School of Peace Studies

Contact: Don Trinh
Phone: (619) 260-7795
Fax: (619) 849-8109

Location: KIPJ Room 113
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

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Students and Alumni

2008 Alumni

Brian St. Clair (California, USA)

Brian holds a B.S. in International Politics with a concentration in U.S. Foreign Policy from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  While at Georgetown, he tutored inmates to pass the math portion of the GED exam at a nearby penitentiary in Virginia.  He has also volunteered with Catholic Charities to teach English and life skills to refugees from Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.  He studied global politics and ethics at ITESO in Guadalajara, México through USD during a summer program, and upon returning to Georgetown was a founding member of the John Main Center for Meditation and Inter-religious Dialogue.  Most recently, Brian worked for Bank of America while simultaneously pursuing a career as a professional actor.  Brian has performed on stage and screen in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. and Virginia.
(Updated 09/2007)

Maxine Chieng (Yap, Micronesia)

Chieng holds a B.A. in sociology with an emphasis in criminology and a minor in pre-law with honors from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. As an undergraduate, Chieng became interested in human rights and social justice. She interned at the Public Counsel Law Center working alongside Volunteers of America where she helped the victims of Hurricane Katrina find housing in the Los Angeles region. She also volunteered at A Place Called Home (APCH) in South Central, Los Angeles, working with at-risk youth.  In addition, Chieng frequently devoted her time to campus ministry events, some of which involved feeding the homeless in Santa Monica. She is currently a youth leader of Micronesian Outreach Ministries USA (MOMUSA) where she reaches out to fellow Micronesians in faith and peace. In the master’s program, Chieng’s interests were interrelated with women and children’s human rights, cultural-based issues and peacemaking within diverse societies. Chieng traveled to Rwanda to complete her master’s thesis: “Christian based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and youth ministries are effective in contributing to peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and reintegration of Rwandan youth back into a post-genocide society.” She is currently working at Alliance for African Assistance in San Diego. Chieng’s position as a Supportive Services Specialist enables her to work directly with refugees, immigrants, and the underprivileged by efficiently utilizing local resources to remove barriers to employment in California. (Updated 04/2009)

Jane L. Crane (California, USA)    

Jane Crane is an author and speaker on issues of gender and justice and chairs a coalition of leaders from various nations that is working on gender equality, justice and reconciliation. She completed her Masters studies at the School of Peace Studies with a focus on women's land rights in Sub-Saharan Africa and serves as an advocate in this field. Jane has published the “Map for Gender Reconciliation,” which provides a look at gender discrimination around the world,the first timeline of the history of women in the church, a study of biblical references regarding women, and the classic steps of reconciliation as applied to gender. She has served on numerous boards and is an author on board governance for nonprofit organizations. Jane holds a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from the University of California at Irvine and has completed a course in nonprofit governance at Harvard Business School.
(Updated 04/2009)

Ellen Dougherty ( Pennsylvania, USA )

Ellen has worked with the United Nations in the Office of Legal Affairs in New York and with the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra Leone.Witnessing the atrocities committed against civilians there ripped at her, as much intellectually as emotionally, and she has felt compelled and committed to working in the field of human rights ever since. Having had the opportunity to work with an international war tribunal made her particularly interested in studying the issues within societies that encourage conflict and intolerance. Hence, Ellen furthered her studies in conflict resolution and received an M.A. in Peace and Justice in 2008. Prior to her studies at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, Ellen received a Law degree at the Inns of Court School of Law, City University of London, England and her B.S in Human Development and Family Studies and a Minor in Sociologyat Pennsylvania State University. Most recently,sheworkedwith Human Rights Watch researching andconducting a comparative analysis of death penalty rates inTexasto other demographically similar U.S. states and Europe. During her graduate studies, she was granted funds to conduct field research in Sierra Leone for her thesis project titled "Child Soldiers & African Customary Law". She has volunteered at amputee camps and orphanages in some of the poorest nations in the world, including Sierra Leone and Haiti. Her experiences abroad inspired her interest in international human rightslaw, transitional justice,and conflict prevention and resolution.
(Updated 03/2009)

Jennifer Ibrahim (Beirut, Lebanon)

Jennifer is an international development professional with over 4 years of experience working on human rights, youth education, democracy and governance, and conflict resolution projects in the Middle East region. She has lived and worked in Lebanon, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories and has traveled to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, and Greece. Ever since spending four years volunteering in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps at a young age, her academic research has centered around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with particular emphasis on right of return issues and the dire situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Ms. Ibrahim earned her bachelor's degree in International Affairs and Middle East Studies from the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, DC, and her master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
(Updated 04/2009)


Ilze Dzenovska (Riga, Latvia)

In 2008, as a Fulbright student from Latvia, Ilze completed her graduate studies in Peace and Justice Studies at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS) with a focus on accountability, restorative justice, security sector reform and prospects for lasting peace; conflict transformation through narrative mediation; and environmental justice. The geographic areas of her academic work were Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Bangladesh and Georgia.
Prior to joining KSPS in 2007, Ilze worked at the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS as researcher and project director in the area of Criminal Justice Policy, particularly focusing on victims’ rights advocacy, restorative justice, community policing and police performance evaluation. She also served as an editorial team member and interviewer for a public policy website (, focusing on gender equality and criminal justice issues. Ilze holds a professional Law degree from the University of Latvia and a B.A. in Political Science from Riga Stradins University, 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. Upon graduation from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, she has worked as a peace writer with the Women PeaceMakers program at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ), documenting and narrating the work of a woman peacemaker from Bangladesh, and currently is coordinating a working conference project on transborder water management issues between US and Mexico. Ilze’s peacebuilding efforts are grounded in her personal spiritual practice of Vipassana meditation and yoga. (Updated 04/2009)

Willy Sammy Lokadio (Kacheliba, Kenya)

Willy Sammy Lokadio has a BA in Economics and Geography from University of Nairobi (Nairobi). Lokadio is from North West Kenya, a region prone to persistent inter-communal conflicts over cattle, a major source of conflict since the 18th century. Also, as a pioneer graduate in the region, he has been in the forefront fighting against injustices practiced against these communities by the successive governments taking advantage of their high illiteracy levels. His eight years of experience in the Catholic peace and justice commission and his own personal experiences in the region drive him to struggle for lasting peace in the region. His interests are studying negotiation and mediation skills combined with human rights.
(Updated 09/2007)

Alejandra Ojeda-Beck (California, USA)

Alejandra achieved her Masters degree from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies in 2008 after having completed a B.A. at the University of California, Davis with dual degrees in Political Science and International Relations in 2006. Ojeda-Beck’s areas of undergraduate emphasis included: peace and war issues, human rights and Latin American regional studies. After graduation from UC Davis, she interned with La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación(Truth and Reconciliation Committee) in Lima, Peru, living and working on site for four months. Her Masters capstone project explored the potential use of microlending within internally displaced or refugee populations. Her field research took place in Quibdó, Colombia in the district of Chocó. She is currently concluding her second season coaching with the University of San Diego men's rowing team, during which time the team has seen its two most successful seasons in its history. In the near future, she plans on working in Perú as abilingual grant writer, while continuing research on microlending organizations.
(Updated 04/2009)

Skylar Ritchie-Lawrence (California, USA)

B.A. in Community Studies and a minor in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ritchie traveled extensively growing up, and has lived on the divided island of Cyprus as well as the Basque region of southern France. During her undergraduate studies, Ritchie spent six months working in New York City with Jehane Noujaim, director of the documentary film, Control Room, where she wrote a case study analyzing the ability of social documentation to promote social change and increase political understanding through addressing the narratives of individuals and communities in conflict. Ritchie built upon her interest in the cultural studies of conflict resolution during her time at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and she spent two months living and working in the West Bank where she wrote her graduate thesis on narrative mediation and the development of social identities in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Her areas of interest within international peace and justice are gender studies of post-conflict development, as well as analyzing how conflict is represented in the art, media, and folklore of communities in conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. Ritchie currently lives in New York City and continues to travel and explore different cultures.

(Updated 04/2009)

Aadila Sabat (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)

Aadila holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Law from the University of KwaZulu Natal.  Before going to University, Aadila took a gap year and spent a year in Vichy, France as a Rotary Exchange Student, which then allowed her to teach English to Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi who could only speak French.  In her teenage years, Aadila volunteered her time with Rotary International in South Africa and spent time with people who have HIV/AIDS, as well as Refugees and people with disabilities. Aadila received a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship to receive her MA in Peace and Justice Studies at the University of San Diego.  On her return to South Africa, she would like to work for the South African Government or the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and be involved in the policy decision making process for refugees in Africa.  Aadila lives by the quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
(Updated 09/2007)

Ms. Shobha Shtrestha (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Shobha Shrestha holds a post graduate degree from BRAC Bangladesh in NGO Leadership and Management.  Shrestha is working as a Program Coordinator focusing on Peace and Justice Initiatives for a non-governmental organization, South Asia Partnership-Nepal (SAP-Nepal).  She has worked for peace, gender equality, and democracy in Nepal for close to a decade. She also works as a trainer and has conducted trainings through out the country, and South Asia. Currently, Shrestha has been working on socioeconomic transformation of women and socially, economically and politically excluded groups of rural communities in the Eastern and Central regions of Nepal. She is also focused on empowering emerging leaders to gain access to policy makers in Nepal. She has been working for Small Arms Control since December 2003 as the member-secretary of South Asia Small Arms Network (SASA Net) Nepal.  Shrestha also focuses on disarming domestic violence which aims to reduce gun deaths and prevent violence against women. She did a research paper on “Small Arms Monitoring – Nepal Chapter" and is one of the authors of SASA Net Nepal’s publication “Nepal at Barrel of Gun”.  She focuses on human security and is committed to the control of small arms and to promoting peace building in the country.She has been an active participant in the IPJ Nepal project since 2003. Since 2005, she worked as the IPJ local partner, coordinating all of the in-country components of the project. (Updated 04/2009)

 Swamana Nabieu Rogers (Freetown, Sierra Leone)

Swamana holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone). His passion for peace building and conflict resolution started in 2003, while he was still at the University and he volunteered to work for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone (TRC). This commission was set up by the government, to conduct public as well as closed door hearings for both victims and perpetrators of the decade long war in the country. In 2005, he worked for the West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) Freetown country office, a sub regional radio station that enhances peace, justice and human rights within the sub region through radio broadcast. In 2007, he joined the United Nations Integrated office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), a UN peace building mission created to consolidate peace in the country, enhance development and ensure human rights. For five months, he was a producer for UN radio programs in Sierra Leone. As producer, he was responsible for the production of programs that promoted dialogue among the local population. That experience motivated him to pursue an in-depth and qualitative education in peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Upon completing the MA program, Swamana hopes to embark on peace consolidation and development enhancement in post conflict countries like Sierra Leone.
(Updated 09/2007)