Student Opportunities

WPF Grants for Fletcher Students

The WPF offers two forms of support for students who are enrolled at The Fletcher School: funds for student group initiatives and PhD research supportNote: Students not affiliated with Fletcher will not be considered for these grants.

  • Grants to support student group initiatives is for speaker travel or other expenses related to events. Proposals can be submitted starting September 13, 2021.
  • Grants to support PhD research can be used for travel (pending university COVID-related travel guidelines), research, or writing. Proposals due by October 15, 2021.

Below are application criteria, deadlines and information about what to include in your proposal. Please send any additional questions to

Grants for Student Group Initiatives

WPF welcomes funding requests for speaker honoraria and other expenses for events sponsored by established Fletcher School student groups. Please note:  these funds are not for individual student travel for seminars or conferences.

Proposals can be submitted starting September 13, 2021 for events to be held in Academic Year 2021-2022. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all designated funds are used.

Please Note:

  • All events must be held within the same fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) in which the application is made. Any event that is delayed beyond the fiscal year will need to re-apply for funds the subsequent year.
  • We highly encourage groups to plan Spring semester programs to take place before April 30th.
  • Funds will be transferred from WPF to an existing Fletcher School account and can only be used for the precise purpose specified in the award. If groups require additional funding to fully support an event, WPF will hold the funds until the student group is ready to move forward.
  • Priority will be placed on events that align with the WPF’s mission and which bring expertise or resources to campus that are not already available.
  • WPF follows all Tufts University COVID-19 travel restrictions and guidelines. Additionally, unless there are special circumstances, we will not fund travel for unvaccinated guests to speak on campus. These funds can be used to support honoraria.

To apply, please include the below information in a single document and send to 

  • Organization Name;
  • Contact Person for Organization and Contact information;
  • Brief information about the organization [one paragraph]: when established, how many members it has, other activities it sponsors, other sources of funding;
  • Name of event;
  • Description of event: including how it will bring resources/insights to Fletcher that are otherwise not available)
  • Date of event (date frame is acceptable if several dates are under consideration, however, simply stating Spring semester, for instance, is not specific enough);
  • Other Sponsors;
  • What you’re asking WPF to support: described both the activity to be funded and the amount required.

PhD Research Support

The World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School would like to announce that PhD candidates have a second chance to win our research support grant.

We were thrilled to be able to support Kinsey Spears following the first round of consideration for this grant, and now our budget will allow us to offer a second award in AY 2021-2022.

A fellowship of up to $7000 will be awarded to a doctoral candidate from The Fletcher School. Funds can be used to support travel, research, or writing undertaken during one calendar year following the disbursal of the grant. WPF follows Tufts University guidelines on research and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, please review. Priority will be given to doctoral candidates whose project aligns with the WPF’s mission.

Applicants are eligible for funding if they have finished their comprehensive exams and have scheduled their dissertation proposal defense to take place by March 8, 2022. We have made this adjustment as we recognize that the changes to our grant-making timeline this AY might have inadvertently disadvantaged some students. We aim to return to a single grant award in Spring 2023 for the next academic year

DEADLINE: February 4, 2022, with decision announced by February 8, 2022. 

To apply, please include the below information in a single document and send to 

  • Name;
  • PhD advisor and committee;
  • Title of research project;
  • Short description of research project;
  • Outline of activities that the grant would support, including a budget and timeline;
  • Please include details about how you will comply with Tufts’ travel guidelines and IRB process (you are responsible for compliance, but we want to understand how you are taking this process into account before you begin research); 
  • Detail any additional financial support applied for or already received.

If you have previously applied and were not awarded the grant, please re-send us your materials. If you have previously won the grant, you are not eligible for a second round of funding.

PhD funding for academic year 2021-2022:

Kinsey Spears is a doctoral candidate at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she also received her MALD. 

Women, Peace and Security in the United States Military: Roadblocks and Entry Points for Implementation

Over the past 20+ years the Women, Peace and Security agenda, beginning with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and a subsequent 9 resolutions, thereafter, have sought to articulate that women’s experiences in conflict are distinct from those of men and that equal and meaningful participation in peace and security efforts is vital to sustainable peace. This United Nations agenda led the United States Government to develop a National Action Plan and pass The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 mandating a whole-of-government plan to implement the policies laid out in the Women, Peace and Security agenda. My dissertation research will address one of the government mandated WPS plans, the Department of Defense Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan. This research will seek to understand what the potential entry points and roadblocks of implementation are; with a focus on strategic competition, militarized masculinities, and feminist institutionalism. This work will serve as an analysis to better understand what the Women, Peace and Security implementation process is like in the United States military, how it is gendered, militarized, masculinized and what this means for the future of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the United States.

PhD funding for academic year 2020-2021:

The Good Friday Agreement and the limits of inclusion: A structural rethinking of peace negotiations

Alex McAuliff is a doctoral student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where her work focuses on gender, negotiations, and peacebuilding. She is particularly interested in the limits of women’s inclusion in negotiations absent attention to the power hierarchies that inform these processes. In her dissertation work, she questions the foundational assumptions of negotiations, with specific attention to the ways militarized power shapes the people and issues deemed conflict-related. To do so, she examines the process and legacy of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and the ways gendered, racialized, and classed violence and insecurity continue to be experienced by those at the margins, despite twenty years of a political peace. Prior to pursuing her doctoral degree, Alex worked as a dialogue facilitator with a small peacebuilding group in Northern Ireland, as well as at Seeds of Peace, a youth-focused leadership organization. While pursuing her master’s degree, she worked with the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women PeaceMakers Program. Alex holds a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College.

Headshot Aruni Jayakody

Aruni Jayakody

Commitments and Compliance: Impact of cooperation with international human rights institutions in Sri Lanka and Nepal

Does making commitments to implement international human rights obligations improve human rights within a state? The project looks at two case studies, which at the time, were considered to be successful instances of enlisting commitments to international human rights obligations: the interventions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal from 2005 to 2012 and the Human Rights Council (the Council) in Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2019. The study examines how factors such as a desire to obtain material rewards, concern for a state’s reputation and a willingness to be aligned with human rights norms influenced the decision to commit. It assesses if there was a variation in compliance depending on the content of the obligation, for example between positive and negative obligations. It also examines how features of the domestic system such as political will and bureaucratic capacity hindered or advanced compliance. Further, the study considers how strategies employed by external actors, such as financial and technical assistance, impacted domestic efforts to comply. The study will shed light on what motivates states to cooperate with international human rights institutions and commit to human rights obligations and what factors influence their subsequent compliance.

PhD funding for academic year 2019-2020:

Headshot Xiaodon Liang

Xiaodon Liang for his research on, ‘Military Rule and Military Industry: Prerogatives and Interests’

Violence, particularly at a large scale, can be a capital-intensive endeavor. “Who makes military weapons, and why,” are critical questions for international peace because they inform our understanding of where the threat of war might emerge. Answers provided by previous scholarship have been, however, largely focused on the necessary conditions that make military weapons production possible: an external threat, a strong economy, and a technological base. But the production of weapons is as much a political project as an economic or technological one, in which power, interests, risk appetites, and priorities are as critical as R&D and production plans.

This project puts a spotlight on the domestic politics of weapons production, and particularly how civil-military relations can affect arms production policies. Focusing on semi-industrialized countries, it examines how different actors in the military decision-making process interact under various civil-military contexts: military juntas, coup-prone democracies, and civilian-dominated political systems. The World Peace Foundation’s funding will provide support for studies of four countries – Argentina, Chile, India, and Pakistan – comparing and contrasting how their arms procurement policies have varied with civil-military conditions over time, and identifying the causal mechanisms that link the two together. The conclusions of this research may have implications for arms control efforts, including wartime embargoes and technology control regimes, as well as diplomacy with military governments and the management of transitions to democracy

Headshot Ben Naimark Rowse

Benjamin Naimark-Rowse for ‘Liberating the ‘Enemy’ in South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Movement’

Why and how do leaders of some revolutionary social movements seek to liberate leaders of their target regime as part of their resistance strategy? This essay details Anti-Apartheid Movement leaders’ commitment to non-racialism and their intentional development of bridging relationships across ‘enemy’ lines, while simultaneously undertaking violent and nonviolent resistance. Using archival material and in-person interviews this essay inductively develops a relational logic for social movement strategy in which movement leaders conceive of leaders of their target regime not as enemies, but as enemies and potential allies.

This essay expands our understanding of adversariality in social movements. It is a powerful strategy to believe (and say) that even one’s ‘enemies’ have a place in society. In contrast, when a movement leader doesn’t explicitly welcome sympathetic allies of all races, religions, etc. in a movement, then people of those races and religions are correct when they say they have no place in your society. In an era of increasing political polarization this essay focuses scholars on how relationships that bridge political divides when used alongside coercive leverage can increase inclusiveness of societies and facilitate democratization.

PhD funding for academic year 2018-2019:

Photo of Roxani Krystalli

Roxani Krystalli for her submission ‘We are not good victims, Hierarchies of suffering and the politics of victimhood in Colombia’

“This is the era of the victims,” declared the High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia in his June 2014 address to the Colombian Senate. Yet, not all victims are created equal. Victimhood does not merely describe an experience of harm; it is also a political status and identity that invites particular performances from the state, human rights actors, and conflict-affected individuals. Demonstrating how the performances of victimhood may function separately from experiences of harm, a Colombian human rights activist told me: “In this country, we have professionalized victims.” Conflict-affected individuals themselves have expressed a perceived sense of hierarchy among their claims, with one family member of a disappeared person commenting, “we are not good victims.” In this research project on the politics of victimhood in Colombia, I ask: What does it mean to be a “good victim”? How is victimhood produced and performed—by the state and conflict-affected individuals alike—in order to be legible in the context of transitional justice processes? And what are the implications of these constructed hierarchies for theories and experiences of justice during transitions from violence? Through discourse analysis and interviews with representatives of the state and human rights organizations, I examine the production of victimhood and its corresponding hierarchies. The ethnographic component of the research illuminates not only how the status of ‘victim’ is accorded from above, but also how conflict-affected individuals themselves contest, embody, police, and perform it. This project is grounded in anthropological literature on violence, complemented by insights from the fields of transitional justice, feminist theory, and critical humanitarianism. The goal of this inquiry is to trouble, rather than reify, the category of ‘victim’ and to examine its use and effect on experiences of justice during transitions from violence.

Headshot of Polina Beliakova

Polina Beliakova for ‘Explaining Erosion of Civilian Control: A Policy-focused Theory’

Civilian control of the military is a fundamental characteristic of the government that affects its capacity, stability, and legitimacy. Indeed, the extent to which the military serves the society depends on the ability of elected government to limit the political power of the armed forces. Nevertheless, little research has illuminated how the government’s own actions may expand the role of the armed forces in domestic politics. As a result, policymakers are ill-equipped to evaluate whether or not their decisions will have a destructive effect on civilian control of the military. My research will remedy this gap by answering a question under what conditions do governments’ policies increase the power of the military in domestic politics?

To answer this question, I study four cases of democratic or democratizing states using their armed forces in intrastate conflicts: Russia during the Chechen Wars, the United Kingdom and the conflict in Northern Ireland, Israel in the Intifadas, and Ukraine in the ongoing Russian-backed insurgency. I examine how government’s policies aimed at tackling an intrastate threat affect civilian control of the military.

This research will improve our understanding of how governments’ decisions about the use of force can weaken civilian control of the military thus limiting the ability of the elected officials to serve the best interest of the society. The empirical findings of this study will highlight the unintended consequences of the intrastate use of the armed forces encouraging the governments to prioritize nonviolent solutions of domestic disputes. From the policy perspective, these insights will allow developing well-informed strategies of conflict management, resolution, and post-conflict state-building with taking into account the power balance between civilian and military actors in conflict-affected societies.