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Ph.D. Student Wins NSF Award for Work in Rwanda

Author: Renée LaReau

Danielle Fulmer

Danielle Fulmer, a Notre Dame Ph.D. student in sociology and peace studies, has received a three-year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of women on community-level peacebuilding efforts in Rwanda.

Fulmer, a first-year doctoral student, will focus on how the participation of women in local peacebuilding efforts affects their long-term effectiveness.

“Academics and practitioners alike agree on the importance of including women in peace processes, and the role of gender inequality as a risk factor for violent conflict,” Fulmer says. “Community-level peacebuilding efforts are crucial for social change, but more research is needed to understand how these efforts affect conflict recurrence and gender equality over the long term.”

Rwanda is an ideal locale for a case study because it has more women in the national legislature (56.3%) than any other country, Fulmer says, signaling that gender-inclusive peacebuilding efforts have been institutionalized.

Fulmer will conduct individual interviews and observations in four Rwandan communities, comparing communities that have women actively engaged as peacebuilders with those that do not. She also will study differences that emerge between rural and urban communities.

“Danielle’s research addresses one of the cutting-edge areas of peace studies—the role of women in interventions following armed conflict,” says Ann Mische, associate professor of sociology and peace studies, who serves as Fulmer’s advisor. “This award shows that the social science community acknowledges its importance.”

Fulmer began her doctoral studies in the Department of Sociology and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies in the fall of 2013. Currently, 26 students are pursuing Ph.D. degrees in anthropology and peace studies, history and peace studies, political science and peace studies, psychology and peace studies, sociology and peace studies, and theology and peace studies.

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