Ustinov Global Citizenship Programme

Scholars and Volunteers 2019 – 2020

Cormac Healy

MSc Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Volunteering Team Lead

I studied history and politics at the University of Edinburgh, before taking a break from academia to work in sustainable development abroad for 5 years. 

Now I am back in the UK and excited to get stuck in to my masters in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding!







Emma Sweeny

LLM International Law and Governance

Volunteering Team Member

I am originally from Ireland. I am studying an LLM in International Law and Governance. I have a background in volunteering for charities in Ireland and organising events for student societies. 

I am looking forward to working with my fellow GCP scholars and the local community to raise awareness and fundraising events throughout the year.




Sam Bannister

PhD Law

Café Politique Team Lead

Hello! My name is Sam, from the UK. I am a second year Law PhD student, studying property disputes on relationship breakdown between unmarried cohabiting couples, particulary over the family home. This is an important social problem, given that cohabitation is becoming much more of a norm for relationships in society. Politically, however, the Government refused to legislate on this area, leading to the possibility of vunerable people exiting relationships with nowhere to live.

I am acting as this team lead for Cafe Politique this year. The GCP is an important part of College life, as it supports a wide array of academic discussions and talks, allowing Ustinov to embrace the diversity of research and scholarship going on within the college. It also creates a way for members of the college to meet new people from all across the world, and therefore adds to the diversity which Ustinov prides itself on. Café Pol will be putting on events this year on the war on Yemen and Brexit, amongst other topics.

David Caldwell

PhD Politics

Café Politique Team Member

I am a third year PhD student in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. My doctoral research examines polarisation and ideological change among contemporary British voters, with a view to shedding light on electoral realignments currently unfolding in the UK and abroad. 

Given that I spend so much time analysing political division, working with the GCP’s Café Politique team provides a breath of fresh air into my otherwise depressing research agenda. I thus look forward to helping foster intercultural communication and interdisciplinarity in Ustinov College and the wider Durham community during the 2019/20 academic year.

Jessica Craig

MSc Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Café Politique Team Member

My name is Jess, I’m from Scotland and I’m studying for a Masters in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding.

In my academic work, I’m interested in identity and the role of social structures in shaping our world.  I study gender and women’s experiences and participation in peace, security and post-conflict reconstruction. I am very grateful to be a part of the GCP this year and am excited to help deliver a varied, informative and entertaining programme of events for Café Politique.




Giorgio Manzoni

PhD Physics

Café Scientifique Team Lead

Hi there! I’m Giorgio, I come from Italy and I’m doing a PhD in Astrophysics. Studying the Universe is just one aspect of my curiosity. In fact I love studying social psychology and learning how much our choices are driven by the country in which we have spent our childhood.

As the leader of the Café Scientifique, my aim is to share my curiosity with you all. Sometimes science is mostly a matter of asking the right question rather than giving the right answer. Everybody can help in this and the Café Scientifique events will provide you with the opportunity to join a convivial atmosphere while wondering about big, ansolved and puzzling questions!


Kristine Baddassarian

PhD Biological Sciences

Café Scientifique Team Member

My name is Kristine and I’m a fourth year PhD student in Bioscience. Since my arrival at Ustinov, I’ve been impressed and inspired by the community of curious and driven people I’ve met from all over the world.

As part of Café Scientifique this year, I’m hoping to share science with my peers in spaces outside the lecture halls – and to be part of initiatives that motivate us to think outside of the box.




Alavya Dhungana

Café Scientifque Team Member


Hi! I’m Alavya Dhungana from the UK and I’m doing a research Masters in Earth Sciences (Palaeontology). I am curious about the natural environment and fostering interdisciplinary debate on topics such as evolution, natural hazards and climate change and its effect on societies. I want everyone to be able to take part in such debates, and the GCP programme provides an ideal interdisciplinary and multicultural forum for this to take place.

As a team member of Café Scientifique, I want to organise local trips to appreciate our part in nature as well as organise talks, debates and practical demonstrations of scientific topics that will be of interest to many different people. I look forward to a year of helping spark intellectual curiosity and communicating science to the diverse postgraduate community at Ustinov!

Bea Fones

MA Theology and Religion

Café des Arts Team Lead

Hi! I’m Bea, and I’m leading the Café des Arts team for this year. I recently moved to Durham after completing my undergraduate degree in Exeter, and am currently a taught MA student in the Department of Theology and Religion, with hopes to go on to study a PhD next year! I grew up with a dual heritage background (I was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in the UK, speaking both Czech and English), love to travel and have always appreciated the value of engaging with different cultures and environments.

I’m excited to contribute to bringing themes of global citizenship to our Ustinov community through an exploration of the arts, and to work with an interdisciplinary team to organise lots of collaborative events and opportunities for Ustinovians! The GCP is a great opportunity which anyone can get involved with, enabling us to think creatively and critically across borders and adapt our outlook on life based on what we learn from new experiences, about others and about ourselves. I really want to prioritise underrepresented voices and themes through our events this year, and am looking forward to showcasing these and drawing on the enormously varied expertise surrounding us here in Durham!

I’m also the elected GCP Liaison for the Graduate Common Room, making connections between GCP scholars and the GCR committee, and encouraging collaborations between these two groups of students who are all passionate about enhancing the Ustinov experience! In my free time, I’m usually reading a good fiction book, attending pole or aerial fitness classes or planning my future travels.

If you’re interested in volunteering to join the Café des Arts team, get in touch with me by emailing

Arabethan Lecuyer

PhD Enducation

Ustinov Seminar Team Lead

I’m Arabethan, a two time graduate from Durham who is currently studying for a PhD in Education. My current research plans to examine how certain types of representation of minority characters in children’s fiction can contribute to anti-prejudice attitudes. Specifically, I am very interested in the idea that books, such as the Harry Potter series, which have limited minority representation but relatable protagonists showing anti-prejudice norms may have anti-prejudice effects, particularly towards LGBT+ people. 

I’ve loved being involved with the GCP, organising events and setting up interdisciplinary seminars. It’s a great way to meet people and broaden horizons.

Stephanie Dolenz

MSc Bioarchaeology

Ustinov Seminar Team Member

I am a current MSc Bioarchaeology student here at Durham. I am interested in studying past peoples through a DNA analysis. 

When I am not busy in the lab, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and watering my house plants!






Prakasit Thavornsiri

MSc Human Resource Management


  • A Human Resources Practitioner
  • A Psychology Graduate
  • A Happy Scuba Diver 
  • Born and raised in Thailand

Xiaotong Song

MA International Relations


My name is Xiaotong Song and I proud myself for being positive in life. Being kind to strangers. Being supportive to beloved friends, and being passionate about what I am doing!

My dream is to be a global citizen one day and to help people.

Halima Akhter

PhD Anthropology

Ustinov Annual Conference Team Lead


  • Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSS Honour) in Anthropology, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh.
  • Master of Social Sciences in Anthropology,  Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh.
  • Commonwealth Professional Fellow at the University of Birmingham,  UK in 2014.
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholar, Anthropology Department,  Durham University, 2019.

Area  of Interests:

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Qualitative Research Methodology

Ayurshi Dutt

PhD Sociology and Social Policy

Ustinov Annual Conference Team Member

My name is Ayurshi, and I am a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, researching honour based violence in the UK. I am a team member of the Ustinov Annual Conference, and am motivated to foster critical debates and discussions on contemporary global issues, to better understand and contextualize the ever-changing world we thrive in. Being part of the prestigious Global Citizenship Programme at Ustinov College, Durham University, brings me closer to my aim of advancing interdisciplinarity. A feminist at heart, I deeply care about the matrix of inequalities which perpetuate patterns of oppression. I am trained in providing safeguarding support to victims of gender-based violence, and have worked intensively with non-governmental organizations and wider human rights institutions back home in India. 

Topics close to my heart: choice in marriages, women’s rights and activism, multiculturalism, sexual and reproductive rights.  On some days, my dreams are far flung like having hot chocolate and marshmallows with Malala, on others, I am more grounded and simply desire to read a nice book under a tree. 

Tara MacMahon

PhD English Literature

Ustinov Annual Conference Team Member

Greetings! My name is Tara MacMahon and I hail from upstate New York back in the States. After graduating from Gettysburg College, I taught English at the secondary level for three years before deciding to pursue my Masters in English Literary Studies. Although I love just about ALL things English, I am primarily interested in Renaissance Literature and, more specifically, in the works of the brilliant bard himself—Mr. William Shakespeare. Once I obtain my Masters, I hope to continue my studies at the PhD level as well.


This year I will help to organize the Ustinov Annual Conference, which is a great opportunity to showcase students and scholars alike whose research explores contemporary cultures and their values. I look forward to pursuing my passions and areas of interest in an environment that will not only challenge me, but also actively encourage me to work alongside a diverse, scholarly community.  

Alberto Rosales de Leon

 PhD Physics

Ustinov Intercultural Forum Team Lead

My name is Alberto Rosales de León, I’m a second year PhD student in Astrophysics at Durham University.

I’m from Mexico and I love Science, Culture and Basketball. When I’m not doing research in gamma-ray astronomy I like to enjoy of the vibrant international environment that Ustinov College and Durham provide. I was born in the South of Mexico (in Oaxaca), a magical place that breathes culture and has (in my opinion) the best food in the country. When I was a kid, I used to play and run in the city centre of Oaxaca, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1987 (just like Durham). I got my undergrad degree and my Master in Physics at UNAM (National University Autonomous of Mexico) the biggest university in Mexico and one of the most important universities in Ibero-America.

Now I’m working as the team leader of the Ustinov Intercultural Forum where I can share my passion for different languages, cultures, religions, traditions and food from all over the world.

Ahmed Hassan

LLM International Law and Governance

Ustinov Intercultural Forum Team Member

Hello! I am Ahmed Shafquat Hassan, a passionate Bangladeshi Foodie, who loves law, politics and literature. Since graduating from my LLB course with Bristol Law School, University of the West of England, I went on to pursue the Bar Professional Training Course at the same school. Since then, I’ve been called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and have spent the greater part of the last two years practicing as a pupil-lawyer in Bangladesh.

At the Moment, I am pursuing an LLM in International Law and Governance with Durham University, with a specific focus on Human Rights. Additionally, I am serving as the elected International Students Officer for the Ustinov GCR and am also involved with the Debating Union Society.

I am excited to bring to Durham my views on Interculturalism and how that plays into so many different aspects of our lives. As a Chef who founded a food consultancy firm based on the idea of cuisine development, I am particularly intrigued by the relationship food has with culture. I also intend bring into discussion the impact of culture on politics and legal frameworks and how that plays into society as a whole. A large part of my identity also revolves around my love for poetry and I can’t wait to integrate that into my work with the Global Citizenship Programme!

I look forward to meeting as many people as I can while on the programme and I can’t wait to learn more about everyone around me and how they view the development of culture, society and everything that they purport to love.

Chelsea Peer

MA Archaeology

Media and Publications Team Lead


My name is Chelsea Peer from the US. I am the Media and Publications Team Lead this year. I’m here at Durham to pursue an MA in Archaeology and I plan to focus on studying the lives of Britons under Roman rule. Throughout my life, I’ve developed skills in video production (even worked on a movie set for a day!) and hope that I can use them to widen the scope of the Media and Publications Team. From moviemaking, to creative writing, to historic and archaeological research, my passion is storytelling—stories about people, stories in my own head, stories from the past, and now the story of Ustinov.

Before coming to Durham I worked at the National WASP WWII Museum as an archivist for several years. Not the bug, wasp, the Women Airforce Service Pilots. They were the first women to fly US military aircraft. The WASP are an inspiration to me. At a time when the world was steeped in war, they wanted to do what they could, apply the skills that they had, to help. I want to follow in their footsteps. At a time when our world

Adam Burge

MA Greece, Rome and the Near East

Media and Publications Team Member

My name is Adam Burge and I was born in the rural areas of Kentucky, USA. I’m part of the Media and Publications Team and work with the Ustinovian and am helping launch Ustinov’s upcoming academic journal. I’m currently pursuing an MA in Greece, Rome and the Near East in the Classics Department and my hope is to follow that through to a PhD. 


Before coming to Durham, my life was quite a whirlwind. I travelled the world (I have loads of insane stories, just ask if you’re interested), studied for a brief stay at Oxford and met my future wife there, finished my undergrad (with degrees Ancient Languages and English Literature), moved to Los Angeles, travelled to China to teach English, proposed to that girl from Oxford (on the Great Wall), moved back to LA, helped build an online journal called Divers Press, and then worked as a teacher of conversational Latin at the Renaissance Arts Academy of LA. For fun, I like to learn languages (Hieroglyphics and Akkadian are my newest projects), cook (I’m kind of a foodie), take long walks and listen to music (almost always Giovanni Sollima or Ólafur Arnalds), and travel. 

Tom Lennie

PhD Music

Music and Performance Team Lead

Hi my name is Lennie and i’m the new team leader for the new Music & Performance programme.

I am a 2nd year PhD student studying music cognition, bridging gaps between the humanities and the sciences. I have studied and taught music in several cultures, run various workshops on musical engagement for kids and adults alike, as well as working with music in therapeutic and cross-cultural communication projects. I now work in the Music and Science Lab here at Durham University ( delivering various outreach projects in the local community. Outside of work I live an active lifestyle. I’m the founder and president of the Ustinov Tang Soo Do Society. I play for the College’s frisbee and pool teams and was a founding member of the Ustinov band ‘Never Together’.

Joseph Wilcock

MA Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature

Music and Performance Team Member

Hi, I’m Joe, Team Member for Music and Performance. 

I’m studying an MA in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, and hoping to do a PhD starting next year. 

My main academic interests are literary theory and medical humanities, and when I’m not studying I play guitar (quite well) and accordion (quite badly), as well as doing any presenting work I can find.