Team


Meet the season 5 team (2020/2021)

Sam Baron
Executive Producer

Sam is a postgraduate student reading for the MPhil in Politics and International Studies. His research explores the politics of human rights in Northeast and Southeast Asia, with a specialized focus on Myanmar and North Korea. He's previously worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and as a journalist for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper. He is particularly passionate about advancing human-rights-based solutions to U.S. foreign policy challenges.

Muna Gasim
Host

Muna is an affiliate student reading the law tripos at the University of Cambridge, having previously completed her MPhil at Cambridge in International Relations and Politics. She plans on becoming a barrister in international law. Her prior work experience includes the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and communications consultancy. She is certified in negotiation mastery by Harvard Business School Online. She is particularly passionate about immigration and human rights representation within the framework of international law.

@gasimmuna
Akshata Kapoor
Panelist

Akshata is a first-year student studying English at Cambridge. She loves exploring reading contemporary world authors like Adichie, Pamuk and Beatty, and is particularly interested in the intersection of culture, history, and writing. She is a commissioning editor at Fair Observer, a non-profit media organisation, and a deputy features editor at the Varsity newspaper in Cambridge. She also debates for the university, with a love for debates on culture and identity. For the podcast, she's interested in exploring the impact of climate change on conflict, refugee and migrant rights, and socio-political issues in India like casteism and xenophobia.

@akshatakapoor12
Ashling Williams
Panelist

After taking three years to travel through India and Nepal, where she worked for a government-funded school in the Annapurna mountain range, Ashling decided to return to education and hope to eventually work in environmental politics. In observing our world politically, she sees a need to question the status quo, unpick motives and scrutinise the systems we live within, which involves changing how we define success, or else continue to watch inequality and destruction rise across multiple fronts. In her hometown, Ashling has been working with the charity ‘Falmouth and Penryn Welcome Refugee Families’. She believes that by being critical of the current human rights narrative she can gain a better understanding of how human rights can resonate with all human beings whilst also encouraging others to push themselves out of their comfort zone and join whatever social activism they can along the way. She believes that this will give us all hope for the future.

Eddie Kembery
Panelist

Eddie is currently an English Undergraduate in his first year at St John's. Although studying a range of modern, victorian and pre-modern texts, Eddie's special interests are post-colonial studies, the politics of language and aesthetics. As a member of the Declarations team, he's looking forward to learning more about the environmental crisis on human rights around the world and how we can learn from past human rights successes to inform present policy. In his spare time, Eddie loves to keep up with fashion, read funky sci-fi and write fiction.

Neema Jayasinghe
Panelist

Neema considers herself to be incredibly privileged to have been able to work with those worst affected by society and governance over the years, which has fueled her passion for Human Rights, an area in which she hopes to make a difference at both a policy and grassroots level. Neema has often found herself working in community development projects in Africa, especially Uganda and Tanzania, both in consultancy projects and NGO work. This inspired her to become the current President of the Afrinspire Cambridge Student Society and the fundraising officer for the Cambridge Hub. Years of community service led Neema to later establish her own education-based NGO in Sri Lanka. She is incredibly passionate about international development, the politics behind it and policy. It's this that encouraged Neema to study Education, Policy and International Development at Cambridge.

Jay Richardson
Sound Editor

An acclaimed sound artist based in Cambridge, UK, Jay graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2018. In 2019 he won the RNCM John Golland Award, produced and soundtracked 'Feeling Blue? Mental Health at Cambridge University' (shortlisted for a Mind Media Award), and completed a Finzi Scholarship in Hong Kong, releasing his second commercial album, 'In The Concrete Silence', in June 2020. This year he wrote and produced the music to 'Pixels From A Crime Scene', a highly anticipated podcast on the Internet Watch Foundation. He is the first ever Organ Scholar at Union Chapel, London, and formerly Composer in Residence at Cambridge Corn Exchange and Artist in Residence at MISE-EN_PLACE in New York City. His recent work has been screened at North Europe International Film Festival and performed by artists including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Esther Yoo, at venues from Snape Maltings to Cadogan Hall.

@_jaymrichardson
Max Parnell
Sound Editor

Max Parnell is a writer and artist based in Berlin. He holds an MA in English Literature & Portuguese, and an Mlitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. He works as staff editor, designer and podcast producer at SPAM Press. His work is informed by digital culture, the philosophy of artificial intelligence and post-internet poetics. His first poetry collection, Gente, was published by Multifoco Editors, Rio de Janeiro. His first novel, Type I, is forthcoming with Dostoevsky Wannabe.

Laura Williams
Communications Director

Laura is currently studying for an English MPhil in Criticism and Culture. Laura did her undergraduate degree in Glasgow, where she stayed, working in communications and development for an art social enterprise for a year, before moving to Cambridge. Her research interests lie in anti-colonial and Anthropocene literature and theory, but is also in a long-term academic relationship with Shakespeare which she blames on her upbringing close to Stratford-Upon-Avon.  She is currently part of the publishing team behind the Cambridge Review of Books and has worked in radio and podcasting, in various formats, for over eight years. 

@Lauraa_Williams
Virginia Somers
Communications Executive

Virginia completed an undergraduate degree in African Development at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2018. During that time, she held internships focused on anti-terrorism and peace-keeping operations. After graduating, she spent two years working at an American boarding school outside of Hargeisa, Somaliland which cemented her desire to pursue further education in African Studies. Her post-graduate dissertation will be focusing on gender inequality in Somaliland’s education system.

Mary Hallowell
Show-Notes Writer

Mary is currently studying for an MPhil in English Studies, Modern and Contemporary Literature. She studied English at Harvard University before graduating in 2014, and most recently, she worked at a nonprofit on Long Island, NY to raise awareness about the 2020 Census. She is passionate about storytelling and social justice, and is excited to be a part of the Declarations team this year.

@mary_hallowell
Thomas Williams
Show-Notes Writer

Originally from the north east of England, I am now in my second year of undergraduate study at the University of Cambridge, where I am reading history. As well as working for the podcast, I am also a sub-editor for the Cambridge Journal of Political Affairs and member of the Cambridge Union. As an ambassador for Jesus College I help run events and Q&A discussions centred on improving access to the college and university as a whole.

Meet the season 4 team (2019/2020)

Jonas Kidane
Panellist

Originally from Eritrea, I left the country back in 2007 and lived in Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda before I moved to London in 2008. I hold a BA in International Relations and Development Studies from the University of Westminster. Following this I worked initially as a volunteer at Refugee Rights Europe, a human rights organisation which aims to fill information and data gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Europe by conducting independent field research. More recently, I worked as a programme coordinator for Breaking Barriers, an NGO which aims to integrate refugees in to the UK society through employment before I started an MPhil in African Studies here are the University of Cambridge.



Katrin Wittig
Panellist

Katrin is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She specialises in civil wars, political violence, rebel groups, conflict resolution and mediation, with a special focus on the African Great Lakes region. Her research looks at different ways of integrating rebel groups into peace processes and post-conflict societies. Katrin previously worked with the United Nations in peacekeeping, mediation and human rights.  



@KatrinWittig
Gerald Emmanuel Arhin
Panellist

I am Gerald Emmanuel Arhin, a current masters student at University of Cambridge reading African Studies. I read political science and philosophy in my undergraduate studies at University of Ghana. I have inordinate passion for the advocacy of human rights, especially the rights of the minority and marginalized such as persons with disability and inmates. I have worked with NGOs in the past to undertake various activities geared towards the protection of the rights of the voiceless. I am happy to be part of this podcast where issues of human rights are championed.



Muna Gasim
Panellist

Muna is an MPhil student reading International Relations and Politics. Her prior work experience includes the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna and communications consultancy. She is certified in Negotiation Mastery by Harvard Business School online and plans to complete an LLM in International Human Rights law to work in multi-lateral diplomacy and international conflict negotiation. She is particularly passionate about immigration and human rights representation within the framework of international law.

Jing Min Tan
Executive Producer

Jing Min is a third-year Law student who hopes to specialize in international human rights and humanitarian law. She is interested in how lived experience intersects with law and is passionate about reconciling international law’s neocolonialist origins and justice advocacy in her home region, Southeast Asia.



Max Curtis
Producer

Max is a second-year PhD candidate in Politics and International Studies at Cambridge. His research explores explores the politics of luxury and its relationship to violence: how luxury, as a political concept, is materially distributed and socially denied on the basis of race, gender, and class. He helped co-found Declarations in 2016 while doing his MPhil at Cambridge, partly to help generate more critical human rights discussions, and partly as a coping mechanism. He previously studied at St Andrews.

@MaxCCurtis
Matt Mahmoudi
Producer

Matt Mahmoudi is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he is also Program Lead at TheWhistle.org, an academic spin-out developing and researching digital human rights reporting suites. As Jo Cox Scholar, his research focuses on technological marginalisation in refugees and asylum seekers and examines the justice implications of new digital boundaries to life in cities in an era of “datafied refuge”. Matt co-coordinates the Cambridge branch of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (using open source intelligence to verify human rights violations across the world), and co-founded and co-produces Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast at Cambridge’s Centre of Governance & Human Rights. Matt is a coauthor on forthcoming OUP book ‘Digital Witness'

@Mattmoudi
Niyousha Bastani
Host

Niyousha Bastani is a PhD candidate in the department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She researches care, security, and education where the three overlap. She cares about the precarity of human rights, is disturbed by the selective application of them, and feels alternately disillusioned and hopeful about their future. She obtained her MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge and her BA  from McGill University, where she was Editor of the McGill Daily.   

Katharina Oemmelen
Shownotes editor

Katharina is an Mphil student in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. Prior to this, she completed an undergraduate degree in Human Geography at UCL. She discovered her interest in human rights through work experiences with grassroot human rights and non-governmental organisations in the Philippines, Cambodia and India. Her research interests lie in the social-political aspects of development, particularly the intersection of culture, gender and institutional processes.

Twitter page
Misbah Malik
Media Manager

Misbah is currently studying an MPhil in Development studies at Cambridge, after having completed her BA in Geography here too. Her particular interests in this field lie in the domain of gender equality and women's rights in South Asia, having completed her dissertation on women in Pakistan's anti-terror squad. Her decision to join the Declarations team stemmed from her disdain at the homogeneity of the sorts of human rights issues that dominate mainstream media, and her desire to help facilitate more critical and decolonised discussions. 

Helen Jennings
Sound editor

Helen Jennings is a final-year undergraduate law student at the University of Cambridge. She has been engaged in human rights activism and legal work since the age of thirteen, with a focus on children's, women's and reproductive rights.

Jay Richardson
Sound editor

An acclaimed sound artist based in Cambridge, UK, Jay graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2018. In 2019 he won the RNCM John Golland Award, produced and soundtracked 'Feeling Blue? Mental Health at Cambridge University' (shortlisted for a Mind Media Award), and completed a Finzi Scholarship in Hong Kong, releasing his second commercial album, 'In The Concrete Silence', in June 2020. This year he wrote and produced the music to 'Pixels From A Crime Scene', a highly anticipated podcast on the Internet Watch Foundation. He is the first ever Organ Scholar at Union Chapel, London, and formerly Composer in Residence at Cambridge Corn Exchange and Artist in Residence at MISE-EN_PLACE in New York City. His recent work has been screened at North Europe International Film Festival and performed by artists including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Esther Yoo, at venues from Snape Maltings to Cadogan Hall.

Season 3 team (2018/2019)

Aurelie Skrobik

Originally from Montreal, Aurelie is currently pursuing her MPhil in International Relations with a focus on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Her passion for social justice drives her desire to contribute to the conversation on human rights and led her to join the Declarations team. 

Mary-Jean Nleya

Mary-Jean is a writer and often writes for The Global Communiqué, a current affairs digital magazine, and contributes written pieces to other media platforms. Mary-Jean is currently an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge, with a research focus on literature. Mary-Jean is an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and a One Young World Ambassador. 

Sean Solis

I'm an MPhil in International Relations and Politics student at the University of Cambridge and a member of Churchill College. Previously, I obtained my B.A. from Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland. My research is largely in the field of nationalism, as well as topics such as post-colonial history and genocide theory.

Jennifer Tridgell

Jennifer Tridgell is a LLM candidate at the University of Cambridge. She specialises in international law, including international criminal law and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Jennifer has previously worked at the International Criminal Court, High Court of Hong Kong and Philippines Commission on Human Rights. 

Max Curtis
Max Curtis is a PhD student researching the politics of luxury. He helped start Declarations during his MPhil.
Helen Jennings

Helen Jennings is a final-year undergraduate law student at the University of Cambridge. She has been engaged in human rights activism and legal work since the age of thirteen, with a focus on children's, women's and reproductive rights.

Niyousha Bastani

Niyousha Bastani is a PhD student in the department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She researches the politics of care and security in relation to embodied knowledge production. She obtained her MPhil from the University of Cambridge and her B.A. from McGill University, where she was Editor of the McGill Daily. 

Francesca Dakin

I’m studying for my MPhil in Social Anthropology, and am interested in how culture is commodified within the tourism sector of developing nations, specifically Vanuatu, and the sociopolitical lives of cultural and/or heritage objects held by museums. Particularly how issues in these areas affect the lived experiences and identities of the local and/or source communities.

L'myah Ross-Walcott

L’myah is a current Masters student in International Relations and Politics at the University of Cambridge.

Before beginning her Masters degree, L’myah was appointed at the House of Commons in the Private Office of Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party. Whilst appointed in this role, L’myah regularly provided policy support in a variety of political briefs.

L’myah was also one of the youngest members to be elected on the Houses of Parliament Work Place Equality Committee for Race and Cultural Heritage, which was established to increase awareness and appreciation of race and ethnicity in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

L’myah is the 2018 winner of the ‘Outstanding Woman in Public Sector’ Precious Award due to her work in inspiring equality in politics.

Joseph Brandim-Howson

I am an Economics & Social Research Council scholar and Honorary Vice-Chancellor's scholar based in the Centre of Latin American Studies. My research focuses on themes of surveillance, visuality and the  post-colony in Latin America. Prior to beginning postgraduate studies, I worked as a digital technology consultant and hold professional qualifications in business analysis and technology solutions development.

Michael Foran

Michael Foran is a Ph.D. candidate at the Cambridge Law Faculty and Trinity Hall. He received an LL.B. from Trinity College Dublin and an M.Sc. in Law and Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His thesis explores the concept of equality as it manifests in law, whether these manifestations are in conflict with each other at a philosophical level, and if so, how best to resolve that conflict. He is also more generally interested in legal theory, medico-legal issues, the interaction between law and culture, and the interaction between law and religion.

Christian Ruhl

Christian is an MPhil student in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge, as part of a Dr. Herchel Smith Fellowship. His research is on the intellectual history of nuclear strategy during the Cold War. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 2017.

Kristina Kralova

Kristina is a third-year Politics and Sociology student at Queens' College. If she is not in the library reading books she doesn't understand, you can spot her running around organising events, as well as social media accounts for way too many societies.

Georgia Hockenhull
Communications & Engagement

I’m Georgia and I’m a third year undergrad at Pembroke College studying HSPS, this year Kristina and I are responsible for media and publicity for the podcast. My courses this year are focused on the politics of the Middle East as well as international law. Human rights are central to the intersection of the two, I’m particularly interested in issues of cultural relativity and the impact of the development of regional conceptions of human rights

Peter
Sound Editor