Current Student Profiles

Joana Bettocchi holds a BA in Latin American Studies and History from Simon Fraser University, where she was awarded the Dr. Alfredo E. Hurtado Memorial Scholarship. Currently, she is enrolled in the Latin American Studies Masters program and Sustainable Development Certificate. She conducted an ethnographic study investigating Latin-American migrant farm worker’s access to healthcare services in British Columbia and Ontario. Her areas of interest include: migration history, health, food regimes, neoliberalism, human rights, and teaching. A passionate Latin American Historian, she has worked as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant in the History Department at Simon Fraser University. She can be reached at jba31(at)

Olivia Clarke-Bancroft is part of the 2016/17 MAIS cohort, with a focus in Governance and Conflict. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies and Political Science from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, her hometown. Through different volunteer and work opportunities (animal rehabilitation and welfare organizations, as well as teaching English and yoga) she has travelled and lived in Central America, Europe and East/Southeast Asia. Her research interests are vast, but her current focus is the trafficking of natural resources and pollution crime in mainland Southeast Asia.

Bassem El Remesh entered the MAIS program in the Governance and Conflict stream in the fall of 2016 after receiving his Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Political Science at Macalester College. Growing up in Lebanon, he developed an interest in Middle Eastern affairs, particularly the rise of religious extremism in the region. His research interests are Islam and politics, and the relationship between economic development and religious extremism.

Ryan Graves entered the program in September 2014. Ryan received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, with a major in International Relations. His focus at SFU is Governance and Conflict, with special interest in Southeastern Europe and armed conflict. Ryan is researching the role of discourse and urban-rural rifts during the Bosnian civil war.

Jason Hanson is a master’s candidate in the Governance and Conflict stream at SFU with a concentration in Latin American studies. He received his B.Soc.Sc. in International Studies and Modern Languages (Spanish) in 2016 from the University of Ottawa as well as a Certificate in Public Administration and Governance.  Jason has previous research experience in Mexico and Guatemala in community development and social justice issues and hopes to continue work in that region. In the past, Jason has represented the University of Ottawa and the NMUN conference in New York from 2014 to 2016 and has volunteered abroad with CISV leadership camps since 2013.

Ekaterina Khassanova entered the IS program in the Governance and Conflict stream in the fall of 2016. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. During her undergraduate studies she had the opportunity to volunteer with various human rights and social service organizations including Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and Immigrant Services Society of B.C. Her research interests include issues of political identity, international law, and the effects of authoritarian regimes and civil conflicts on human, group, and collective rights, with a particular focus on the Russian Federation.

Tasmia Nower entered the program in the Governance and Conflict stream in Fall 2015. She received her B.A & B.Sc. in International Relations with an emphasis in International Laws from Quest University Canada in April 2015. During her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to intern at the United Nations Development Program-Bangladesh and KfW German Development Bank. She is fluent in several languages including English, French, Bengali, and Japanese. Due to her diverse international experiences, Tasmia has cultivated interests in international affairs, conflict, and governance. Her research interests, specifically, include the internationalization of intrastate conflicts, military and humanitarian interventions, and Islamists movements in the Middle East.

Douglas Olthof (MA 2009) is a PhD candidate under Special Arrangements at SFU. His research concerns the role of state institutions in the (re)production of ethnic boundaries and is supported by a C.D. Nelson Memorial Graduate Scholarship and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. He recently completed 12 months of ethnographic field research in the conflict-affected region of southernmost Thailand. As an MA student in International Studies, he produced an MA project on the importance of access to credit to the development of improved livelihood strategies and poverty reduction in rural Mozambique. Douglas was born and raised in rural Alberta. He can be reached at daolthof(at) 

Jessica Passey entered the MAIS program in the Governance and Conflict Stream in the fall of 2016. She received her BA in History with a minor in Russian from UBC. Through her undergraduate studies, she was able to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as work alongside the Israeli, Palestinian, and United States government officials to try and build a Co-Existent State Module for Israel and Palestine. She also studied in Poland, and conducted research at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum that focused on the denial of a liberation that followed WWII. She has also been a student delegate for the Republic of Poland at Model UN Conferences as well as the Global Model NATO Summit. Her interests are genocide studies, conflict studies, military and international law.

Melissa Perrier is a current master’s candidate in the Conflict and Governance stream at SFU. She received her Bachelor of Arts Honours (BAH) in Global Development from Queen’s University in 2015. She has had the opportunity to volunteer in Indigenous communities in Nadi, Fiji and KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa as well as study abroad in Havana, Cuba. Her research interests are vast, stemming from interest in Global Political Economy, International Institutions, Labour Law as well as how macroeconomic policy affects a lived reality.

Nicoleta Radoi entered the International Development stream of the program at SFU in September 2015. She holds a BA in Sinology from University of Bucharest, Romania and later won a bi-governmental scholarship for a two year Chinese Language and Literature program in China. The Chinese adventure opened up new opportunities for Nicoleta, and she spent the last decade working in China in corporate fundraisng for the eduaction sector, working with major development institutions - since 2009 specifically involved in development work in Ghana.  Nicoleta is interested in research on China-Africa aid relations, the South-South and Triangular Cooperation and its impact on education and human capacity building.  She is also an avid linguist, speaks fluent Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. 

Lauren Rattray entered the MAIS program in the Governance and Conflict stream in the fall of 2015 after receiving her BA (High Honours) in International Development and African Studies at York University. During her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to work as a project manager for a student-run NGO in Kenya and also studied peace and conflict on exchange in Sweden. Through her various international and academic experiences, Lauren has developed specific interests in conflict and violence in central and east Africa. She is also interested in the role of media in war and how conflict and various development processes intersect.

Emebet Hailemariam Tessema is a master’s candidate in the International Development stream at SFU. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Skidmore college in New York, in 2016.  While at Skidmore she studied abroad in Paris as well as London. Emebet’s research interest is on gender gap in education and its impact on Africa’s economic development. In past, Emebet had worked at Shaye Global LLC, in New York, as an international trade associate as well as at Mihr in South Africa, on social development programs.

Erica Weston entered the program in the International Development stream in Fall 2016. She received her BA with a double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Asian Studies from Colgate University in May 2015. During her undergraduate program she has the opportunity to study abroad in Beijing, which led to her interest in the expansion of Western organizations bringing English teaching programs to China. Her research interests include the modern human trafficking industry, Chinese culture, and the issues of Western NGOs in the developing world.

Tori Wong is a current student in the program's International Development stream. She received her B.A. in International Relations with an emphasis in African Studies from the University of British Columbia in April 2015. She has also traveled to South Africa as part of a field school course with the University of Victoria where learning about colonial legacies in South Africa's urban and rural landscapes (such as race, racism, and inequality) greatly inspired her decision to continue on to graduate school studying development. Her research interests include legacies of apartheid, grassroots development initiatives, the relationship between South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy and persisting issues of racism and inequality, and how this affects modern development in the country.