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

2010 Alumni

Tahera Sajjad Anny

Tahera Sajjad Anny hails from Bangladesh, the country with the longest beach in the world. Growing up Muslim in the capital city of Dhaka, Tahera developed respect for all religions. She graduated from Dhaka University with a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology. After graduate school, Tahera joined Save the Children USA as a youth specialist in their HIV/AIDS program. While working there, she counseled diverse groups of people considered at high-risk for HIV/AIDS.  Working with sex workers and people living with HIV, Tahera found out that not only were her patients battling disease, they also faced discrimination that affected their ability to meet their basic needs. Believing that access to basic care is a human right, Tahera hopes to gain knowledge and skills to help those most in need.

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Lisa Barnhill

Lisa grew up in San Diego, California. She received her B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA) in 2007 with a degree in biology and international studies. As a student, she was involved with campus ministries to promote awareness of international issues such as poverty, HIV/AIDS,and refugees, which fostered a passion for pursuing justice. During her undergraduate years, Lisa volunteered in a South African medical center, conducting research for the center's nutrition unit. As a resultof this experience, she spent the next year writing a senior project that focused on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From these introductions to the field of peace and justice came a desire to work toward health, development, and reconciliation in nations affected by conflict. After graduation, she worked at the University of California, San Diego as an oncology research assistant.  With her enrollment in the Master’s program at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, Lisa intends to pursue her interest in health care and development.

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Marisa Bedrosian

A California native, Marisa graduated from Westmont College (Santa Barbara, CA) in 2006 with a B.A. in Communications Studies. Marisa’s interest in peace and justice studies arose during her 2004 conflict-reconciliation study abroad term in Northern Ireland. In recent years, Marisa has lived in Honolulu, HI working with the Not for Sale Campaign and the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery. During her time in Hawaii, Marisa discovered her passion to end modern-day slavery through social awareness campaigns, development of new state legislation, and outreach to victims of sex trafficking. Marisa is interested in the comparative studies of national and international human rights injustices and the role of government involvement in law-making and enforcement. With this knowledge she would like to devote her life to promoting equality for women and children around the world. She is inspired by her faith in Jesus Christ and by the courageous women who rise above amidst injustice and suffering. Marisa plans to attend law school following completion of her Master’s degree in Peace Studies.

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Janice Deaton 

Janice is a native San Diegan, who graduated from San Diego State University with degrees in Greek and Roman Classics and Spanish.  She received a certificate of completion in Spanish at the University of Granada in Spain, and went to law school at the University of San Francisco where she graduated cum laude.  Janice’s interest in civil rights took her to the field of criminal law, which has been her specialty for almost two decades.  In 2006, she founded a non-profit in Tijuana Mexico, “Corazon Global,” which is a contemplative studies institute and includes outreach to children in Tijuana with workshops centering on self-esteem.  She is fluent in Spanish.  Her work at Corazon Global has taken Janice around the world including Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Mexico City and England, where she taught and facilitated conferences.  Her specialty at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies is Human Rights.

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Veronica Geretz

Veronica is passionate about peace.  She grew up in Norwalk, Ohio and is a 2009 graduate of Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA), summa cum laude with All College Honors.  She obtained degrees in both Psychology and Philosophy.  While in college, she created a youth empowerment initiative working with local teenage girls through means of a photographic narrative camp.  In addition, she developed and conducted a research study investigating the psychological correlates of morality.  Veronica has been fortunate enough to travel to Greece, Spain, Croatia, Canada, and Mexico.  She also has a functionally-commanding knowledge of German.  Every component of the peacemaking process has always intrigued her.  It is her ambition to help prevent the desperation that leads to the recruitment of child soldiers and to assist former child soldiers in being successfully reintroduced into their communities. 

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Ghulam Ishaq Hassan

Ghulam is originally from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, which is located 73 kilometers from the Pakistani border. In 2006, he earned his law degree (with honors) in Sharia and Western Law from the International Islamic University (Islamabad, Pakistan). In 2007, he joined the international accounting firm of KPMG in Kabul as a Tax Officer.  Subsequently, he worked for the International Development Law Organization, a non-governmental organization funded by the Italian government, in the area of capacity development for legal professionals. Most recently, Ghulam worked on a project for USAID that focused on the capacity development of government officials.  Ghulam believes that the lack of professional human rights workers has led to many of the abuses suffered by the Afghan population.  At the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, Ghulam hopes to gain greater knowledge and skills in the area of Human Rights.  A native speaker of Pashto, Ghulam also speaks English, Arabic, Dari, Urdu and Hindi.

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Ainul Fajri

Ainul was born and raised in the Indonesian province of Aceh – scene of intense devastation from the 2004 earthquake and tsunami. But even before this tragic natural disaster, Aceh was well-known for its prolonged conflict with the central government. Ainul received her B.A. in Russian Languages and Literature in 2006 from the University of Padjadjaran, West-Java Indonesia. In 2008, she was invited to join a three-week course in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation hosted jointly by the Asian Muslim Action Network, Asian Research Foundation and Payap University in Thailand.  This course fueled her passion to study peace and justice.  Most recently, she worked with the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR NAD-Nias), an initiative agency that was established by the Indonesian government in response to the tsunami. At the BRR NAD-Nias, Ainul worked on various issues, including child protection, woman empowerment, and capacity building for the local government. Academically, Ainul has a deep interest in studying human security, primarily in the areas of the disaster prevention and relief, and peacekeeping issues. Upon the completion of her Master’s degree, she wants to work for the further development of Aceh as well as Indonesia.

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Vivien Francis

Vivien was born in Guatemala to a Lebanese father and a Palestinian mother.  Consequently, she has first-hand experience with some of the most conflict-afflicted areas in the world.  In 1987, she was in the Palestinian-controlled territories when the first Palestinian uprising took place. She was also in Beirut in 1991 right after the peace agreements were signed.  And in 1995, she was in Israel when Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated.  In Latin America, Vivien has witnessed the guerrillas in El Salvador and the social injustice in Guatemala. She sought asylum in the U.S.   She intends to focus her graduate study on Human Rights.

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Breyn Hibbs

Breyn is from Bend, Oregon. First in her family to go to college, she graduated from the University of San Diego in May 2009 with a B.A. in Philosophy and minors in Leadership Studies and Asian Studies. Breyn also graduated with an American Humanics Certificate, which is a national certification program designed to prepare individuals to work in the not-for-profit sector. Breyn’s most memorable experience from her undergraduate years is the trip she took to study abroad at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica through USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences.  Breyn also studied abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico and London, England. Breyn finds it fitting that while she’s studying for her Master’s degree at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, she will also be working as a graduate assistant at USD Women’s Center, since her primary interest is gender-specific human rights abuses.

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Koffi Hilaire Kouadjo

Koffi is a native of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire), a French-speaking country in West Africa.  A graduate of the University of Cocody-Abidjan, Koffi has earned an Advanced Diploma of vocational studies (equivalent to a Master’s degree) in Human Resources Management; a Doctorate in Linguistics; and a Master’s degree at the UNESCO Chair of the Culture of Peace. His Master’s thesis was entitled “The Contribution of Traditional Kingship to the Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire: a Case Study of the Agny Ndenean.” For ten years, Koffi taught Linguistics at the University of Cocody, where he focused his research on African methods of conflict resolution. His vision for African peace was inspired by the Ivorian Civil War (2002-2007).  Koffi also has extensive community involvement.  In 2005, he co-founded a foundation dedicated to university and community development projects.  In the mid-1990s, Koffi worked with a local non-governmental organization to promote Ivorian unity.  A Fulbright and Rotary International Scholar, Koffi intends to continue his research work in the field of Conflict Resolution and Analysis.

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Ernest B. Makulilo, Jr.

Ernest is a native of Tanzania and aFulbright Visiting Scholar. He graduated from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania with a B.A. in Political Science and Language. He has taught at Marshall University, West Virginia, and has worked for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees. He received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to pursue his Master’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, where he will specialize in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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Victoria (Torrey) Modic

Torrey is a native San Diegan.  She completed her B.A. in Art (1966) at San Diego State University.  Following graduation, she entered the Peace Corps where she spent 2½ years in eastern Venezuela.  Returning to the United States, she completed her M.A. in Art (1971) at SDSU followed a few years later by an A.S. in Medical Record Technology (1981) from San Diego Mesa College.  During this time she volunteered with the HIV/AIDS Ministry at St. Patrick’s Church in North Park, the Catholic Diocese of San Diego’s HIV/AIDS Commission, and the Names Project.  During her employment at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, she has been involved with Uptown Faith Community Services and the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.  She intends to focus her study on human security issues.

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Father Daniel Nganga

Fr. Dan comes to San Diego from Kenya. He received his B.A. in Philosophy in 1995 from Urbaniana University Rome and a B.A. in Theology in 2000.  Most recently, he graduated with a Master’s of Philosophy (M.Phil.) from Moi University in Eldorat, Kenya.  His Master’s thesis was entitled "Critical Evaluation on National Integration in Kenya Based on Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy." Fr. Dan speaks fluent English and Swahili, as well as a number of local Kenyan dialects.  His interest in studying peace and justice was sparked by the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 as well as by his experience mediating local disputes over limited resources.  In his duties as a priest, he has worked with two warring pastoral communities that have been engaged in a constant fight over water and pasture land. After working closely with the local Diocese’s Office of Justice and Peace to give assistance to the communities, it dawned on Fr. Dan that he needed to attain more skills in conflict management and resolution.  Through his graduate work at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, Fr. Dan hopes to learn new approaches to handling local disputes.  He wishes all his classmates and professors good health and God’s blessings.

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Parminder Randhawa

Parminder was born in Punjab, India and lived in a very rural village for the early years of her childhood. At the age of nine, she immigrated to the United States and lived with her family in the Philadelphia area. Having spent equal amounts of her childhood and early schooling in two very different environments, she feels fortunate to have had both experiences inform her personal beliefs and interests. After graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1993, she pursued her undergraduate studies at Yale University, where she earned her B.A. in Economics in 1997. She then worked in Product Management and Administration until 2001. At that point, Parminder went back to school to earn her teaching credential. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Masters in English. Parminder taught humanities in middle and high school for six years -- three at an international school in China and three in public schools in San Diego. In the future, Parminder hopes to integrate her previous academic, personal and professional experiences with what she learns through the School of Peace Studies to work in the areas of peace education and women’s empowerment.

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Tiffany Robertson

Tiffany Robertson is a native of Maryville, Missouri.  She received her B.S. in Public Relations from Northwest Missouri State University in 2007, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.  As an undergraduate, Tiffany worked at the Intercultural International Center, where she conducted research, organized events, and gave presentations.   Her international experience includes a summer abroad in Nigbo, China, where she served as an English teacher, program organizer, and mentor.  Tiffany seeks to be an agent of change, which is why she came to the Kroc School of Peace Studies.  She intends to specialize in either Conflict Resolution or Development.  Upon completion of the program, Tiffany hopes to pursue professional interests in fields such as human and community development or youth and civic empowerment programs.

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Upendra Malla Tara

Upendra is from Nepal, a small landlocked country in South Asia. He received his Master’s degree in Science from the Tribhuvan University (Kitipur, Kathmandu).  Upendra has served as a development activist since 2000. He has worked as regional program officer at South Asia Partnership Nepal and as director in MSBK, a non- governmental organization located at Pokhara. His areas of experience include good governance, advocacy, peace building, education, youth leadership development and capacity building. He has worked with a number of international organizations in Nepal, including the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Room To Read, World Vision, and Family Health International.  People-centered development is his major area of interest, which he believes to be an essential element for achieving sustainable development.  After completing his Master’s degree at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, he is determined to contribute the peace process in Nepal through capacity building and advocacy initiatives.

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Carissa Western

Carissa grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2008 with a B.A in Political Science and International Relations. Her interest in peace and justice began during her childhood years in Kenya and grew throughout her undergraduate career. Shortly after she graduated, Carissa interned with the International Rescue Committee in San Diego, as a mentor and teaching assistant. During this time she worked to help refugees and victims of violent conflict with the difficult transition into American culture. Carissa is interested in conflict analysis and mediation, particularly tribal conflicts in Africa, as well as the role of women’s rights in this context. 

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Kathryn (Katie) Whitlow

Katie grew up in Hemet, California.  She graduated from the University of San Diego in 2007 with a B.A. in History and Theology, then went on to complete the Master’s program in History in 2009, also at USD.  Katie was very active in the department of history.  She was commissioned for a project on the history of the San Diego Bar Association and worked as an intern at the San Diego Historical Society as an undergraduate.  As a graduate student, she helped organize the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies in March 2009.  During both her undergraduate and graduate education, Katie studied abroad in Mexico, Spain, Greece, and Turkey.  It was these international experiences that fostered Katie’s interest in Peace Studies, specifically economic and social development and sustainability.  Katie hopes to conduct international field research in the areas of socio-economic development and human rights accountability after completing the Peace Studies program.

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