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Reppy Institute Fellows 2024-25

Our Reppy Fellows are master's, doctoral, and law students at Cornell who receive unique opportunities for professional networking and development in the field of peace and conflict studies. Meet the 2024–25 cohort. 

Headshot of Ayesha Umana Dajud

Ayesha Umaña Dajud

Ayesha is a J.S.D. student (Ph.D. in Law) focused on International Criminal Law and Human Rights Litigation. Her research focuses on political genocides. She does a comparative study of International Criminal Law and Latin American National Criminal Law, comparing the historical and political processes pursued in the International and Latin American systems. 

Basim Ali Portrait photo

Basim Ali 

Basim is a second-year Master of Public Administration student at the Brooks School of Public Policy, concentrating in International Development Studies with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. His research interests lie in the intersection of conflict resolution, strategic decision-making, and leveraging artificial intelligence to address global policy challenges. 

Dayra Lascano Portrait photo

Dayra Lascano 

Dayra Lascano is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at Cornell University, specializing in International Relations with a minor focus on Comparative Politics. Her research focuses on understanding the conditions that promote successful cooperation among political leaders within Regional International Organizations (RIOs). 

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Elisha Smith  

Elisha Smith currently pursuing an MPS in Global Development. For the past five years, he has worked in global development and agriculture in post-conflict regions in Iraq and Syria. He is interested in how to build peace in post-conflict communities in the Middle East through agriculture and rural community development. 

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Esam Boraey   

Esam Boraey is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at Cornell University, specializing in Comparative Politics with a minor focus on International Relations. His research focuses on the impact of military control over the economy on democratization and peaceful transitions. He studies social movements in the Middle East.

Georgy Tarasenko Portrait photo

Georgy Tarasenko 

Georgy Tarasenko is a PhD student in the Department of Government. He is interested in freedom as a theoretical and empirical phenomenon, focusing on non-democratic and illiberal politics. One of his research agendas examines wartime politics, specifically investigating Russian mercenary violence in Africa and the impact of casualties in the Russo-Ukrainian war on public opinion. 

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Maria Alejandra Anaya Torres

Director's Fellow

Maria Alejandra is a J.S.D. candidate at Cornell Law School. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to law, environmental justice, and human rights. Her dissertation focuses on examining the intersection between rights-based climate litigation, climate movements, and climate governance at the global level.

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Mursal Rahim

Mursal Rahim is an MPA student at the Brooks School of Public Policy, concentrating on Human Rights and Social Justice. Mursal has experience in legal, educational, and refugee community support. Her research explores the role of Afghan women in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Mursal highlights the importance of inclusive approaches to sustainable peace and advocates for policies supporting women's active participation in the peace process.

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Paul Caruso 

Paul Caruso is a first-year MPA student at the Brooks School of Public Policy. Paul’s concentration is in Government, Politics, and Policy Studies, focusing on international affairs and peace studies. Paul’s research investigates the opportunities for conflict resolution and negotiation that shared climate crises present.  

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Salvador Ernesto Pineda 

Salvador Ernesto Pineda is a second-year MBA student at Cornell University and holds an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. His research interests include the intersection of conflict studies, international development and trade, climate policies, and financial empowerment. He examines conflict through the lens of transitional justice and explores how to minimize the recurrence of human rights abuses.

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Synia Taitt 

Synia Taitt is a first-year Ph.D. student in Cornell University's government department. Her research in American politics focuses on the intersection of social movements, linked fate, policies, and public institutions, such as policing.

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Zorana Knezevic 

Zorana Knezevic holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of South Florida and an MA in International Human Rights from the University of Denver. Her research areas are at the intersection of conflict studies and human rights, human security, and georeferenced data. Zorana has conducted research on the why, when, and where civil war combatants engage in intentional cultural destruction (ICD). 

Read about our previous Reppy fellows here.