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Current Graduate students and Post-Doctoral Fellows


Ayodele Akenroye

Ayodele Akenroye obtained his LLB (with honors) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, where he studied on an academic scholarship from Ondo State of Nigeria. He completed his Bar Examinations from the Nigerian Law School, winning the Sir Lionel Brett Prize for the overall best student in criminal procedure. He earned his LLM from University of Manitoba, Canada, where he studied on a full academic scholarship. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law.

Before commencing his doctoral studies, Ayodele interned with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), worked as a Human Rights Officer for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission in Winnipeg, Manitoba and practiced law in his home country – Nigeria.

Ayodele is currently pursuing his doctoral degree under the supervision of Prof. Frédéric Mégret. His doctoral thesis will critically examine the construction of victimhood under international law. His research interests include international criminal law, international human rights law, law of international organizations, and transitional justice.

Alvaro R. Cordova Flores – O’Brien Fellow

Alvaro

Alvaro is a Peruvian lawyer and a O'Brian Fellowship recipient in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He is currently a student in the Doctoral Civil Law Program (DCL) at McGill University's Faculty of Law. He is conducting his research under the supervision of Colleen Sheppard, focusing on the intersections of the politics of identity, indigenous rights and legal realism. His ongoing research explores how non-indigenous judges resolve indigenous rights cases, and how certain judicial approaches can recreate cultural discrimination against indigenous peoples in Peru.

He started the LLM Program at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 2010 under the supervision of Jeremy Webber and Avigail Eisenberg. In his LLM thesis (The Right of Indigenous Self-Determination and the Right to Consultation in the Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal Jurisprudence [2005-2011]) Alvaro explored the relationship between the right of indigenous consultation and the right of indigenous self-determination in the Peruvian context.

Alvaro is a 2004 summa cum laude graduate from the University of Lima School of Law in Peru. He has extensive professional experience in areas of constitutional law and fundamental rights. Since 2004 he has worked at the Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal, and previously he worked at the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2002). He also taught constitutional law (Fall 2010) at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (Lima, Peru).

Rokeya Chowdhury – O'Brien Fellow

Rokeya Chowdhury

Rokeya Chowdhury holds a teaching position in the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has a keen interest in human rights issues and most of her work addresses issues and concerns relating human rights. Rokeya completed her LL.B. (Hons.) in 2009 and LL.M. in 2011 from the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka. She completed a LL.M. Thesis Program at the Institute of Comparative Law, McGill University in 2013. She is now working on a her doctoral studies in the Faculty of Law, McGill University as an O'Brien Fellow.

Rokeya's research areas and interests involve women rights, indigenous rights, comparative law, law and society, law and literature. Rokeya’s proposed doctoral thesis examines the state religion and secularism stand-off in the Constitution of Bangladesh with a law and performing arts analogy. Rokeya has not limited her activities in traditional academic teaching and learning. As a member of Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP), a voluntary research organization run by law teachers and students in Bangladesh Rokeya has coordinated and facilitated events on human rights awareness. She has previously worked with Northern University Bangladesh, UNESCO Madanjeet South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (UMSAILS), Dr, Kamal Hossain and Associates, National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh and Relief International Bangladesh.

Vanessa Clermont-Isabelle – O'Brien Fellow

Vanessa Clermont-Isabelle a obtenu son Baccalauréat en droit (LL.B.) à l’Université de Montréal avec une mention  sur la Liste d’excellence de la Faculté. Son implication dans la communauté, particulièrement auprès d’un groupe aidant les travailleurs migrants, a été soulignée par le Prix d’implication communautaire McCarthy Tétrault ainsi que par une Bourse d’implication décernée par le Service aux étudiants de l’Université de Montréal. Suite au baccalauréat, elle a réussi avec succès les examens du Barreau du Québec dans le but de devenir avocate. Elle est présentement étudiante à la maîtrise en droit à l’Université McGill et récipiendaire de la bourse O’Brien.

Dans le cadre de sa thèse de maîtrise, Vanessa s’intéressera aux enjeux de la discrimination et plus particulièrement celle qui est vécue par les minorités culturelles au Canada. Elle tentera d’évaluer les limites des normes étatiques quant à la protection du droit à l’égalité de ces groupes et comment le pluralisme juridique pourrait prendre en compte la diversité culturelle de façon plus adéquate. Les autres champs de recherche qui intéressent Vanessa sont les droits des migrants ainsi que les droits humains en général. Elle travaille d’ailleurs à faire avancer ces droits de façon plus concrète par l’entremise de son implication à la Ligue des droits et libertés.

Maria del Pilar Vanegas Guzman

Maria is a Colombian lawyer, who holds graduate law degrees from the London School of Economics and Universite de Paris II Pantheon-Assas. She obtained an LL.M. in International Business Law and a degree in Public International Law respectively, and did her law degree in Colombia at Universidad del Rosario. She has worked as delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross for several years, covering Rwanda, Central Asia, Guinea, the Balkans, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Peru and Ecuador.

She is currently doing research on the discourse of the International Committee of the Red Cross for the promotion of International Humanitarian Law, with particular focus on the role of moral, legal diversity and human behaviour as key factors for compliance and adherence to the law, in contrast with legal positivism.

Her research includes the vision of a common humanity as an emerging narrative in law. This research is integral part of the Master of Law she is doing at McGill to specialize further in the areas of International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights and Legal Traditions of the World.

Other than humanitarian work, Ms. Vanegas Guzman has varied experience in the private and public sectors. She was a corporate lawyer in Colombia and in-house legal counsel for the Colombian State Oil Company ECOPETROL, as well as for Coca-Cola's subsidiary in Bogota. She worked in reinsurance brokerage in London and Bogota and did internships at the Constitutional Court and the Ministry of Finance of Colombia.

Marika Giles Samson – O'Brien Fellow

Marika (Email) is a British-born, Canadian-trained lawyer with an interest in international criminal justice, international human rights and the rule of law. The O’Brien Fellowship will afford her the opportunity to explore the phenomenon of judicial persecution, that is, the use of the courts to undermine political opposition and individual human rights, under the supervision of Professor Frédéric Mégret. 

Marika grew up in Montreal, and obtained her B.A. in Communication Studies from Concordia University before turning her attention to the law. During LL.B. studies at Osgoode Hall Law School, she spent two years working on a thematic study of the six major United Nations human rights treaties and attended the inaugural Summer Course on the International Criminal Court at the National University of Ireland Galway, as a result of which she submitted an independent research paper on U.S. objections to the ICC. 

After graduating, she clerked for the Federal Court of Canada, articled at Fasken Martineau LLP in Vancouver and then practiced civil litigation for six years before returning to the bosom of academia, and the UK, in 2008. Marika obtained her LL.M. with a specialisation in Public International Law, with distinction, from University College London, submitting a dissertation proposing a framework for the evaluation of amnesties in international criminal law, under the supervision of Professor Philippe Sands QC. She then spent a year as an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) researching immunities in international criminal law and European refugee law. While living in London, Marika also had two beautiful children and was a key strategist on the campaign to save her local library.

Kate Glover

Kate Glover

Kate Glover (katharine [dot] glover [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)) earned her B.A. in Philosophy (with great distinction) from McGill University in 2003. She went on to study law at Dalhousie University, graduating in 2006 with more than a dozen awards for her academic achievements and community involvement. After being called to the Bar of Ontario in 2007, Kate earned an LL.M. in public international law and comparative law from the University of Cambridge, where she studied as the recipient of the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin Sr. Scholarship, rowed for her college crew and spearheaded a sexual assault awareness and fundraising campaign.

Upon returning to Canada, Kate practiced law with Borden Ladner Gervais, representing clients in a variety of public law and commercial litigation matters. In 2009-2010, she served as a law clerk for Madam Justice Abella at the Supreme Court of Canada.

A past recipient of the O’Brien Fellowship in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Kate Glover now holds a Vanier Scholarship. Kate’s doctoral research focuses on the ways in which theories of law shape how society designs and conceives of its legal institutions. To explore this relationship, she is assessing the present and future significance of the Supreme Court of Canada. Her research uncovers the theoretical underpinnings of mainstream accounts of the Court and proposes an alternative analytical framework that more fully reflects the Court’s relationship to law. She argues that the Court is not the legal institution it is commonly thought to be – it is both much less and much more.

Kate’s primary research interests include topics in legal institutions and procedure, legal theory (especially legal pluralism), legal education, legal scholarship and methodology (including interdisciplinarity), law & society, and law/constitutional reform.

Claris Harbon - O'Brien Fellow

Claris Harbon

Complete biography

Claris has LL.B. (1998, with honors) from Northumbria Law School, and LL.M degrees respectively from Yale University and from Tel-Aviv University. She is a member of the Israeli Bar Association.

Claris is engaged in clinical education and social justice in Israel, mainly from a communitarian perspective. Hers is an activist legal scholarship, focused on revealing the societal causes of her clients' disadvantaged status. She focuses on disempowered groups or silenced minorities, such as Mizrahis (Jews of Arab descent), Arab-Israelis, Palestinians, Ethiopians, women and children.

By her exploration of the presumably "neutral" role that the Law plays in constructing the ethnic and racial identities of underprivileged minorities, which can result in structural, legal and social inferiority, she seeks to develop an alternative legal discourse that reflects the needs of the community and by which the community can translate personal legal problems into social change.

For example, she has been researching the Eurocentric discriminatory basis of the Israeli Land Law and the crucial role it has played in discriminating against Mizrahis and Palestinians in Israel, especially with regard to public housing policies. She argues that the differential land policies directed against Mizrahis formed the basis for their legal and social inferiority, and resulted in creating unique structural legal problems that collectively affect Mizrahis. Specifically, she represented Mizrahis and Palestinians who resisted the ruling order, especially through land and property lawbreaking. It is this notion of resistance and civil disobedience that she now wishes to explore further for her doctoral research at McGill as an O'Brien Fellow.

Among her publications are "Squatting and Invasion to Public Houses in Israel: Mizrahi Women Correcting Past Injustices" (in Law, Gender and Feminism. Daphne Barak - Erez et al. eds., 2006, Nevo Publishers), and "On Sense and Sensitivity - A Deconstructive Quest for My Mizrahi (Grass) Roots and Identity in Legal Representation" (in To My Sister: Mizrahi Feminist Politics. Shlomit Leer et al. eds., 2006, Babel Publishers). Claris Harbon has other scholarly articles in progress, and she is about to publish a children's book, along with a poetry book. Many of her poems have already been published in major poetry journals.

Bethany Hastie - O'Brien Fellow

Bethany Hastie (bethany [dot] hastie [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (email)) is a current O’Brien Fellow in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, and doctoral student with the Institute of Comparative Law at the Faculty of Law, McGill University.

Her doctoral research, under the supervision of Professor François Crépeau, examines the status of migrant worker programs in Canada, with a particular focus on the institutional and pragmatic gaps that enable exploitation and forced labour trafficking to occur.

Bethany completed her J.D. at the University of British Columbia (2009), and LL.M. at McGill University (2012). She has worked with the BC Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and as part of the UBC Human Trafficking Working Group.

Róisín Hennessy – O’Brien Fellow

Róisín Hennessy

Róisín is currently a DCL student at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. Her doctoral thesis is titled "A Critical Examination of the Role of Rule of Law Development Cooperation Programming in Combatting Gender Based Violence in Developing States in Transition from Conflict."

Róisín holds a European Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation (2003) along with an. LLM (2001) and a BCL (2000) from University College Cork, National University of Ireland.

From 2008 to 2010, she was a Policy and Legislative Review Officer with the Irish Human Rights Commission, National Human Rights Institution of Ireland. Previously, from 2003 to 2006, she was a Policy and Legislative Review Officer with the Irish Human Rights Commission, National Human Rights Institution of Ireland.

Publication

"Defining States’ International Legal Obligations to Cooperate for the Achievement of Human Development: One Aspect of Operationalizing a Human Rights Based Approach to Development", 2002 in Human Rights in Development Yearbook, Prof. Martin Scheinin and Prof. Markku Suksi (eds.), The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International; Oslo: Nordic Human Rights Publications.

John Hursh – O’Brien Fellow

John Hursh was named an O’Brien Fellow in 2012. He is pursuing a LL.M. at McGill University’s Institute of Comparative Law, where his thesis will focus on the various and overlapping legal traditions that shape women’s rights and women’s land rights in North Africa.

Before attending McGill, Mr. Hursh worked as a Research Associate for Landesa, a nonprofit legal organization based in Seattle that works to secure land rights for the world’s poorest people. His responsibilities included completing legal and policy research to support the organization’s work, especially within Kenya and Rwanda.

A member of the American Bar Association’s Africa Committee and the Missouri Bar, Mr. Hursh’s research interests include Islamic law – particularly within the Maghreb, critical appraisals of international law, and land tenure reform in Africa. His most recent article, Advancing Women’s Rights through Islamic Law: The Example of Morocco, appeared in the BERKELEY JOURNAL OF GENDER, LAW, AND JUSTICE earlier this year.

Mr. Hursh holds a J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a M.P.A. from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He also holds a M.A. and B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University. He has completed a research fellowship at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge and served as Executive Editor of Volume 84 of the INDIANA LAW JOURNAL.

Ivana Isailovic

Ivana Isailovic

Ivana Isailovic has a Master Degree in International Law from Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, and a Master 2 in Global Business Law and Global Governance, from Université Paris 1, in partnership with Columbia Law School and Sciences Po Paris.

She is a doctoral student at Sciences Po Paris, working under the supervision of Professor Horatia Muir-Watt, on the issue of extraterritoriality. Her doctoral thesis challenges the traditional distinction of public and private international law. It examines the impact of human rights law and economic law on the traditional classification, and the way this illuminates the question of extraterritoriality.

She is currently on exchange at McGill University, working under the supervision of Professor Geneviève Saumier.

Last year, she thought a course in Introduction to International Economic Law at Sciences Po Paris, and a course in Introduction to Law at Paris 1 Sorbonne.

Shimelis Mulugeta Kene

Shimelis Mulugeta Kene is a Doctor of Civil Law Candidate at the Institute of Comparative Law and an O’Brien Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. His doctoral research, supervised by Professor Payam Akhavan, explores the interplay between authoritarianism, counterterrorism and law by drawing on socio-legal perspectives.

Prior to joining McGill, Shimelis worked in a variety of roles and settings: as Law Clerk at the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court; as a Senior Trainer at Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia (a prominent human rights and social justice organization in the country); as a Human Rights expert at the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE); and as a Child Rights Officer at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

He completed his LLM in International Human Rights with Honors at Northwestern University’s School of Law in 2010, for which he was awarded a graduate legal studies fellowship. Following his graduation, as a Postgraduate Assistant at Northwestern, he conducted field research and wrote an assessment report on the Liberian Juvenile Justice System under the auspices of UNICEF Liberia. While at Northwestern, Shimelis served as a board member and the LLM students’ representative at the Amnesty International USA Northwestern University School of Law Chapter.

Prior to graduate studies, Shimelis earned an LLB from Addis Ababa University, producing a thesis entitled “Civil Trial on Trial: A Critical Evaluation of the Ethiopian Practice of Civil Trial”. While studying for his law degree, he also volunteered for a number of community organizations, teaching basic Ethiopian law and human rights, and contributed a number of book reviews to local papers.

In 2007, Shimelis was a recipient of the Outstanding Applicants Scholarship and participated as a delegate from Ethiopia in the Third Intergenerational Leadership Forum convened by the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.

Sabaa Khan

Sabaa Khan is an O'Brien Fellow in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at the Faculty of Law, and a DCL candidate within the Institute of Comparative Law. She holds an LL.M. in International Law from the Université de Montréal (2010, Liste d'excellence) and a Licentiate in Civil Law from the University of Ottawa (2000). She is a Member of the Barreau du Québec and has clerked at the International Labour Office, Freedom of Association Branch (Geneva).

Khan's current research explores interactions between international trade, labour and environmental regimes on the issues of electronic waste and urban ore mining. She has lectured at the 2010 CÉRIUM European and International Environmental Law Seminar (Montréal) and spoken at the 2011 World Resources Forum (Davos), on behalf of the StEP E-waste Summer School initiative of the United Nations University, Institute for Sustainability and Peace.

Her work on human rights and migrant caregivers has been published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society and her comparative research on the waste dimension of pervasive computing has been featured in the Lex Electronica. Khan is also a pianist and published composer, the author and illustrator of two children's books, and she holds a 1st dan black belt certified by the Japanese Karate Federation.

Isabelle Martin

Isabelle Martin

Isabelle Martin (isabelle [dot] martin [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)) completed a B.A. (honours) in economics at McGill University before studying law at Université de Montréal (LL.B. and LL.M.). Her LL.M thesis (La justice distributive et le droit aux services socio-sanitaires à travers la jurisprudence québécoise) was written under the supervision of Pr. Andrée Lajoie. She is a member of the Quebec Bar and has clerked at the Quebec Court of Appeal for Justice Baudouin and Justice Rothman. Before beginning her doctoral studies, she worked at Melançon Marceau Grenier Sciortino, a firm specialized in labour law. A SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholar, she is now working on her thesis under the supervision of Pr. Jean-Guy Belley. Her thesis examines the regulation of the tension between dignity and efficiency in firms. Three particular problems are studied: the nature of the relationship between shareholders and the firm, the duty to accommodate workers, and the regulation of marketing.

Isabelle Martin is mainly interested in the interaction between law and economics, particularly in labour, corporate and health law. She seeks to study the relationship between the discourses of economics and law while being attentive to their social and institutional contexts.

Bekithemba Mlauzi - O'Brien Fellow

Bekithemba Mlauzi (Zimbabwe) is an LLM student at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, and he is on a Disability Rights Scholarship Programme. His primary interests are to develop Disability Rights jurisprudence, assist in the review of the Disabled Persons Act (Cap 17:01) in Zimbabwe; ensure that all Zimbabwean Disability laws are in sync with the CRPD and the impending African Disability Protocol; challenging disability rights violations, being an amicus curiae, advocating, training and mentoring of lawyers and stakeholders involved in the justice delivery system on disability rights.

He has been a Legal Researcher at Venturas & Samukange Legal Practitioners, Harare, Zimbabwe. He has served in the Zimbabwe Republic Police where he did legal work, human resources and administration management and general policing. He served in Liberia and East Timor as an advisor to the peace negotiator and a peacekeeper respectively. Bekithemba has also served on the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and was instrumental in the implementation of the Access to Justice for Children Program in the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

For his LLM, Bekithemba intends to carry out an in-depth study on disability related statistics. His studies are made possible by the O’Brien Fellowships, James and OSF funding.

After his studies, Bekithemba intends to introduce a legal clinic for disabled persons at no cost subject to donor funding; establish a Traffic law Centre to research on traffic accidents and disability in Southern Africa amongst other things. He has published several legal articles on the Outpost (Zimbabwe Republic Police) magazine. He has organised and facilitated a number of International Humanitarian Law/International Human Rights workshops with the International Committee of the Red Cross; Access to Justice for Children workshops with the Legal Resources Foundation (Zimbabwe) and other stakeholders; Family Law workshops for police officers’ spouses and a number of legal training seminars and workshops for the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Catalina Peralta

Catalina Peralta

Catalina Peralta received her BA in sociology from “El Rosario” University (Bogotá, Colombia) and her MA in Anthropology from “Los Andes” University (Bogotá, Colombia) . She is currently pursuing her PhD in Humanities at Concordia University, under the supervision of Professor David Howes.

During her PhD, she aims to investigate the concept of “past event” in satisfaction of right for truth that is predicted for victims of heinous crimes. She wants to advance her research from an ethnographic, legal and philosophical perspective. From this multi-disciplinary perspective, her purpose is to analyze the claims raised by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights with respect to truth, and trace the relationship that satisfaction of this right sets between the narrative of lived experience and the experience itself as an understandable event.

Peralta is currently a scholar at National Program of Education for Researchers “Generación del Bicentenario, Francisco José de Caldas” and at El Rosario University, where she was Researcher Professor.

Matthew Pritchard

M Prittchard

Matthew Pritchard received his MA (Dean’s Honours) in Geography from McGill University in 2011, and is currently working on his doctoral dissertation with Dr. Jon Unruh in the Department of Geography. His research examines the evolution of natural resource management systems within the complex, legally pluralistic and highly variable environments of post-conflict countries.

Matthew’s ongoing research projects and publications include: the formalization of land use and management systems in Rwanda; territorialization through ‘military tourism’ in Cambodia; the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration (DDR) of former combatants; and the evolving narratives and practical implications of global ‘land grabs.’ Building on these interests and experiences, his doctoral research focuses on land tenure, forced displacement, livelihood stability and legal instrumentalism in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Matthew’s general research interests include: land reform, legal pluralism, forced displacement, post-conflict development, postwar natural resource management and political ecology. He combines his current work with degrees from the US and UK (highest distinction), as well as fieldwork in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, DRC and Cambodia.

Hassan Razavi

Hassan Razavi

Hassan Razavi (hassan [dot] razavi [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)) is a postdoctoral fellow and course lecturer at the McGill University, Faculty of Law where he conducts his research under the supervision of Frédéric Mégret (Canada Research Chair in Human Rights) and teaches “International Trade Law and Human Rights”. He holds a PhD in law from the University of Neuchatel, Faculty of Law, in Switzerland and he wrote his doctoral thesis on international trade under the supervision of Petros Mavroidis (Columbia Law School). 

In Iran’s Public Universities Entrance Examination in 2001, he came second out of a field of 550,000 candidates. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Law at the University of Tehran, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences and he was awarded “Dr. Vahedi Memorial Award,” which is granted to the best law student in each year. Hassan also holds a Master’s degree (LL.M.) in private and Islamic law obtained from the University of Tehran, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences where he studied the impact of law and economics on contract law.

During his studies in Iran, Hassan practiced as a lawyer and member of the Iran Central Bar Association for two years and acted as a legal advisor or in-house legal counsel for some business entities and institutions in Iran. He has also served as a legal and compliance officer in Switzerland, and acted as an adviser for the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law. He is a winner of the Justice Makers Fellowship award from International Bridges to Justice-Geneva, and he is currently a member of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA). Hassan provides legal advice on banking, economic sanctions, international trade law and human rights.

Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs (jeffrey [dot] sachs [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)) received his MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 2007, where he studied religion and Islamic activism in contemporary Egypt. Presently pursuing a doctoral degree in Islamic Studies at McGill under the supervision of Professor Khalid Medani, Jeffrey’s dissertation proposes to explore the process of Islamization in Sudan and Egypt, with a concentration on issues of secularism, law, and human rights. His research interests include codification of religious law, education reform, and religion in the public sphere.

Mohamed Sesay, PhD student, Dept of Political Science, McGill

Mohammed Sesay

In 2009, I graduated from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone with a Master of Philosophy in Political Science. My thesis was titled "Military Reform and Post-conflict Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone."

I am currently a 1st year PhD student in the Department of Political Science, McGill University. My research work focuses on security sector reform, disarmament demobilization and reintegration (DDR), transitional justice, and peacebuilding processes in post-war Sierra Leone. I presented a paper in the 2011 ISA conference in Montreal titled "Externally led Military Reform in Africa: Lessons from Sierra Leone."

I have also collaborated with Dr. Megan MacKenzie of the Victoria University of Wellington in a number of research projects culminating in conference presentations and journal articles on transitional justice processes. We are working on a project titled "Measuring Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Lessons from Sierra Leone" with preliminary fieldwork conducted in 2009. Also, we have co-authored an article that has been provisionally accepted for publication by the International Studies Perspectives journal, titled "No Amnesty from/for the International: the Production and Promotion of TRCs as an International Norm in Sierra Leone."

As a researcher with the Centre for Development and Security Analysis (2004-09) I was actively involved in a nationwide study on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone (2007). In 2008 I participated in a graduate student exchange programme between the University of Sierra Leone and the University of Alberta, funded by the Department for Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Canada.

Mourad Shalaby

Mourad has a Bachelor`s degree in Human Environmental Geography from the University of Montreal, where he conducted multiple studies on urban issues in Third World countries, field assessments of land management, Environmental Impact Assessments and Natural Resources managements. Some of his work included the analysis of air pollution in the city of Cairo, the history of transport policy and planning in the city of Montreal and the evaluation of quality of life in the city of Montreal, with the University of Montreal and the help of the cities of Cairo and Montreal. He has a certificate in Trade, Development & the Environment from the London School of Economics, where he conducted research on the issue of Climate Change and the role of the United States. He is currently enrolled in the Geography Masters program at McGill University, where he is preparing a thesis on Climate Change, Development and Adaptation in the Congo Forest Region. During the summer of 2009, he will be working for the World Bank collecting data for his research.

Alain-Guy Sipowo

Alain-Guy Sipowo, SSHRC Postdoctoral fellow, has studied civil law and political science at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon, where he holds a LLB and a postgraduate degree in public law. Having passed with first class honours the competitive examination for entrance at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon, he completed with honours a D.E.S.S (advanced specialized postgraduate degree) in International disputes settlement in 2008. In 2007, he was awarded an allowance by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie to attend Masters studies in International and European Human Rights Law at Nantes University in France, which he completed with first class honours. Alain-Guy joined Laval University in Quebec City in fall 2008 and completed his doctoral studies after an accelerated passage from LL.M to LL.D. In line with his previous research on international criminal liability and process during his studies at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon and Nantes, Alain-Guy’s doctoral thesis studied the phenomenon of secrecy in the proceedings of the International Criminal Court, analysing how the abundance of confidentiality risk jeopardizing the cathartic and pedagogical functions of the ICC’s as well as its own affectivity, accountability and legitimacy. His thesis was publicly defended in fall 2014 with first class honours and unanimous recommendation to publish. The jury was composed of such distinguished scholars as William Schabas (Middlesex, London), Pacifique Manirakiza (Ottawa), Pierre Rainville, Fannie Lafontaine and Julia Grignon (Laval, Quebec).

Alain-Guy has combined his education with a flourishing work experience. During his studies, he gained traineeship positions with the division of legal affairs of the Cameroonian ministry of foreign affairs, the service of legal affairs and international cooperation of the African Organization for intellectual property, the Registry of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Division of Victims and Council of the International Criminal Court. At Laval University, he was several times research assistant to many professors at the Faculty of Law and at the Institut des Hautes Études Internationales in the area of international and national criminal/security law as well as civil and public law. In 2010-2011, he served as human rights officer with the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading many monitoring missions in conflict zones and drafting reports and legal advices on human rights abuses. Alain-Guy assisted professor Fannie Lafontaine as she founded the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic at Laval University. He successively acted as supervisor of the ICC Legal Tool Project, helping to build a database on ICC jurisprudence, and as deputy director to the Clinic. Since 2010, Alain-Guy has taught several courses in the discipline of International Law at Laval University, including public international law, international refugee law, international criminal law and international human rights law.

Alain-Guy was awarded the Canadian Council on International Law John Peters Humphrey fellowship in human rights and international organizations consecutively in 2009 and 2010 for his doctoral studies at Laval University. He is the 6th from a Canadian university to be awarded the prestigious diploma of The Hague Academy of International Law (2011). In 2010, he won the Charles-Rousseau Moot competition in public international law with Laval University, distinguishing himself as the best litigator in the final.

His research interests include public international law, international disputes settlement, international relations, international criminal law, international human rights law and international refugees and migration law. He is developing expertise in the theory of global law and legal pluralism as applied to such issues as refugees, human rights and environment. He has published law articles and book chapters in Canada and abroad on international criminal justice, collective security, transitional justice and humanitarian law. At the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Alain-Guy will work with professor René Provost on the implications of the doctrine of responsibility to protect for multinational corporations. He will also teach a seminar entitle “The African Human Rights System in Perspective”.

Jon Waind

Jon Waind

Jon Waind received his Master of Theological Studies degree from Trinity Western University (Langley, BC) in 2007. He is currently working towards a PhD in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University. He studies under the supervision of Professor Daniel Cere in the area of religion and culture. Jon’s main area of interest resides in the intersection between religion, human rights, and the institution of the family. Growing out of this interest, his thesis research will focus on how to approach the vulnerability of children in a pluralist society. It will be the aim of this research project to articulate a way of doing justice to children that takes into account the pluralism of our contemporary social context. Jon also has research interests in Christian ethics, political theology, political theory, and the interface between religion and globalization. In addition to studying, Jon enjoys life in Montreal with his wife Tonja and their four children.