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Congratulations to Political Science PhD Candidate Shawna Meechan: Recipient of the Oregon Sylff Graduate Fellowship for International Research!

Shawna Meechan was honored to receive the Oregon Sylff Graduate Fellowship for International Research for the 2016-2017 school year. Shawna’s dissertation takes a look at the role of civilian police forces in building confidence in the state in post-ethnic conflict societies. Her work focuses on the case of Northern Ireland following the “Troubles”, a more than 30-year violent conflict in which more than 3000 people were killed and tens of thousands injured in the small country of Northern Ireland. She also considers the case of Kenya following the extreme ethnic violence in the aftermath of their 2007 presidential election.

Thanks to the SYLFF, Shawna has been able to take two separate trips to Northern Ireland to conduct a series of interviews with police officers and interested civilians about the role of the police in building community confidence in the state. She worked in the capitol city of Belfast and the arguable center of most of the violence, Derry. In the process she has been able to engage with many different parts of the local community and gain a good understanding of the perceptions the community has of the police and vice versa. She also spent considerable time in the library and archives.

The SYLFF also allowed Shawna to spend two months in Kenya making important initial observations about this case which she hopes to expand upon in the future.

Shawna’s work with the police has been enlightening and eye-opening. She is excited to share her findings in her dissertation, set to be completed by Spring 2018

Congratulations, Shawna!  We’re very proud of you!

***Photo explanation:

Hands Across the Divide – Memorial statue in Derry showing an Irish/Nationalist shaking hands with a British/Unionist signifying both communities coming together



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