About the Fellowship
The Program on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations (PORDIR) explores the influence of religion and religious beliefs on international diplomacy, power politics, crisis and conflict management, and other activities of state and non-state actors. Given the undeniable role religion is playing in interstate and intrastate conflicts and aspects of international affairs in the twenty-first century, PORDIR was created to offer students and faculty at Princeton University the opportunity to study, reflect, and generate ideas concerning the multiple intersections of religion, diplomacy, and international relations. PORDIR facilitates discussions about religion and international relations in a neutral, non-ideological forum; encourages interdisciplinary, intergenerational, international, and interreligious exchanges among students, scholars, and policy practitioners; and promotes research, teaching, and publication relating to religion and international relations.
The core component of PORDIR is the program's student fellowship program. Each year offers an opportunity for a cohort of undergraduate and graduate students – representing a range of religious, academic and ideological perspectives – to participate as program fellows. Fellows present academic papers to their peers and invited guests during the program’s weekly luncheon seminar series and at the program’s annual colloquium. Obligatory meetings are held bi-weekly over lunch throughout the academic year. Each meeting features distinguished scholars, diplomatic practitioners, and religious leaders who share their expertise and lead discussion. In the spring semester, PORDIR Fellows will pursue independent, intellectually rigorous research on a subject of their choice resulting in a 4,000-word paper and presentation to the PORDIR cohort. Selected fellows will receive funding to present at the International PORDIR Colloquium in June 2020. Past PORDIR colloquiums have been held in Vienna, Lisbon, Prague, Rome and Jerusalem.
Religion, Policy and the Global Environmental Crisis
The theme for PORDIR XIII is Religion, Policy and the Global Environmental Crisis. The 2019-20 PORDIR workshop will focus on the interplay among religious beliefs, critical organizations and actors, environmental policy and interstate politics.
2019-20 PORDIR Fellows
Philmon Haile is a Fulbright research fellowship alumnus and a graduate of the University of Washington International Studies program and grew up in Seattle, WA. Coming to the US as a refugee with his family as a child instilled in him a deep appreciation for the opportunities he has received. As a university student, he regularly volunteered to promote access to international education opportunities. As a young professional, he has served four years in the Middle East working with different humanitarian assistance and development organizations. Philmon is currently enrolled at the Woodrow Wilson School in the MPA program. Philmon loves playing sports and outdoor activities particularly hiking, playing soccer, frisbee, and basketball. He also loves to read, travel, try new foods, and drink coffee.
Abdelhamid Arbab is a freshman from northern New Jersey. He intends to concentrate in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with a focus on inequality and global justice. On campus, Abdelhamid is involved with Princeton Reentry and Employment Preparation (PREP), Student for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), the Muslim Students Association, and the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club. His interest in religion and diplomacy stems from his own personal faith as well as his previous visits to Sudan and Malaysia, where he saw firsthand the interplay between public and private institutions and religion. As a PORDIR fellow, Abdelhamid is interested in the positive roles Islamic institutions and non-profits can play on global environmental protections.
Maria Alejandra Moscoso is a first year MPA graduate student from Miami, Florida. She graduated cum laude from Smith College in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in Global South development studies. Her recent experiences include fellowships with the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria, the Atlantic Expedition in Germany, the KAKEHASHI Bridge Project in Japan. Alejandra was most recently a Program Specialist for Stabilization and Development with Creative Associates International. As a 2019 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow with the U.S. Department of State, Alejandra is eager to represent and serve her community through a career in the Foreign Service.
Jacquelyn Davila is a sophomore from Sacramento, California, planning on majoring in History and pursuing a certificate in Spanish and Portuguese. Before her freshman year, Jacquelyn participated in Princeton’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program in India; she lived in the city of Varanasi and volunteered at KIRAN Society, an NGO that provides educational, vocational, & medical support to children & youth with disabilities. She is interested in law, journalism, and international relations. On campus, she is involved in the Spanish Debate Society, is a peer-mentor in the Princeton University Mentoring Project, a staff-writer for the Princeton Diplomat, and treasurer of the Princeton University Language Project.
Tara Shirazi is a junior from New York City. She is majoring in Near Eastern Studies with possible certificates in Statistics and Machine Learning and Environmental Studies. She was born into an Iranian-Japanese family, and speaks Farsi, French, Arabic, Mandarin and some Spanish. In her studies at Princeton and at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C., she has studied Iranian history and politics, U.S. foreign policy with Iran and the Gulf, and environmental crises of the Middle East. On campus, Tara is an editor for The Nassau Weekly, a member of the Council of Science and Technology’s Student Advisory Board, and a proud Forbesian.
Katherine Clifton was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Katherine graduated from Princeton University in 2015 where she focused on the social and political importance of literature and theatre. During a gap year before college, she taught English to Roma students in Serbia. After graduating, funded by Princeton's Dale Fellowship, she returned to Serbia to explore hostilities between the Roma and Serbs and support refugee aid efforts. She then pursued Masters degrees at the University of Oxford in Refugee and Forced Migration and Public Policy as a Rhodes Scholar. In October 2018, she returned to Princeton University to coordinate the Religion and Resettlement Project, a three-year national program funded by the Luce Foundation that aims to better understand and respond to the role that religion plays in the lives of refugees as they resettle and integrate into the United States. In Princeton, she enjoys being a tutor and mentor in LALDEF's FUTURO program, a member of the Human Values Forum, a Wilson College fellow, and an academic fellow for the men's squash team.
Jacob Brown will graduate from Princeton University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a certificate in International Relations. He has served as an intern in the U.S. State Department, where he wrote cables on important bilateral issues and was recognized for his work on the transboundary implications of novel technologies. As the student lead for the GeoLab conflict prediction project, Jacob was awarded support from the Project X Innovation Fund, which recognizes unconventional thinkers pushing the boundaries of engineering. He has spent a substantial portion of his adult life abroad and speaks several languages, including French and Chinese. Jacob hopes to explore how climate change activism among global youth is beginning to resemble religious movements of eras past.
Nourhan Ibrahim is a senior from Parsippany, New Jersey. She is concentrating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with certificates in Global Health Policy and Latin American Studies. She is passionate about global environmental issues and the link between conservation and public health of vulnerable populations. During her time at Princeton, she has spent two summers at the Mpala Research Centre in Northern Kenya, exploring issues of conservation and education access. Over the years, she has participated in the Muslim Students Association, Breakout Princeton, and the Princeton Baby Lab. She is currently on the board for Princeton Conservation Society and the Mental Health Initiative. Her interest in religion stems from her own upbringing and personal interactions with the connections between religious belief systems and systemic problems and solutions. As a PORDIR fellow, Nourhan is excited to explore the intersection between international environmental crisis dialogue, world religions and international interventions.
Johnatan Reiss is a first-year undergraduate student from Israel, planning on majoring in Political Science with a focus on quantitative and analytical research methods. Before coming to Princeton, Johnatan had completed his three-year mandatory military service and later worked as a research analyst in a market intelligence firm. Johnatan started editing texts in his native Hebrew, and eventually became a breaking news editor in one of Israel's largest news websites. Johnatan is particularly interested in language learning and migration, and after teaching himself several languages, he took part in a social startup aiming to develop community-based language learning methods in his home city of Tel Aviv. As a PORDIR fellow, Johnatan hopes to expand his notions of religion and politics outside of the Middle Eastern context while integrating those in the study of climate policy and the climate-change movement, particularly alongside the study of mass migration.
Sirad Hassan is a senior from Frederick, MD in the Woodrow Wilson School pursuing certificates in Cognitive Science, African Studies, African American Studies, and Global Health and Health Policy. Her academic interests are found within the intersections of medicine, public health, and social justice. She is also particularly interested in refugee health law and public policy. On campus, she is a SHARE Peer, Whitman College Peer Academic Advisor. She was also formerly president of the Muslim Student Association, member of the Religious Life Council, and breakout/orientation trip leader at the PACE Center of Civic Engagement. In the past, Sirad has studied abroad in Toledo, Spain, and worked at Boston Health Care for the Homeless. As a PORDIR fellow, she hopes to look at how the climate crisis has affected migration in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kathleen Song is a Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Orange County, California. Her academic interests include all things climate change, especially in designing environmental policy programs to incentivize emissions mitigation and distribute the burden of mitigation equitably on the international stage. Kathleen has worked as a research assistant for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report of Oceans and Cryosphere and frequently travels to Washington DC to meet with her Congressional representatives to discuss carbon pricing legislation. On campus, she is also involved in Manna Christian Fellowship.