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Durham University

Ustinov College

Our speakers

Professor Dibyesh Anand, University of Westminster

While my primary role is as the Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, I am often considered as a curious scholar, a lifelong student, a passionate lecturer, or a public intellectual.

I joined University of Westminster in 2007 as a Reader (Associate Professor for those used to the non-British system) in International Relations. I moved from University of Bath where I was a lecturer. I did my PhD (1998-2002) from the Department of Politics at University of Bristol and the topic was related to Western representations of Tibet and its political and cultural significance. I have never been comfortable within a discipline. While my MA was in International Law and Politics at the University of Hull (1997-1998), the Bachelors was in History from St Stephen's College, University of Delhi. I could not have pursued my Masters and PhD without scholarships. While the MA was sponsored by British Chevening scholarship, the PhD was made possible due to University of Bristol and Overseas Research Scholarships.

I have shifted places and disciplines, I have experienced elite and non elite as well as religious and secular education, my ideas emerge as much on Facebook as it does in structured scholarly forums, I indulge in concepts as much as in every day politics. What has remained consistent so far is my desire to produce scholarship that is meaningful to groups and peoples who are often marginalised, minoritised, occupied and suppressed. This desire comes across in my research, academic writings and public engagement on topics including politics and international relations of Tibetans rendered stateless with Chinese rule, Islamophobia in India, majoritarian nationalisms, politics of security and representation, ethnic relations in Zanzibar, emergence of China and India as major non-Western powers as well as contested nature of nation-state formations in China and South Asia, Bhutan's international affairs, and the Kashmir conflict.

I have authored monographs Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination, Tibet: A Victim of Geopolitics, and Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear and published a number of chapters in edited collections and articles in journals. I am currently working on two different manuscripts - one on the disputed Himalayan border of China and India and the other on competing perspectives on Tibetan history, present and future.

I have a significant presence in popular media and a google search for my name links to a range of forums including comment articles in The Guardian, YouTube videos, cited expert views in newspapers of the USA, UK, China, India and Singapore, and blogs.

I have held visiting positions at University of California Berkeley, Australian National University, Centre for Bhutan Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Central University of Hyderabad and delivered plenary talks, lectures and seminar papers at institutions in USA, Europe, India, Bhutan, China, Russia, Singapore, and Australia.

I feel strongly about ethical and engaged scholarship and took over as the Head of Department mainly because I felt I could make a difference to the lives of our students.

Professor Thom Brooks, University of Durham

Thom Brooks is an award-winning author, broadcaster, columnist and policy advisor that regularly appears on television, radio and in print media. His research interests are in ethics, law and public policy.

Brooks is Head of Durham Law School and Professor of Law and Government, an Associate in Department of Philosophy, in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University and columnist for Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Labour List, New Statesman, The Times, The Journal (Newcastle), Sunday Sun and others. Brooks is the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy. He tweets at @thom_brooks.

Brooks won the University's Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Award for Outstanding Contribution to Media in 2013. Brooks is an award winning teacher winning Lecturer of the Year for his Faculty from Durham Students' Union in 2014, the inaugural Law Teacher of the Year award from Durham Law School in 2015, the University's Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2016, shortlisted for the Northern Law Awards Law Teacher of the Year award in 2015 and winner of the Arizona State University School of Politics and Global Studies Distinguised Alumnus Award for 2017.

Brooks is a member of the Executive Board of the Society of Legal Scholars and formerly an Executive Board member of the Political Studies Association and Philosophy & Law Committee Chair of the American Philosophical Association. He is a Mentor and Senior Common Room (SCR) member of University College and SCR member of Collingwood College and Grey College. Brooks serves as an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Mentor for Durham University academic staff.

Brooks has held visiting appointments at St John's College, Oxford; University of St Andrews; Uppsala University and Yale University. He taught previously at Newcastle University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the Royal Historical Society,the Royal Society of Arts and the Higher Education Academy and he is listed in Debrett's People of Today.

Professor Danny Donoghue, Durham University

Danny Donoghue is Professor of Geography and Dean for Internationalisation in the Vice-Chancellor's Office. He has a broadly based research profile that covers applications of remote sensing technology in the fields of spectrometry, forestry, coastal ecology, land use change and archaeology. He has developed processing methods for high spectral resolution optical imaging including a commercial image-processing package (T-Spectra). Recent projects include studies on the use of artificial neural networks for image processing, the study of airborne thermal infrared imagery for geology and archaeology, the use of declassified space photography (e.g. CORONA) and high spatial resolution imagery for archaeological prospection (e.g. IKONOS).

Dr. Stefan Pedersen, University of Leeds

Stefan Pedersen is a political theorist specializing in global political theory, ideology studies, and world politics – and he is particularly interested in the study of dynamic relationships involving interactions between all these three fields, both historically and presently. He holds a recent PhD in political theory from the University of Leeds, where he currently works as a teaching assistant. He has taught extensively in various political theory and international relations modules there. In addition, he holds both a MSc and a BSc in political science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he also briefly taught contemporary politics and political theory. His chapter ‘Kantian and Wellsian Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Distinction’ was published in the anthology Cosmopolitanism without Foundations? (2015) edited by Tamara Caraus and Dan D. Lazea. He is currently in the process of reworking his PhD ‘Planetary Ideologies – Neoliberal, Cosmopolitan and Alter-Globalist Discourse’ into a series of journal articles. His next intended step is to write a monograph which further develops the major themes from his PhD. Its working title is ‘Ideology for a 21st Century Planetary Polity: Beyond Internationalist Cosmopolitanism’.

Dr. Jonathan Alderman, University of St. Andrews

Jonathan Alderman recently obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews with the thesis titled ‘The Path to Ethnogenesis and Autonomy: Kallawaya-consciousness in Plurinational Bolivia’. He became interested in the topic while living in Bolivia prior to beginning his PhD, during which Bolivia’s plurinational constitution was being written. From this sprang a desire to understand better what is means to be a plurinational citizen, and practicalities of the implementation of indigenous autonomy. Research for the thesis has so far resulted in one article published in The Unfamiliar journal in 2016, titled Mountains as actors in the Bolivian Andes: The interrelationship between politics and ritual in the Kallawaya ayllus, and another article currently under review with Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, as well as several more in the pipeline.

Dr. Ian Biddle, Newcastle University

Ian Biddle is senior lecturer (associate professor) in music at the International Centre for Music Studies (ICMuS), Newcastle University (UK). Author of Music, Masculinity and the Claims of History: the Austro-German Tradition from Hegel to Freud (Ashgate, 2011) and The Flamenco Effect: Authenticity, Community and Tradition in the South of Spain (Routledge, 2017), he is a cultural theorist and musicologist, working on a range of topics in music- and sound-related areas. His work ranges from the cultural history of music and masculinity, theorising music's intervention in communities and subjectivities, sound, soundscapes and urban experience, and the politics of noise. He has interests in memory studies, Holocaust Studies, Yiddish-language cultures, musics of the Soviet Union and music and trauma. He is co-ordinating editor (with Nanette de Jong) of the journal Radical Musicology.

Ms. Vivian Chen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Vivian Chen is a MPhil student at the Department of Government and Public Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In her MPhil research, she studies the effect of international school curriculum on students’ political identity in contemporary society. In her dissertation “The Impact of International Education Curriculum on Students Political Identity – A study on Hong Kong Local Students in International Schools”, she argues that while language and history education is important to foster youngster’s national belonging, a citizenship identity based on commonly shared social values is deemed equally necessary to embrace the increasingly multi-ethnic societal makeup. For the past two years, she has been studying under the guidance of Prof. Li lianjiang. She has previously interned in Hong Kong SAR Government Beijing Office and the Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council.

Ms. Aliya Khasseneyeva, Durham University

Aliya Khasseneyeva is an EFL teacher at a secondary school in Kazakhstan. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education at Kokshetau State University by 2010. During her work at school, she was nominated for the Best teacher award, was appointed the Head of the English language department, was a member of the group of teachers who developed an innovated education programme for English at secondary schools. Having worked as an EFL teacher for 6 years, she decided to continue her education. Aliya is currently an EdD student at Durham University. Her research interest is in curriculum internationalisation of secondary education. She currently resides in Durham with her 9-year-old daughter. She can be contacted at

Ms. Leila Wilmers, Loughborough University

Leila Wilmers is a doctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University. She holds an MA in International Development from the University of Manchester and a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge. Leila has worked for development and peacebuilding NGOs for 9 years, with a focus on conflict areas in the Eurasia region. During this period she lived in Moscow for two years, and also spent time in the South Caucasus and Central Asia while working for London-based organisation International Alert. Her PhD, supported through a Loughborough University scholarship, looks at perceptions of continuity in citizens’ understanding of the nation in post-Soviet Russia. Leila is also conducting research into identity and perspectives on the nation in the Armenian diaspora as part of a project funded by the University of Southern California and led by the University of Sheffield.

Mr Abdulla Omaigan, Durham University

Abdulla Omaigan's academic interests are the critique of educational theory, policy and practice from the perspective of several traditional disciplines such as history, politics, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Specifically, he focuses on using the latter two disciplines to explore the role that educational institutions can play in bringing about more ethnic and racial diversity. This practical application of ideas is influenced by his reading on identity and culture, and how these variables influence interactions between individuals from various nations. This feeds into his aim to influence how universities and schools can foster global citizenship within their students to bring about harmonious communities despite their differing conceptions of how life ought to be lived. It is based off of these broad interests that his conference presentation will be made. In short, it is about how ethnic and racial equality might be brought about to cultivate global citizenship within students in the context of universities in the West.

Mr Harry Mongini, University of Westminster

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Westminster in the Politics and International Relations department. My background has been predominantly in Philosophy which I did both my undergrad and masters degrees in. I switched to International Relations theory through an interest in the idea of 'philosophy as political,' i.e. the political implications surrounding competing notions of 'truth.' This is in tandem with a generally politicised up bringing where my spontaneous belief is that a left wing stance represents a moral discourse in politics. To this extent, my focus in International Relations and Political theory is predominantly focused on resistance towards neo-liberal governance.

Ms. Sachiko Ishihara, Uppsala University

Sachiko Ishihara is a course coordinator at the Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). She designs and facilitates the international and interdisciplinary courses ‘Global Challenges and Sustainable Futures’ and ‘Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development in Sweden’, and is a coordinator for the first meeting to establish a Global Citizenship Program with the Matariki Network of Universities at Uppsala University. She is a co-founder of a youth-led NGO Ekolibria that works with Education for Sustainable Development. Originally from Japan, she graduated from University of Tsukuba with a B.Sc. in Agro-biological Resource Science and a high school teaching certificate in Social and Natural Science. In 2015, she has achieved M.Sc. in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University and SLU, with the thesis titled What is the future we want? Future Sessions Workshops in Japanese Deliberative Democracy.

The Organisers

Mr Jonathan Quiery, Durham University

Jonathan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University; his research focuses on the Roman cultural practice of trophies monuments in provincial and frontier spaces of the Roman Empire. He completed a BA in History and Ancient Mediterranean Studies from the College of Wooster in 2010, and a MA in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies from Brandeis University in 2016. Between 2010 – 2012, he served as Community Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) Peace Corps Volunteer in the Northwest Province of Zambia.

Ms. Connie Kwong, Durham University

Connie Kwong is a PhD candidate in Geography. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Hong Kong. Her current research is to understand international volunteering in Asia through the discussion of everyday ethics and responsibility using a case study of volunteers from the Greater China Region.

Ms. Marianna Iliadou, Durham University

Marianna is a PhD Candidate and part-time tutor at Durham Law School. She completed her undergraduate studies in Law at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and after working as a trainee lawyer, she undertook an academic’s master programme in Law obtained from the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona, Spain. In October 2016, she joined Durham Law School as a PhD Candidate in Human Rights Law. Marianna’s thesis explores surrogacy and its possible protection under the umbrella of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Dr Rebecca Bouveng, Durham University

Rebecca Bouveng is Assistant Principal (College Life) at Ustinov College, where she directs the Global Citizenship Programme, and teaches theory and history of international relations at the School of Government and International Affairs. She is also the Academic Liaison for Global Citizenship at Durham. Her PhD in Politics explored messianic discourses in Russian identity and statecraft.