Ilil Benjamin is a doctoral student at the department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. Focusing on humanitarian mental health in contexts of forced migration and conflict, she has conducted fieldwork in Israel and Palestine, looking at how local and transnational NGOs respond to growing calls for evidence-based interventions. She explores, for example, the economic and logistical challenges of implementing evidence-based policies whilst also striving for greater sustainability in community mental health, two goals that have a sometimes fractious relationship in the field.
Ilil has also studied tensions among humanitarianism and human rights agendas in an Israeli medical NGO, asking how the mandate to treat refugees can come into conflict with desires to withhold aid in order to pressure the Israeli government to take responsibility for their care. She is currently writing her dissertation, which has been funded in part by the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Cornell University and by the National Science Foundation. Apart from her research, she has also volunteered for number of human rights and psychosocial NGOs in Israel, with a focus on sub-Saharan refugees and Palestinian rights.