Women PeaceMakers
Institute for Peace and Justice

Contact: Jennifer Freeman
Phone: (619) 260-7569
Fax: (619) 260-7570

Location: KIPJ Room 121
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

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Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

2008 Peace Writers

Ilze Dzenovska, a Fulbright scholar and 2008 graduate of the M.A. program in peace and justice studies at the University of San Diego, was born in Riga, Latvia. Growing up during the time of Latvia's struggle to regain independence and its journey of democratization, Dzenovska developed a passion for human rights and cross-cultural understanding. She received her B.A. in political science from Riga Stradins University, Latvia, and a law degree from the University of Latvia. Prior to her studies in San Diego, Dzenovska's work and research encompassed areas such as victims' rights advocacy, gender equality, restorative justice and police reform projects at the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS in Latvia. She is also an accredited mediator by the School of Psychotherapy and Counseling at Regent's College, London, and a member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice.

Dzenovska worked with peacemaker Shinjita Alam of Bangaldesh and wrote the narrative "The Candle of Bangaldesh."

Updated 6/10 - After completing her time as a peace writer, Dzenovska worked for the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies as conference coordinator for the Greening Borders conference in Fall 2009.

Jennifer Freeman has a B.A. in political science, German and European studies from the University of Victoria in Canada and an M.A. in peace and conflict studies from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, where she studied on a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. Freeman has worked with various nongovernmental organizations in Ghana, the United Kingdom, Canada and in Ugandan refugee settlements on issues of women's rights and peacebuilding through sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, supporting women with HIV/AIDS and conducting psychosocial programs for war-affected youth. For her master's thesis, Freeman conducted research in Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda on gendered security, for which she interviewed Congolese, Rwandan and Burundian refugees on their perspectives of human and traditional security threats in their countries of origin and since arriving in the “safety” of asylum.

Freeman worked with Sylvie Maunga Mbanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and wrote the narrative "Healing the Wounds of War."

Updated 6/10 - Freeman coordinated the 2009 Women PeaceMakers event Bearing Exquisite Witness and served again as a peace writer in 2009, writing the story of Zeinab Mohamed Blandia of Sudan. She is now program officer for the Women PeaceMakers Program.

Bianca Morales-Egan graduated from the University of San Diego in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in international relations and a minor in Spanish, and from the American University in Washington, D.C., in 2003 with a master's degree in international development with a special emphasis in women in development. Her master's thesis was on “Women and Politics in Latin America: From Social Movements to Democratization.” Morales-Egan recently worked in the research department at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minnesota, and has coordinated a girl's youth mentoring program for the Liberian Women's Initiatives of Minnesota and served as a medical outreach coordinator for the ComCARE Alliance. She has dedicated many hours as a community volunteer, including work for African immigrant organizations, international networking groups, a women's homeless shelter and transitional housing for abused children.

Morales-Egan worked with Olenka Ochoa of Peru and wrote the narrative "Paving the Path to Peace."

Updated 6/10 - Morales-Egan is regional desk officer for the Latin America/U.S. Border Programs of Project Concern International, a San Diego-based nonprofit health and humanitarian aid organization.

Alicia Simoni's life experiences have inspired a career and research focused on the gendered implications of violence and on women's capacity to create positive change. As an undergraduate studying anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, she worked with homeless women in Baltimore and, while studying abroad, Protestant women in Northern Ireland. After graduating, Simoni began work at Women for Women International where she contributed to the design, implementation and monitoring of programs in several post-conflict and conflict contexts, including Afghanistan. In 2007 she completed her M.A. in international peace studies at the University of Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. During her graduate studies, Simoni spent time in Uganda working for The AIDS Support Organization and researching the role of masculinity in peacebuilding. She then returned to Women for Women International as a monitoring and evaluation officer, where she was surrounded on a daily basis by evidence of women supporting each other through traumatic events and encouraging each other to challenge the status quo.

Simoni worked with Zandile Nhlengetwa of South Africa and wrote the narrative "Deepening the Peace."

In 2010, Simoni wrote "Keeper of the Soul of the People," the narrative of Bae Liza Llesis Saway of the Philippines.

Updated 6/10 - Simoni is editor and community manager at Peace X Peace, a global network of women with women-focused e-media, fresh analysis and from-the-frontlines perspectives.

Updated 11/11 - Simoni is getting her master of social work from Smith College's School for Social Work and is now based in Atlanta, Ga.