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Students & Alumni

PCS students and Swarthmore alumni apply their interests and knowledge in service, research, vocation, and further education.

Nida Atshan '12

Nida Atshan '12Nida Atshan '12 is spending her 2010 summer in Washington, D.C. working with two programs. She is participating in the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP) Sophomore Summer Policy Institute at Howard University. (Nida was recently awarded an IIPP Fellowship which provides minority students with multiple years of support to attend graduate school in international affairs). She is also interning at the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), a D.C.-based think tank devoted to rigorous research on the needs of women across the globe, and Nida is specifically working on issues of Middle Eastern women's empowerment.

Lauren Stern '12

Lauren Stern '12 has been awarded an S2A2 grant from the Lang Center to serve as an unpaid intern with the Jewish Dialogue Group in Philadelphia. She will help to create a publication about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Jewish organizations and individuals around the U.S. She hopes to address how Jews can systematically consider how to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the most effective and ethical ways possible (through advocacy, education, financial donations, direct service, direct action, and other means). Stern's two main tasks will be to research questions about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, analyze the current situation from multiple ideological perspectives, and conduct and summarize interviews with activists, teachers, and scholars from a wide range of perspectives. Next year, Lauren will study in Israel, where she plans  to serve another non-profit organization and continue to examine both the conflict and Jewish identity constructed in relation to it. She hopes to use both these experiences to contrast and understand the conflict from the angle of organizations centered around peace, dialogue, and identity.

Kevin Kim '10 will teach human rights and justice

Kevin Kim '10In mid June Kevin will be going to Princeton where he has been hired by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins as a teacher's assistant for a course on human rights and justice . 

Kevin has also been chosen by the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNAUSA) to help staff their upcoming middle school and high school conferences at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In mid April, he will be serving as the Director for the IAEA event, where middle school students from around the world will be debating the issue of securing nuclear materials. Then in mid-May I'll be serving as the Director for the WFP event, where high school students will debate issues concerning malnutrition.


Ivan Boothe ‘05 joined the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association

Ivan Boothe 05Ivan Boothe '05 splits his time between the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Casino-Free Philadelphia. At FOR, he is the online communications manager, writing emails and action alerts to members and redeveloping FOR's website. At Casino-Free Philly, Ivan is an organizer who has led trainings in nonviolent direct action, as well as maintaining the group's website and presence on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. He is the co-organizer of Philadelphia NetSquared, which brings together nonprofits, activists and techies to develop connections between the social web and social change. He is the social networking chair on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and serves on the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize nominating committee.

Jennifer Trinh '11 founded the student group SwatCambodia

Jennifer Trinh '11Jennifer Trinh '11 founded the student group SwatCambodia two years ago to provide information about the country's recent past and to raise money and build houses for homeless families there. Read more about SwatCambodia.


Samia Abbass '11 is participating in the college's Northern Ireland Semester in Derry / Londonderry this fall.

Students in the program are enrolled at the University of Ulster and Samia is taking classes on international politics, and the government and politics of Northern Ireland. In addition to attending lectures and trips organized by the program's field directors, she is also interning with Swarthmore professor Teya Sepinuck on the Theatre of Witness production that will premier in October at the Playhouse. Developed by Teya, Theatre of Witness is an innovative style of multimedia dramatic production that bridges theatre and social justice by giving the victims of conflict and trauma a voice, and allowing them to bear witness to their suffering. An avid photographer, Samia is also working on a research project with Prof. Lee Smithey and Prof. Gregory Maney (Hofstra University) to map and analyze changing themes and placement of murals in West Belfast.

Amy Kapit '06 is pursuing a Ph.D. in International Education with an emphasis in identity, political preferences, and peace education

Amy Kapit '06Amy Kapit '06 is now in the second year of her PhD program, studying International Education at New York University. Along with working as a teaching assistant and a research assistant, she is developing her dissertation proposal and looking into researching the relationship between identity and political preferences, primarily as they relate to support for particular foreign policies. She is also interested in the way that peace education programs and intra-communal dialogue and debate can influence this relationship. Amy plans to focus her research on the Middle East.

Sa'ed Atshan '06 is a lecturer in peace and justice studies at Tufts University

Saed Atshan 06Sa'ed is a joint doctoral candidate in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University. He received an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008, where he was a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, chair of student government elections, and class marshal. He also received his BA fromSwarthmore College in 2006, where he was a Lang Scholar, Mellon Fellow, student government representative, and a visiting student at the American University inCairo and the American University in Beirut. Sa'ed has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the UN High Commission on Refugees, Human Rights Watch, Seeds of Peace, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai. He is presently a lecturer in peace and justice studies at Tufts University, and he is a three-time recipient of distinction awards from Harvard for his work as a head teaching fellow there. Sa'ed was born in the US to a Palestinian refugee family, and was raised in theOccupied Territories. He plans a career in scholarship and public advocacy.

Nick Martin '04
UPEACE/US Executive Director Selected as International Youth Foundation Global Fellow


UPEACE/US Executive Director and Peace Education '04 Alum, Nick Martin was recently selected as a 2009 Global Fellow by the International Youth Foundation for his role in founding the DCPEACE program and his track record as a young social entrepreneur. Nick joins 19 other international fellows aged 18-29 who were chosen from a pool over 500 applicants and is one 3 fellows to have been selected from the United States.

The International Youth Foundation builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. Read the Press Release here.

In the spring of 2008, UPEACE/US launched DCPEACE, an initiative to empower teachers, youth, and families with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively serve as peacebuilders in their communities, as well as PeaceRooms, a program that connects classrooms of middle school students from Costa Rica and Washington D.C. through the use of innovative virtual networking technology and for the purpose of developing core concepts of global citizenship and conflict transformation, and peace education. Both programs leverage the skills, resources, ideals, and networks of the wider UPEACE system in order to transform the way that students and communities deal with conflict. Read More.

Nick said of his experience in creating the programs: "The UPEACE Peace Education MA Programme and the Centre for Executive Education were absolutely instrumental in helping me to build skills related to nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and peace education content and pedagogy."

The programs have been met with tremendous success and UPEACE/US is currently working with the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica to pilot a four-school version of the Peace Rooms Program.

For more information about the fellowship and to read about the other fellows visit YouthActionNet.




Katie Camillus '08 to initiate a micro-finance program in Uganda

Katie CamillusHaving interned last summer at and working with microfinance organizations, Camillus is using her Lang Opportunity Scholarship at Swarthmore to initiate and study a social justice project in Uganda in cooperation with Project Have Hope . You can follow her work this summer via her blog .

Jared Leiderman '05 to enter graduate school at Harvard University

Jared Leiderman '05Starting in fall 2007, Jared will attend the JFK School of Government at Harvard on a Reynolds Foundation Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship.


Jared Leiderman '05 is currently serving as a Fellow with the Insight Collaborative

As one of three 2006 Insight Fellows, I have the opportunity to provide real and sustainable assistance to numerous organizations worldwide by applying advanced conflict management, effective communication, and negotiation theories and techniques. The Fellowship includes a $20,000 expense allowance to support three months of intense training in the field and nine months of international travel to apply that knowledge to humanitarian contributions. Each Fellow designs 3 three-month international placements that are spurred by guidelines that include entrepreneurship, communication, sustainability, and self-reflection. Currently, each Fellow will spend one placement at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, working as a special consultant to the Chief Prosecutor and his immediate staff. I will then travel to Uganda to assist the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative's forum on reconciliation and provide consulting services to enhance its internal communications. And finally, in the Spring, I will work with Partners-Jordan to design, create, and launch a new mediation program. Other Fellows have focused on reconciliation in Cyprus, micro-economic development in Uganda, improving education in China, and post-Khmer Rouge justice in Cambodia.

Each Fellow keeps journals of their experiences, thoughts, and reflections which are posted online and produces a presentation and report around a central theme at the end of the Fellowship. In addition, pursuant to the guideline of Sustainability, the Fellows must fundraise to "refill the pot" to keep that position available for the following year's Fellows.

For more information, please visit: or get in touch with me via Professor Lee Smithey.

Starting in fall 2007, Jared will attend the JFK School of Government at Harvard on a Reynolds Foundation Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship.

Zsaleh Harivandi '07 spent six weeks this summer in a small village in northeast Ghana

Zsaleh Harivandi '07 Zsaleh Harivandi '07 spent six weeks this summer in a small village in northeast Ghana with Operation Crossroads Africa. She worked on a women's development project which involved setting up a mill with local village women; helping roast, mill, and package "Nutrifood"; organizing a system for rural women to sell Nutrifood, thereby increasing their income; and promoted nutrition in surrounding villages. Zsaleh also spoke at First Collection this year.

 Amy Kapit '06 writes for Israel Policy Forum

Amy Kapit '06Amy Kapit '06, a recent Honors Peace and Conflict Studies graduate will soon become Director of Programs at Meretz USA . She is currently completing an internship at the Israel Policy Forum where she has contributed to the organization's weekly analysis with a piece on the tenuous ceasefire in Lebanon .

Meretz USA for Israeli Civil Rights and Peace is a US non-profit organization that supports a genuine peace between the State of Israel and its neighbors [including the Palestinian people] based on a negotiated land-for-peace solution.

You can read an article, "The 'Martyr' Part 2", derived from her senior Religion thesis on the Meretz USA blog.

 Camillus '08 joins Peace and Justice Studies Association Board

Katie Camillus '08 Katie Camillus '08, a new student in the PCS program, will be joining the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association as its student liaison.

Lang Opportunity Grant winner Katie Camillus '08 and Swarthmore's tradition of student activism are featured on a recent broadcast of Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth." Listen here. Find Swarthmore references at min. 15, 21, and 47 (Katie's interview).






 Theresa Williamson '97

posted 10-24-05

Theresa Williamson '97The Power of Grassroots Communities in Brazil and Around the World: The Potential of Connecting Them Through New Technologies

A talk by Theresa Williamson '97
Tuesday, October 25th at 7:30 p.m.
Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall

On Tuesday, October 25th, Theresa Williamson '97 will be at Swarthmore College to speak about her work with low-income communities in Brazil.

Ms. Williamson spent the last few years founding Catalytic Communities* , a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO). Catalytic Communities develops resources useful to low-income communities in their effort to plan and carry out their own innovative community improvement projects by offering internet database and network services. In her current role, she is CatComm's primary fundraiser (responsible for all major gift solicitations, small donor cultivation, and special events), liaison to the Board of Directors, and oversees staff responsible for day-to-day organizational management and oversight. Theresa also oversees all program strategy, development and activity. In May 2004 Theresa received her Ph.D. from the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania which will yield a book about Catalytic Communities' development. It is entitled "Catalytic Communities: The Birth of a Dot Org" and was one of three finalists for the 2004 Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for the Best Dissertation in Planning. She has published articles from this dissertation and related research in Progressive Planning, The Journal of Urban Technology, and Prior to her doctoral research and decision to found CatComm, Theresa had already been active in a number of movements for years, since the early age of 12. Over the years she worked for or volunteered with: Jeremy Rifkin, of the Foundation for Economic Trends; Colman McCarthy, of the Center for Teaching Peace; Co-op America; the Child Welfare League of America; the Philadelphia Recycling Office; the Ombudsman for the State of Paraná, Brazil; and S.E.A., Students for Environmental Action (Maryland). Theresa's undergraduate degree was in Biological Anthropology, with concentrations in Environmental Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies , from Swarthmore College. Though raised in the Washington, DC area, Theresa is a dual Brazilian and British citizen.

*Catalytic Communities (CatComm) was founded in 2000 as a not-for-profit in both the USA and Brazil, having arisen from the recognition that somewhere in the world there exists a tailored community solution to virtually any mentionable social or environmental challenge: from HIV to water contamination, housing to cultural preservation, unemployment to lack of political mobilization. Unfortunately the tailored local solutions that exist in communities all around us have historically been isolated and undervalued. Our organization works to create spaces - physical and virtual - designed to empower and inspire a global network of community-generated solutions.

 Ivan Boothe '05

posted October 13, 2005

Ivan Boothe '05Ivan Boothe serves as the Communications Director for the Genocide Intervention Fund , and he presented a paper, "Privilege and Nonviolent Intervention in the Context of Empire," at the 2005 meetings of the Peace and Justice Studies Association . The paper is co-authored with Lee Smithey and is derived in large part from Ivan's senior thesis on transnational nonviolent empowerment and third party nonviolent intervention.

update August 29, 2006

Boothe and Smithey's paper will appear soon in Peace and Change.

Boothe, Ivan and Lee A. Smithey. Forthcoming. "Privilege, Empowerment, and Nonviolent Intervention." Peace and Change.

Amy Kapit '06

posted September 18, 2005

Amy Kapit '06Amy received the Julia and Frank Lyman Student Summer Research Fellowship for the summer of 2005. The fellowship was established to support students in independent research or unpaid internships. Amy spent the summer working for the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. While there, she acted as the Dispatch Coordinator, writing news summaries to highlight some of the most important stories in the ongoing war. The majority of her work focused on researching trends in Iraqi civilian deaths and on following the constitutional process.

Marissa Vahlsing '06

posted September 16, 2005

Marissa Vahlsing '06 Marissa recently received a Truman Scholarship: a national award that recognizes leadership skills, a committment to public service and academic excellence. Marissa hopes to use this award to attend law school for human rights law; a decision that she came to while studying human rights and social movements last year with the International Honors Program in England, Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico. This past summer, Marissa researched dissent from the war on Terror among NYC activist groups, and will use this research to generate a Peace and Conflict studies thesis on Power and the Production of Truth in the War on Terror. She has also secured an internship in DC for the summer of 2006 with the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF)




Elizabeth Anderson '05

posted February 11, 2005

Elizabeth Anderson Elizabeth Anderson '05, a Swarthmore College senior from Saint Joseph, Mich., [and a Peace and Conflict Studies minor] is among the 12 recipients nationwide for the 2005-2006 George J. Mitchell Scholarship. The first Swarthmore student ever to receive a Mitchell award, she will study for a Master's degree in ecumenics at Trinity College in Dublin. Read more ...



Anna Morgan '04



posted February 11, 2005

Anna Morgan '04Anna Morgan (pictured far left) has joined the Quaker U.N. Office as a Program Assistant. Anna graduated from Swarthmore College in May, 2004 with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Peace and Conflict Studies and Asian Studies. While at Swarthmore, she served as the Co-President of the Student Council, held leadership positions in various diversity-related organizations, and helped to found and clerk the student Quaker organization. Anna also worked as an intern in the American Embassy, Madrid. She grew up attending Orange County Friends Meeting in southern California.


Matt Williams '04

posted June 9, 2004

Matt Williams '04 From this August to next June, I will be working under a Fulbright grant with the Law School and the School of Public Policy and Management at Qinghua University in China to research:

1.) The rise of a new legal elite in China (lawyers, prosecutors, judges, legal experts), where they are from in China, where they were educated, and how they interact with one another (i.e. where the main forms of discourse occur between government and non-government legal entities).
2.) What impact this new class of legal experts is having on the common Chinese citizen who is largely unaware of their legal rights. Are they pushing the threshold? Are the new legal aid centers at universities being used? How much information about constitutional change reaches the impoverished in the countryside?
3.)What implications does this potential change in attitude toward government accountability and legal know-how have for the rise of some form of civil society in China in the decades to come?

Jared Leiderman '05

posted June 9, 2004

Jared Leiderman '05 This summer I will be working at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) at the Uni versity of San Diego. ( ) By taking a number of different news sources from the area and around the world, I will put together a number of short, informative articles for the IPJ's weekly publication. I'll work closely with Executive Director Dr. Joyce Neu and Deputy Director Dr. Dee Aker for these weekly reports. I will also work with them on organizing and promoting specialized programs such as the Women PeaceMakers Program and WorldLink. The WPP facilitates dialogue s among individual women working to promote peace and equal gender roles in areas of conflict around the world by bringing them to the IPJ for two months at a time. It also documents the womens' personal experiences through video, writing, and audiotape. WorldLink is a program directed at bringing high school youth from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Tijuana, Mexico, together to "promote international awareness and understanding among high school students." ( ) Finally, I will present on my research and personal ideas to the staff at the end of the internship. My research is funded by the Summer of Service Internship at the Lang Center.

See weekly updates by Kroc Institute interns and Jared's bio.

Sheena Johnson '05

posted June 21, 2004

I am working as an intern in the D.C. office of Search for Common Ground, an international conflict transformation organization . I am working with their Sub-Sahara Africa Program. Currently, they have programs in five countries in Africa. Their motto is: "Understand the differences, Act on the commonalities." They are known around the world for using media (such as radio and tv programs) as a tool for peace building.Thier mission is very ambitious: to transform the way the world deals with conflict. We emphasize cooperative solutions, pursed on a realistic scale and with practical means.

Marissa Vahlsing '06

posted June 9, 2004

Marissa Vahlsing '06 I have recieved a Summer of Service Internship Grant (SOSI), and I am interning at the National Labor committee in NYC, which is a group that advocates for workers rights in the developing world, particularly for those who work in factories managed by US multi-national corporations. My role in this has been to carry out research about those American corporations who are on the ground in Bangladesh and employing mostly young girls in their factories who are without any enforcable labor rights. We are currently working with various large companies like the GAP, H&M, Nike and Sears and have succeeded in having them agree to give more rights to their workers.

Debbie Cohen '06

posted June 13, 2004

This summer, I'll be working at a small Jewish camp called Galil in Bucks County, PA, where I've been going for quite a few years now. The camp belongs to an organization called Habonim Dror North America ( ), and the pillars of the organization are socialism, social justice, judaism, zionism, and actualization. Our primary concern at camp is informal education, and we hope to impart our values to the kids, especially about peace and justice in the middle east as well as the US and respecting and sharing with everyone through fun activities, group building, and sharing the physical labor responsibilities that keep the camp running.