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PhD students



Agudin, Catalina (University of Bern)

Ms. Agudin is currently a doctoral candidate in the SINTA program of the Walter Benjamin Kolleg at the University of Bern. She is enrolled at the Institute of Social Anthropology at this University and she is part of the Institute of Design Research, at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Her research project, entitled “Revaluation of Wichi traditions: Applying Anthropological and Design methods in a participatory project within an Argentinian aboriginal community”, is focused on the material and immaterial analysis of the production of handicrafts of the Wichi group. This project is funded by a Doc.CH scholarship of the SNF, and will partly take place in cooperation with the FADU (at University of Buenos Aires). Agudin’s supervisors are Prof. Dr. Heinzpeter Znoj from the Institute of Social Anthropology, and Dr. Minou Afzali, who is researcher at the Institute Design Research (HKB) and lecturer at the MA Design in the field of Social Design. 


Alizadeh Afrouzi, Omid (University of St.Gallen)

Mr. Alizadeh Afrouzi is a PhD candidate at the Centro Latinoamericano-Suizo of the University of St. Gallen (CLS-HSG) in Switzerland. Under the title of “Humanitarian persuasion against xenophobia - Venezuelan migrants in Colombia”, his doctoral research deals with Venezuelan migration to Colombia and communicational interventions of humanitarian agencies to reduce anti-immigrant prejudice in a host society. His research interests are humanitarian communication, persuasive communication, intergroup relations, social media studies, and discourse studies. He holds a Bachelor in Spanish Language Translation and Literature and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies. He is a senior news writer, reporter, and producer with professional experience of nearly a decade. Currently he is the beneficiary of a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship (ESKAS).

Araujo, Larissa da Silva (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Larissa da Silva Araujo is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies as well as a Teaching Assistant in the Interdisciplinary Masters at this same institution. She is also an activist of the GRITO Collective, based in Geneva. Larissa is a Brazilian researcher-activist, with a passion for integrating academia and activism. She has experience within social movements and with research about human rights, feminist economics, economic anthropology, and indigenous peoples. Her dissertation focuses on the praxis of life alternatives among indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Andes, interrogating how the idea of good living (sumak kawsay) stated in the Ecuadorian Constitution emerges in practices of daily life.

Barber, James (University of Bern)

Mr Barber completed his MA in Global Studies based at the Humboldt University (Germany), graduating with join honours from FLACSO (Argentina), where he completed one semester as part of the programme. For his BA thesis in Sociology (University of Bristol, UK) he looked at the role of Jamaican roots reggae, dub and 'soundsystem' in the UK in relation to Adornian notions of production and consumption. After working for four years as a Sociology and Humanities teacher at Secondary and 'Sixth Form' level, and two years as a freelance and in-house editor for an economics publisher, Mr Barber commenced his PhD studies at the University of Bern as part of the SNF-funded research project “Hip Hop as a transcultural phenomenon", looking at Jamaican cultural signifiers in US Hip-Hop (New York and Los Angeles, c.1970s – 1990s)”, directed by Prof. Christian Büschges and Prof. Britta Sweers. Mr Barber's case study looks specifically at nationalist discourse in the exchanges between reggae and hip-hop and how these have impacted transcultural readings of the two genres.

Becker, Lukas (University of Geneva)

Lukas Becker is a PhD researcher at the Department of History, Economics, and Society at the University of Geneva. He holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Zurich. For is master's thesis, he looked at the role of the archives of social movements in the armed conflict in Barrancabermeja, Colombia in the 1990s and early 2000s. His PhD thesis, focusing on the role of social and labor movements in the Colombian oil industry as well as the environmental history of oil towns across Latin America, is part of the SNF Eccellenza Project “AnthropoSouth: Latin American Oil Revolutions in the Development Century”.

Bühler, Sarah Anja (University of St.Gallen)

Ms. Bühler analyses the inclusion of young adults through international dual vocational training initiatives in Colombia in her PhD dissertation. From 2017-2021, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Centro Latinoamericano-Suizo at the University of St.Gallen (CLS-HSG) and was also Program Manager for research-based instruments at the Leading House for the Latin American Region. Ms. Bühler has interned at the Swiss Government in Bern and at the Swiss embassies in both Uruguay and Australia. She has also worked in the private sector in Switzerland as well as Spain, and holds a Bachelor in Translation and Interpretation and a Masters in International Affairs. She currently works as a European Advisor for research at SwissCore.


Buelvas Arrieta, Iván David (University of Bern)

Iván Buelvas Arrieta's PhD project studies the discourses of sustainability in the framework of the bio-reserves of Unesco's MaB programme, with a focus on the Andes. Iván Buelvas holds a Master's degree in Latin American Studies and Sustainable Development from the University of Bern, Switzerland. His Master's research focused on the evolution and transformation of development and sustainability discourses in Latin America from the mid-20th century to 2021. Iván Buelvas also holds a bachelor degree in communication and journalism from the Universidad Santo Tomás in Bogotá, Colombia.

Cardozo Sarli, André (University of Geneva)

Mr. André Cardozo Sarli is a PhD Candidate and analyses the interaction of vulnerable children in Brazil with Artificial Intelligence, especially in relation to normative expectations created by algorithms. He is focused on the interaction of sociology and legal studies in his research. He is also part of two different projects directed to children participation in climate change and urban environment, and the participatory capability of children in streets situations in Brazil. Additionally, Mr. Cardozo Sarli is a Lawyer and Designer, and interested in technologies, data science and inequalities.

Carrasco Luján, Carmen (University of Geneva)

Ms. Carrasco Luján is a PhD student at the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Geneva. She works on a project titled “Literatura latinoamericana y ‘literatura mundial’ releídas por Roberto Bolaño”.

Carrillo Morell, Dayron (University of Zurich)

Mr. Carrillo Morell is a PhD. candidate at the University of Zurich, where he completed a Master Degree in Art History and Hispanic Studies, and holds a degree in Art History at the University of Havana.  He is currently assistant and teaching fellow for the Department of Spanish Literature at the Romanisches Seminar, and ordinary member of its Doctoral Program “Methods and Perspectives”. As a former research assistant in the project "Modernity and the Landscape in Latin America", sponsored by the Swiss National Found (SNF), he started his doctoral research “Archi-Landscapes in Landed Architecture. Towards an Environmental Aesthetic of Modern Mexico City", which explores the states of tension in the architectural process of “place-making” in mid-twentieth-century Mexico City. He is co-author of the book Beyond Tradition, Beyond Invention: Cosmic Technologies and Creativity in Contemporary Afro-Cuban Religion (2015), and co-editor of Natura: Environmental Aesthetics after Landscape (2018).

Conforto de Oliveira, Fernanda (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Ms. Fernanda Conforto de Oliveira is a PhD candidate in International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. She is also a research fellow at the Centre for Finance and Development and at the University of São Paulo’s LabMundi. Her PhD research examines the first adjustment programmes of the International Monetary Fund in Argentina and Brazil in the post-war era. Fernanda holds BA and MA degrees in International Relations from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and has spent semesters abroad at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the United States.

Correa, Olga (University of Geneva)

Mrs. Correa’s research deals with Latin American migrant work in the Swiss market.

Crea, Luigi (University of Bern)

Luigi Crea is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Doctoral Program of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bern. His research project, entitled "The Art of Resistance: A Study of Queer Art in the Brazilian and Peruvian Contexts from 1990 to the Present," focuses on Peru and Brazil, where there is a strong history of artistic production and curatorial narratives challenging norms of gender and sexuality. The project is interdisciplinary, aiming to explore the contemporary artistic production of Latin American queer aesthetics, employing art historical, queer, and decolonial methodologies and the latest philosophical formulations rooted in Latin American queer thought. He holds a Master's degree in Economics and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and a second Master's degree in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage, with a contemporary art curriculum, also from the same university. Currently, he is the beneficiary of the Scherbarth Fellowship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome.

Erismann, Annelise (University of Lausanne)

Ms. Annelise Erismann is a Brazilian national and political scientist from the Free University of Berlin. She holds a master's degree in anthropology and sociology from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She is currently finishing a PhD on Brazilian international students and academics in the Global North in the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Lausanne.  She is also a member of the Swiss Association for Gender Studies (SAGS) and the Association of Brasilianistas in Europe (ABRE).

Fernandes, Marianna (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Ms. Marianna Fernandes is a PhD researcher in Anthropology and Sociology at the Geneva Graduate Institute, where she is also part of the Centre for International Environmental Studies as a research assistant for the ERC-funded project "Synthetic Lives: The futures of mining". Her doctoral work investigates the incorporation and use of 4.0 technologies in the mining industry. She is particularly interested in the socio-ecological and labour dynamics that underpin automation as well as the generation and use of digital data in the sector. Marianna has been investigating mineral extraction since 2014. Before joining CIES, she worked for NGOs and conducted research for civil society organizations on a variety of topics, including energy transition, the digital economy, environmental disasters, and the intersection of these topics with gender issues.

Figueroa, Lucas (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva / University of San Martin)

Mr. Lucas Figueroa is a visiting fellow at the Albert Hirschman Center on Democracy at the IHEID financed with the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship (ESKAS) and PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of San Martin in Argentina. His PhD dissertation focuses on the enforcement of an environmental national policy in a subnational level of government. Specifically, he works on the enforcement processes of the National Forest Law in different Argentinian provinces. Also, he participates in research projects related to the creation of natural protect areas in Latin America and the participation of the youth in environmental issues. Currently, he is a teaching assistant in Comparative Politics at the University of San Martin in Argentina as well as a visiting PhD student at the IHEID.

Flórez Castellar, Laura (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Ms. Flórez Castellar is currently a student at the PhD program in anthropology at the IHEID. Between 2019 and 2020, Laura supervised the research team in Buenaventura, Colombia, assessing the impacts of port expansion on the lives of indigenous and black communities, commissioned by the Colombian Pacific Inter-ethnic Truth Commission (CIVP). She holds an MA in Social Sciences with an Anthropology Concentration from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She received the SNSF scholarship in July 2016 to follow the Specialization in Field Research at the Ethnology Institute of Neuchâtel. During the summer 2017, Laura joined the OAS Civil Society Staff of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Washington D.C. from 2016 to 2017. She conducted field work on Paramilitarism and Peace Building Agency in the Caribbean Region of Colombia.

Giraut, Camille (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Camille Giraut holds an MA degree in anthropology and sociology from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, her MA thesis focused on the subjectivation of women active in the funk music industry in Rio de Janeiro, and their relation to feminism. She's currently a Ph.D candidate at the Graduate Institute and her dissertation project focuses on the experiences, expectations, and rhetoric of French and Brazilian beneficiaries of affirmative action policies in higher education through ethnography and discourse analysis. She looks at the experiences these two models of affirmative action - characterized on the one side by the salience of race and on the other by the refusal of the language of race - produce for students. In the case of Brazil, she also observes how the recent controversies on racial fraud may influence students' understanding of the policy. 

Hjalmarson, Elise (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Elise Hjalmarson is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva and research assistant for the ERC-funded project 'Returning to a Better Place: The (Re)assessment of the "Good Life" in Times of Crisis'. Situated at the intersection of gender, migration, and Latin American studies, her doctoral work examines the affective and embodied dimensions of transnational migration among Cuban women living in Spain. Prior to undertaking her PhD, Elise completed her MA at the University of British Columbia and lectured at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua with Kulturstudier. She is a migrant justice activist and the co-founder of Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA).

Kargachin, Virginia (University of Zurich)


Virginia Kargachin is a PhD student of Cultural Studies at the University of Zurich.  Since September 2022, she is working on her project “Narratives of Migrant Materialities: liminality and actant matter in contemporary Caribbean literary and artistic productions of migration”. Before that, she completed a master’s degree in Literary Studies at the University of Zurich and a bachelor’s one in English Language and Teaching at Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (UNT), Argentina. While doing research and working on her project, she is enthusiastic about coming up with diverse forms of content media such as magazine articles, video essays and podcasts for academic and non-academic public.

Kaufmann, Christoph (University of Zurich)

Mr. Kaufmann is based at the political geography unit at the University of Zurich where he also completed his Master’s degree. For his master’s thesis, Mr. Kaufmann conducted a qualitative study on re/victimization dynamics at the palm oil frontier in Northern Colombia. His PhD project explores the interrelatedness of contamination governance in Colombian gold mining with struggles over access to mineralized subsoil, the renegotiation political subjectivities in times of macro-political transition, and international frameworks and treaties on hazardous chemicals.

Keller, Olivier (University of Zurich)

Mr. Keller is a PhD candidate at the History Department of the University of Zurich. He holds a Master of Arts in History of the Contemporary World and Latin American Studies from the Universities of Zurich and Bern. He has lived and worked in Mexico and did undergraduate studies at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Currently, he works on his PhD project “Setting the Course for Cooperation and Connection. The United States Railway Mission to Mexico (1942-1946)”, which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation through a Doc.CH scholarship.

Krauss, Tobias Paul (University of St.Gallen)

Mr. Krauss is a PhD student at the University of St. Gallen with an academic background in business, language, and cultural studies. Universities previously visited include the Copenhagen Business School (M.Sc.), University of Mannheim (B.A.), University of Sydney, and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (exchange). His doctoral thesis sets out to research the perceived integration of Latin Americans in the US workplace environment by examining components of the employee-employer relationship. Mr. Krauss first discovered his keen interest in Latin American societies and cultures during his engagement as International Volunteer in Mexico in the years of 2011 and 2012, funded by the German Red Cross and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Kostenwein David (ETH Zürich)

David Kostenwein is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP)  at the ETH Zurich, working within the interdisciplinary Urban Research Incubator (URI) focusing on Urban Transformation towards safer, more inclusive Cities. Prior to that, David worked for the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the West Bank and for the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative at the Inter-​American Development Bank in Bogota and Washington DC. David holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Technology of Vienna and a Master's double degree in International Cooperation in Urban Development from the Technical University of Darmstadt and in Sustainable Emergency Architecture from the Universidad Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona. His current research focuses on the spatial manifestation of inequality in Bogota, Colombia. A special emphasis lies on the reciprocal relation between the growing phenomenon of gated communities and accessibility and insecurity in public spaces.

León, Virginia (University of Zurich)

Virginia León studied Spanish Linguistics/ Literature and Latin American Studies, and completed a Master of Arts with special qualification in Literature at the University of Bern. Since September 2020, she is a PhD student of Romance Studies at the University of Zurich. She is currently working on her PhD project titled “Narratives of Violence Against Women: Wasted Bodies and (Un)grievable Lives in the Contemporary Literature in Peru and Argentina”. She is currently assistant and teaching fellow for the Department of Hispanic American Literature at the Institute of Romance Studies, University of Zurich.

Madera, Nancy (Universidad Nacional de San Martín)

Ms. Madera is a sociologist (Universidad de Buenos Aires) and a doctoral candidate in Political Science from the School of Government and Politics of the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina). Her dissertation thesis discusses the role of international human rights norms and its implementation on the paradigm shift regarding legislation on violence against women in Latin America. With publications on women´s substantive representation, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, women’s human rights agenda and the feminist movement in Latin America, she is currently a member of an interdisciplinary research group on ‘Gender, (In)equalities and rights in tension’, sponsored by the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO).

Marazita, John (University of Geneva)

Mr. Marazita has built a research career focusing on climate-induced migration in small island states. At the core of his dissertation at the University of Geneva is disaster displacement, seen through a cultural geography lens and supported by a case study of Antigua and Barbuda. Mr. Marazita also conducts research on climate change, displacement, and the resilience of Afro-descendant populations in the Isla de Providencia, Colombia. These communities have faced multiple climate-related challenges for several decades, and he analyzes how they have adapted to climate effects as well as the barriers and enablers of adaptation by looking at the aftermath of Hurricane Iota that struck and devastated Providence Island in November 2020. Mr. Marazita completed his Master’s at the University of Zurich on the social and spatial impacts of mobility in Kiribati, a Pacific Island nation. Before enrolling in the doctoral program in cultural geography at the University of Geneva, Mr. Marazita conducted fieldwork for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) following displacement caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Additionally, Mr. Marazita is the Director of the Environmental Mobility Research Unit (EMRU) and is on the Advisory Committee for the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

Marer, Marcella (University of Zurich)

Ms. Marcella Marer is a PhD candidate of Romance Studies (Literature, Arts and Media) at the University of Zurich and her research focuses on aerial photography produced by indigenous peoples in Brazil. She has a Master's of Arts and Languages from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and her dissertation proposes a decolonized perspective on the history of Brazilian photojournalism. She has a second Master’s degree in Social Responsibility and the Third Sector from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro where she studied the “Escola de Fotógrafos Populares” in the favela Maré, including a participant observation as a student of the same course. She has broad experience in the field of photography, being engaged in the production of festivals, exhibitions, conferences, and books. Marcella currently conducts studies and writes about photography for websites and magazines. She is a member of the Latin American Center Zürich (LZZ).

Mejías, Roberto (University of Zürich)


Roberto Mejías is a PhD candidate at the Department of Hispanic American Literature at institute of Romance Studies, University of Zurich. His PhD project titled “Narrativas latinoamericanas de la basurización y el despilfarro” is sponsored by the Lateinamerika-Zentrum Zürich

Meléndez Duarte, José (University of Bern)

Mr. Meléndez holds an Interdisciplinary MA degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Bern, his MA thesis focused on the 2008 incorporation of indigenous justice in the legal system of Ecuador. He also holds a law degree from the “Universidad Centroamericana” (UCA), Nicaragua an in 2012 obtained a certificated in “Political Leadership and Political Management” from the Graduate School of Political Management of George Washington University and Universidad Americana (UAM). Now, he is working on his PhD project “La paradoja del género en Ecuador y Bolivia: Repensado la cultura y movimiento Queer latinoamericano desde la cosmovisión indígena”, as a part of the Global Studies Program at the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities of the University of Bern.

Míguez, Julián (University of Zurich)

Julian Miguez is a PhD candidate at the University of Zurich. He is part of the SNF Sinergia Project «In the Shadow of the Tree: The Diagrammatics of Relatedness as Scientific, Scholarly, and Popular Practice». In his thesis, he examines procedures to determine descent in the Spanish Americas during the colonial era. These procedures originated in Europe in late medieval times and were used to determine the noble descent of people who aspired admissions in collegiate chapters and tournament societies. In the Iberian peninsula these procedures were especially known as tests of «purity of blood» which were required to gain access to universities and many urban offices. With the expansion of the Iberian empires and in close connection, there emerged procedures to assign individuals to racial and mestizo groups in the Americas and probably also to castes that were of different legal status in East Indian colonies. These innovations have received some attention as new systematizations of social exclusion within their particular contexts, but both the exact testing procedures as such and their interrelations across continents and domains remain as yet unexamined.

Montoya, Ashraf (University of St.Gallen)

Ms. Montoya is pursuing her Ph.D. in Management with a focus in Marketing at the HSG since 2015. Her research interests focus in consumer culture theory, ethnographic insight, and sustainable marketing. Prior to her PhD studies, Ms. Montoya earned her Master’s Degree in Business Digital from the Grenoble École de Management (Grenoble, France). She also holds a Master Degree in Project Management from FGV (São Paulo, Brazil). She has been working in several companies as e-marketing consultant. She has also worked as e-project manager in different French companies operating in the retail sector. The title of her PhD is “Local Institutions, Poverty and Household Welfare in Smallholding Cocoa Farms in the Southeastern Region of Perú”.

Ochoa García, Heliodoro (University of Bern)

Mr. Ochoa García analyzes multi-scale struggles for sustainable water governance and emerging alternatives in the Mexican context. By conducting a transdisciplinary research, he has interacted with different stakeholders in processes related to water conflicts, awareness, deliberation and assessment, joint analysis of policies and hydraulic projects, collective agreements, co-production of knowledge and collective publications where the affected communities, governments, NGOs, social networks, universities, formal and informal institutions are involved from the local to international level. The final submission is foreseen in Spring 2020.

Ordóñez Cruz, María (University of Zurich)

Ms. María Ordóñez is a visual artist. She has developed her work through a multi-material exploration (audiovisual & new media approaches). She did a Masters in Design in the searching of broadening perspectives, methodologies, and possibilities, bringing together artistic research and critical-participatory design. During the last years, she has been working on the query about the ways of dealing with everyday life, material practices and narratives after –and through– violence, within the frame of enforced disappearance in Colombia. She is currently a PhD candidate at the UZH, and a member of the Visual Culture Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).

Páez Granados, Octavio (University of Geneva / University of Coimbra)

Mr. Páez Granados is a PhD Assistant in the Spanish and Portuguese Departments of the University of Geneva. He is a collaborating member of the Centro de Estudos Lusófonos (CEL) of the University of Geneva and the Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humísticos (CECH) of the University of Coimbra. His main line of research centers in the study of masculinities (with special emphasis on dissident masculinities) in Ibero-American baroque literature and in baroque re-readings of the late 20th century and the 21st century. Mr. Páez Granados also has training as a harpsichordist and musicologist. In this sense, his work also focuses on the study of Ibero-American poetic-musical forms of the 16th to 18th centuries as well as aspects of musical rhetoric.

Philipp, Rosa (University of Bern)

Ms. Philipp is a doctoral candidate at the Unit of Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Bern. Her project, 'Body & Territory: A Feminist Political Ecology of Female Protagonism in Environmental Conflict', focuses on socio-territorial conflicts in southern Mexico. She studies resistance movements and the relationship between body and territory. Philipp is interested in exploring audio-visual research and engaging in participatory research methods. Her project is funded by a Doc.CH scholarship of the SNF.

Plata, Veronique (University of Geneva)

Ms. Plata develops a thesis titled “The emergence of technical cooperation in the ILO: History of a new international practice (1929–1949)” at the History department of the University of Geneva.


Plüss Quintanilla Fernández, Hanna (University of Bern)


Ms. Plüss Quintanilla Fernández is a doctoral student and research associate at the Institute of Musicology, University of Bern. She holds a Master's degree in Latin American Studies (Major) and Sociology (Minor), University of Bern, Switzerland. Her research focuses on Critical Cultural Studies, Popular Music Studies, Soundscape Analysis, Social Movements and Political Ecology, Environmental Justice. Her regional focus includes Ecuador, Peru and the Latin American community in Switzerland. She is currently a scientific collaborator at the University of Bern.

Rodrigo Torres, Stefano (University of Lausanne)


Mr. Rodrigo is a graduate assistant and doctoral student at the Institute of History and Anthropology of Religions (IHAR) at the University of Lausanne. Currently, he works in a dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Christian Grosse on the perception of American "Indians" in two accounts of the Spanish colonies: the Histórica Relación del Reyno de Chile (1646) by the Jesuit Alonso de Ovalle (1603-1651) and the Historia General del Reino de Chile, Flandes indiano (1674) by the Jesuit Diego de Rosales (1605-1677). His research focuses on the representation of otherness from a European and Catholic perspective in the context of the missions of the Society of Jesus in Austral America during the early modern period. In particular, it focuses on the Viceroyalty of Peru and the Kingdom of Chile in the seventeenth century.


Ronderos, Natalia (University of Zurich & St. Gallen University of Teacher Education)

Natalia Ronderos is a doctoral student of the joint doctoral program in Education at the University of Zürich and the St. Gallen University of Teacher Education (PHSG). Her research is part of the iPAL collaborative (International Performance Assessments of Learning), and it focuses on the feasibility of international performance assessments of critical thinking in higher education. It focuses on teacher education programs in Switzerland and Colombia. She holds Bachelor's degrees in sociology and economics from the Universidad de Los Andes and Universidad Nacional, and a Master of Arts in Education from Stanford University.

Sandoval, Martha (University of Zurich)

Ms. Sandoval is a PhD candidate at the University of Zurich in the Democracy Studies Program. In her research project, she is interested in understanding under what conditions mechanisms of direct democracy have been introduced in the Mexican representative democracy. She holds a bachelor degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Monterrey in Mexico and a Master’s Degree in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. She has collaborated with the Department of Social Sciences in the University of Monterrey since 2009.

Saco Chung, Urpi (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)


Ms. Saco Chung is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology and Sociology and a Teaching Assistant at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Before starting her Ph.D., she worked as a public servant and as a researcher in the field of legal pluralism in Peru. Besides, she was a lecturer in the Universidad San Antonio Abad del Cusco, in Cusco, Peru. Her dissertation project investigates the Latin-American indigenous peoples’ participation within the United Nations Human Rights mechanisms, she focusses on the Peruvian indigenous peoples’ participation. She holds a BA (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) and an MA (Université de Fribourg, Switzerland), both in Anthropology.

Sánchez Celaya, Georgina (University of Bern)

Ms. Sánchez Celaya is currently part of the interdisciplinary Sinergia project “Mediating the Ecological Imperative” (2021-2024), founded by the Swiss National Foundation (SNFS) ( at the University of Bern. Her main research interest lies in contemporary Latin American art and visual culture. Her current doctoral project focuses on landscape and extractivism visuality, ecofeminist art, ritual and performances, and its relation to ecological conflicts in Mexico and Latin America.

She completed a Master’s degree in Art History, specialized in Curatorial Studies, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), from where she also holds a BA in History. In 2019, she received Honorary Mention for Best MA Dissertation on Water Resources (UNAM), and in 2015 the Miguel Covarrubias Award on Museography and Museums Research (INAH).

In 2020, she worked as an Academic Coordinator at the Institute of Aesthetic Research in Oaxaca (IIE-UNAM). From 2017 to 2018, she was Chief of Research and Curator in the project “M68 Citizens in Motion” about contemporary social movements in Mexico. The project consisted of a permanent exhibition and a document collection from a wide variety of Mexican archives available on the Internet (

Schapira, Raphael (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Raphael Schapira is a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and an SNF Doc.Mobility Fellow at KU Leuven. His current research investigates how the martial art Brazilian jiu-jitsu gains meaning as a life-changing activity in Rio de Janeiro. Focusing on a group of Brazilian jiu-jitsu coaches in Rio de Janeiro’s periphery, his research seeks to make intelligible the local understanding of this martial art regarding the embodiment of morality in a highly conflictive urban environment. Combining classical ethnographic methods with embodied sports methods, he uses a multi-modal approach to study embodiment as an object and a method of scientific inquiry. Mr. Schapira was awarded a Master in anthropology from the Free University Berlin in 2011, with a thesis on how street vendors in Mexico City conceptualize urban space. Following his first university degree, he worked as a project manager, facilitating educational project between NGOs from Germany, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Bringing together his passion for research and sports, Raphael Schapira has also realized sport for peace and development projects directed at socially disadvantaged children and teenagers in Rio de Janeiro’s periphery. He has a keen interest in bringing together the (self-)critical and transformative potential of anthropology with local communities’ social engagement.

Silva-Müller, Livio (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Mr. Silva-Müller’s research asks who governs the Brazilian Amazon and what does transnational money have to do with it? Adopting a mixed-methodology, his dissertation relies on grant-level data and in-depth interviews to measure different types of ‘green money’ and their role in shaping  climate change governance in the Brazilian Amazon from 1990 to 2020. He explores how the historical evolution of material and ideational factors influence deforestation policy adoption, maintenance, and outcomes today. Conceptually, this helps us unpack how transnational money changes the relationship between state, market, and civil society. In previous research projects, Livio has investigated the practices of environmental street-level bureaucrats in payment for ecosystem services policy as well as the role of civil society in the effectiveness of transnational partnerships inside protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Outside academia, he has worked at the UN Mozambique, different third sector organizations in Geneva and Brazil as well as the Oak Foundation.

Tabares, Sabrina (University of Neuchâtel)

Ms. Sabrina Tabares is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Neuchâtel and a Fellow of the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Students (ESKAS) 2018-2021. Her doctoral thesis is titled “Corporate Social Innovation in Hybrid Organisations: The Case of B Corps in Colombia”, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Christian Suter. Ms. Tabares conducts research and education at the intersection of Social Innovation, Hybrid Organizations, Sustainable Business Models, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Systemic Change to understand how hybrid organisations and social innovation can provide solutions to Grand Societal Challenges. Her research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Cleaner Production and the Social Enterprise Journal. She teaches courses on social innovation, sustainable business models and internationalisation at the Master level. Ms. Tabares is currently a researcher and lecturer at the University of Medellín, Colombia, in the International Business Undergraduate Program.

Tostes Freitas de Oliveira Afonso Ortega, Letícia (University of Bern)

Letícia Ortega has a B.A. in International Relations at the Institutos Superiores de Ensino La Salle RJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has completed her M.A. in Strategic Defence and Security Studies at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the author of the book “Tradição e Ruptura: o Brasil e o Regime Internacional de Não Proliferação Nuclear”, published in Brazil by Appris in 2018. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the Historical Institute of the University of Bern, working on her Ph.D. project about Argentina and Brazil joint nuclear foreign policy, which will explain the process of choosing cooperation over a long-lasting rivalry, as a part of the Global Studies Program at the Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities. Letícia also keeps the blog "O Mundo é a Minha Casa" ( as one of her extracurricular activities.

Tsenkulovski, Tihomir (University of St.Gallen)

Mr. Tsenkulovski completed his Master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. During his graduate studies he served as a research assistant at Harvard Law School and as a staff editor of the student-run journal Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. He also managed a research project at the University of Pennsylvania on the role of think tanks for civil society-building in Latin America. Previously, Tihomir was a DAAD fellow in Economics at Humboldt University of Berlin and in International Affairs at the Free University of Berlin.  He also worked on a research project on the Democratization of Latin America during the International Politics Summer School at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. Tihomir’s professional experience includes a traineeship at the United Nations in New York City and management consulting to the International Division of Scholastic and to the World Bank Group. He also gained experience in relationship management at Thomson Reuters. Tihomir’s flair for the performing arts took him to the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City, to Cours Florent in Paris and to a film school in Prague where he obtained training in both acting for theater and in film-making. His research project is concerned with the role of the creative industries, culture, and heritage for sustainable urban development in Latin America and UNESCO’s discourse and policies on nurturing the creative economy by a human-centred approach to development.

Vargas, Letícia (University of St.Gallen)


Letícia is a PhD candidate at the University of St.Gallen since 2017. She studies the emergence of the Brazilian Impact Investing field through an institutional theory lens. The research investigates how practices emerge and develop in an incipient field, exploring investors, investees, and intermediaries' agencies. The study also considers the role of the market and philanthropy institutional orders in creating hybrid practices guided by social and commercial logics. Ms. Vargas is a Master in Public Administration and Bachelor in International Relations. She worked for science and economic development agencies from Minas Gerais's government in Brazil before moving to Switzerland. Currently, she also works for the Leading House for the Latin American Region as a program assistant of the research and innovation-based instruments.

Vogt, Rea (University of Bern)

Rea Vogt's PhD project examines, from a global history perspective, the networks of yerba mate trade between Argentina and Lebanon during the French League of Nations Mandate (1920-1946) and the early independence period (1946–1950s). Rea Vogt completed her Master Degree in History at the University of Bern with a focus on the history of colonialism, and minor in Sustainable Development. She holds a BA in History with the minor subjects in Economics and Social Science of the University of Bern. During her Bachelor's Degree she did an exchange semester at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City. Prior to her university studies, Rea Vogt completed a commercial apprenticeship where she acquired skills in consular affairs, media reporting and advertising in the public and private sector.

Wirz-Suárez, Gina (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Gina Wirz-Suárez is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She holds a Master's in Social Sciences from the University of Lausanne. In Colombia, she completed a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in Gender Studies at the National University of Colombia. Her research interests are related to social movements, gender studies, and forced migration. Her doctoral thesis plans to delve into the transnational political participation of Colombian women in exile through a multi-sited ethnography in three countries. She is currently a Graduate Assistant for the course "Clinic Gender and Human Rights" at the Center for Gender Studies of the University of Lausanne. 


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