We are excited to announce the launch of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Mellon Liaison Fellowship at the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN). Organized by the UMass-Amherst World Studies Interdisciplinary Project (WSIP), and funded by the Mellon Foundation and the UMass-Amherst Provost’s Office, ICAN will host two distinguished UMass PhD Mellon Liaison Fellows in 2023. The Fellowship is linked to the WSIP Graduate Certificate in Decolonial Global Studies (DGS), and UMass PhD students from all departments, colleges, and schools were invited to apply.  

ICAN offers UMass Mellon Fellows the opportunity to learn about both local women’s peacebuilding practices and the workings of a global, coalition-building, peacebuilding organization. Fellows meanwhile put their skills in research, writing, collaborative conceptualization, and relation-building at the service of a social-justice organization. In addition, the Fellowship enables UMass PhD students to build new networks, hone new skills, and explore future work in non-academic social-justice arenas.   

We are thrilled to introduce the two 2023 UMass Mellon Liaison Fellows: Mariam Parvez Sheikh and Meenakshi Nair. 

Mariam Parvez Sheikh is a PhD candidate at the College of Education, UMass. Her current research focuses on how young students in Pakistan’s higher education system produce alternative knowledge as they articulate links between their struggles within the university and movements such as feminism, climate justice and anti-capitalism. Mariam’s work examines how they expose gender, ethnic and class inequities through their struggle for social justice. She holds a master’s degree in Education and International Development from University College London (UCL), United Kingdom and a BSc. Hons. in Economics and Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Meenakshi Nair is a PhD student in English at UMass. She holds a masters degree in Comparative Literature from SOAS, University of London and a BA in English and a diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of DelhiShe is interested in South Asian literature and postcolonial studies, with specific interests in cities and mobility, and multilingualism and literary translation. The languages she works with are English, Hindi and Urdu, and some Malayalam. Meenakshi formerly worked with Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP, Delhi). She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has poetry and short fiction published in The Alipore Post, VAYAVYA, and elsewhere. 

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