about identity-based conflict that led Khaled to Brandeis University where he worked as a research and teaching assistant while doing his MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence and MA in Sustainable International Development. Khaled is working towards his goal of obtaining a Ph.D. to help make an impact on the lives of cultural minorities.

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Lindsay McClain Opiyo

Board Member

Lindsay McClain Opiyo is the Development and Partnerships Director and US Representative of Generations for Peace (GFP). She served as EPI’s first coordinator from 2013-2015. She has more than a decade of experience working with NGOs, universities and conflict-affected communities in Uganda, Jordan, South Africa and the United States in programmatic, research, communications and fundraising roles. Her thematic expertise includes music and peacebuilding, community-centered transitional justice, gender justice, children born of war/conflict sexual violence, and youth-led peacebuilding. She holds a Master’s degree in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, USA, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, USA.

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Naomi Levy

Board Member

Dr. Naomi Levy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Santa Clara University. She specializes in post-conflict statebuilding, and is particularly interested in the relationship between ordinary citizens and the state. Her work asks how individuals’ understandings of their various political identities are shaped by the state’s delivery of public services, and, in turn, how these understandings affect inter-group dynamics and state legitimacy. She also includes methodological questions as part of her scholarly pursuits. Levy received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and also holds an MA in Social Sciences of Education from Stanford University School of Education.

Research Management Team

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Abida Pehlic

Research Associate

Abida Pehlic is a human rights activists specialized in prevention of human trafficking and gender-based violence. She holds a Master's Degree in Sociology and a Master's Degree in German Language and Literature. She is a co-founder and the President of the Association „Novi put“ based in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the GMMP (Global Media Monitoring Program) National Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Abida has more than 25 years of work experience, mostly in international teams. She has been developing and managing comprehensive programs and projects focused on protection of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina involving multiple governmental, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders. Her research interests include human trafficking, gender-based violence and gender portrayal in the media.

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Daniel Ortega

Research Associate

Daniel Ortega is a Sociologist and holds a master's in Political Science from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. His research interests are armed conflict, peacebuilding, historical memory, and social movements. He has worked with different civil society organizations around the strengthening of social organizations and the implementation of the Peace Accords in Colombia. 

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Edwin Cubillos

Photovoice Coordinator

Edwin Cubillos is a human rights activist, photographer and cultural manager. He was trained as a professional in Social Work and holds a Master's degree in Cultural Studies from the Universidad Nacional. He has taught courses on human rights in the Department of Social Work at the Universidad Nacional. Edwin was a researcher in the Communication, Culture and Citizenship group and member of the Communication Thinking Center of the Institute of Political Studies and International Relations - IEPRI with several publications and exhibitions related to photography, memory and human rights. He has worked as national project advisor for the Ministry of Culture, culture manager for the Secretary of Culture of Bogota and coordinator of the area of Education and Culture of the National Museum of Memory of the CNMH, directing projects of symbolic reparation from art throughout the country.

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Eliza Urwin

Research Associate

Eliza Urwin is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where her research focuses on forms of cooperation and resistance in areas of conflict and contested authority. From 2013 until 2017 Eliza lived in Afghanistan, working as a Senior Program Officer for the United States Institute of Peace. There, she managed a portfolio of peacebuilding research and programming, piloting projects and exploring research methods for evaluating peacebuilding effectiveness. Eliza holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Paris, and a BA from Concordia University in Montreal and the American University in Cairo.

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Fiorella Vera-Adrianzén

Research Associate

Fiorella Vera-Adrianzén is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Mexico and a Research Associate at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Her research examines how local politics and victim participation affect the implementation and effectiveness of post-conflict reparative justice. As an Inter-American Foundation and Fulbright-Hays Fellow, she has conducted participatory research within conflict-afflicted Quechua communities in Peru. She received a M.A. and a B.A. in Political Science from UNM and attended law school at the Peruvian Universidad Católica. She has worked with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the NM Immigrant Law Center, and Catholic Charities, supporting immigrant communities.

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Jessica Smith

Research Coordinator

Dr. Jessica Smith is the Research and Policy Manager at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Her research focuses on women’s experiences of agency in conflict-affected contexts, specifically how the principles of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda translate and become meaningful to local actors. She is interested in how EPI can be used to strengthen efforts to localize the WPS agenda. Jessica completed her PhD at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and has a decade of research experience working on gender-related issues with women in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indonesia, Jordan and the United States. She has worked in various capacities for the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities, the United Nations, the US Institute of Peace, and USAID. 

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Julianne Funk

Research Coordinator

Dr. Julianne Funk is a Research Fellow at the South-East Europe Programme of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Greece. She has a PhD in social sciences and an MA in conflict and sustainable peace from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium. Bringing together peace research and peacebuilding praxis, Julianne has worked extensively with local organizations and projects in Yugoslavia’s successor states, writing, speaking and publishing about the successes of less visible initiatives. Her peace research and praxis is focuses on religions in conflict and peacebuilding (e.g. Balkan Islam, engaged Buddhism and various Christian traditions) and trauma-sensitive peace practices.

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Kate Lonergan

Research Associate

Kate Lonergan is a PhD Candidate with the Department of Peace and Conflict Research and the Hugo Valentin Centre at Uppsala University, and conducts research focused on reconciliation and peacebuilding after conflict and mass violence. Kate has a Master’s degree from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow. Kate has previously worked with the World Bank on justice and development issues, and conducted research on community reintegration of ex-combatants in northern Uganda. She has also worked with community conflict resolution and restorative justice initiatives in the Washington, DC area.

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Leslie MacColman

Research Coordinator

Dr. Leslie MacColman earned a PhD in Sociology & Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 2020 and is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on violence, policing, public sector corruption, and local dynamics of conflict and social change, particularly in Latin America. Leslie holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Montana - Missoula and an M.A. in International Relations, Peace, and Conflict Studies from the Universidad del Salvador - Argentina, where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow. She has also worked with numerous rights-based NGOs and development agencies, including ACIJ, FARN, ActionAid, FAO, and World Learning. 

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Miranda Pursley

Research Assistant

Miranda is a teaching and research assistant at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Prior to her work with EPI, she designed and implemented outreach events for NGOs and activist groups in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. Her primary research interests include human security, peacebuilding and the conflict-health nexus. She is currently completing an MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence and an MS in Global Health Policy and Management.

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Oscar Vargas

Research Associate

Oscar Vargas is a researcher who works on memorialization, land conflicts and rural processes of land related issues. He has worked with state and private entities linked to transitional processes (Land Restitution Unit, Historical Memory Center), clarification of rural land issues (National Land Agency) and in university teaching (Universidad de la Sabana). He holds a Master's degree in Anthropology and a Bachelor's degree in History from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

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Rosario Arias

Research Associate

Rosario Arias Callejas is an historian from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and has accompanied processes and research in collective memory, oral history, life histories and archives of social movements. She has worked in peacebuilding, land related development projects, cultural projects, human rights archives and knowledge management.  She holds a Master's degree in Social Studies from the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional and a Master's degree in Historical Archiving and Memory from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. She has been accompanying EPI processes in Colombia since 2016.

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Shruthi De Visser

Research Associate

Shruthi De Visser has worked in both the government and non-profit sector as a researcher, activist and consultant focusing on the areas of reconciliation, gender and politics. Shruthi has a Bachelors in Political Science from Gordon College in the United States and a Masters in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Shruthi‘s research has focussed on Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice, specifically Reparations. Her more recent research work has centered on the formal political experiences of Tamil women in Northern Sri Lanka. Shruthi is especially interested in using an intersectional lens with a focus on gender in all her research work.

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Sol Rivera

Research Associate

Sol Rivera is a sociologist from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia with expertise in gender and feminist studies. She has been a researcher at various institutions such as the National Center for Historical Memory, the Truth Commission, and different civil society organizations. Sol has conducted research on the history of Colombian guerrillas, paramilitarism, the relationship between art and politics, and the human rights conditions in the country. She has experience in projects on historical memory, political participation, and the implementation of the Peace Accords in Colombia. Sol is interested in the construction of historical memory through art and culture, research on the Colombian armed conflict, and peace building.

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Tyler Rossi

Research Assistant

Tyler Rossi is a graduate student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University currently completing dual Masters in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence and in Sustainable International Development. Concurrently Tyler serves as Director of Foundation Relations for Rwanda Youth Partnership and assists in building the capacity of their Rwandan partners. Prior to Brandeis, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of North Macedonia he designed and implemented youth employment and community development projects. He also attained a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC. His current research interests include conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and the impact of historic violence on multiethnic societies.

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Tiffany Fairey

Photovoice Associate

Dr. Tiffany Fairey is a visual sociologist and Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow based in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.  Co-Founder of the award-winning charity PhotoVoice, Fairey has over 20 years of experience of working on participatory photography and photovoice projects around the world.  She is a specialist in participatory visual methods and community photography histories, pedagogies, ethics and impact.  Her current research, Imaging Peace, focuses on the role of images and image-making in building peace and dialogue. In recent years she has worked on the major interdisciplinary research project Art & Reconciliation and Izazov, a Changing the Story project with young Bosnian film-makers.  In 2019 she co-edited a Special Issue of the journal Photography & Culture, Photography As Dialogue. Her work has been recognised with various awards including the Royal Photographic Society’s Hood Medal for outstanding advance in photography for public service (2010). 

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Yvette Selim

Research Advisor

Dr. Yvette Selim is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests include transitional justice, victims' rights, participation, development and peacebuilding. Yvette has worked with numerous rights-based NGOs and development agencies, including the International Development Law Organization, the Australian Human Rights Centre, Anti-Slavery Australia, The Asia Foundation, and the Centre for International Cooperation and Security. She was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford and the Australian National University. She holds a PhD in International Studies from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), an MA in Conflict Resolution (University of Bradford), an MA in Bioethics (Monash), a Bachelor of Laws (UNSW), and a Bachelor of Medical Science (UNSW).

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Zahrah Rizwan

Research Associate

Zahrah Rizwan is a feminist researcher with a background in advocacy and communications in the the non-profit sector of Sri Lanka. She functions as an Advisor at FRIDA, the Feminist Fund; and is a part of local youth activist groups such as Hashtag Generation and Sisterhood Initiative. Zahrah holds a B.A. (Hons) University of Colombo and a Bachelors in Business, Australia; and is currently pursuing her Masters in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Colombo. Her research interests include taking an intersectional lens to exploring sex work, night economies, violence and mental health in Sri Lanka.

Colombia Team

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Sri Lanka Team

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EPI Team Photo (December 2020)

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Mostar Team

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