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Diana Maria Contreras Mojica

Diana Maria Contreras Mojica (Colombia) successfully completed her PhD in Geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg in the winter term 2015-16. In her PhD thesis, she investigated “Spatial Vulnerability Indicators Applied to Recovery and Risk Reduction after Earthquakes: The Case Study of L’Aquila”. She also holds a BA in architecture (1995-2001), a degree in “Evaluation of Risk and Disaster Prevention“ (2001-2002) and an MA in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (2007-2009). For her PhD in Salzburg, Diana received a scholarship from the AAI.

During her time in Salzburg, Diana was actively engaged in the work and events of the AAI, and in addition, she worked as a research assistant at the Department of Geoinformatics. After the successful defense of her PhD thesis, Diana began working with the Global Earthquake Model in Pavia, Italy in November 2016. Since vulnerability to and damages from earthquakes are increasing, it is more important than ever to work with companies like GEM and open data to collect information about risks and possible developments. Diana’s research constitutes an essential contribution in this area.

Julius N. Timgum

Julius Timgum (Cameroon) is presently doing his PhD in Sociology at the University of Innsbruck. He earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Kwazulu Natal South Africa (2007) as well as an MBA in International Health Care Management from the Management Centre Innsbruck (2009-2012), for which he was granted a One World Scholarship by the AAI Salzburg.

After completing his MBA degree in 2012 he interned with Caritas/Welthaus Innsbruck for 6 months. Subsequently, he worked for XCOM-Africa, a German consulting firm focused on investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. At present Julius is writing his PhD thesis which focuses on Health Care financing in low income countries and the cultural reasons surrounding the low subscription of individuals and households to Micro Health Insurance Organizations.

Ramachandran Sudalayandi

Ramachandran Sudalayandi from India successfully completed his Master program “International Health and Social Management” at the MCI. For his Master thesis he evaluated SOS Kinderdorf projects in India. After he returned to Bangalore he founded the youth organisation Treeonz with like-minded people, where he drafts and implemenst sustainable and community based art and culture projects. One focus is on the empowerment of women through art. It is also Treeonz´ objective to reflate art forms which are becoming extinct and to open up new perspectives and cosmopolitanism through international exchange, in particular for women in the countryside who usually lack such opportunities. Ramachandran, who is a talented musician and fireart performer, has been involved in cultural projects for disadvantaged teenagers already before his studies in Austria. This was one of the reasons for his acceptance into the One World Scholarship Program. During his Master program he acquired skills to successfully lead bigger projects with social impact.

Johanna Maria Mejía Sanchez

Johanna Maria Mejía Sanchez (Colombia) has been living in Austria since 2009. She obtained a Business Diploma in Bogota in 2005 and has graduated the Master Programme for International Business and Law at the Management Center Innsbruck in 2012. As a scholarship holder Johanna has been actively involved in AAI events; she has for instance presented her Master thesis at a "Global Space" event in fall 2012. Her thesis is entitled „Artisanal and small-scale Mining: Analysis of the Fairtrade/Fairmined Initiative" and analyzes the challenges that traditional small-scale gold mining communities in Colombia face while attempting to secure their livelihood through fairtrade products.

While doing research in Colombia Johanna decided to apply her business education and experience to social and developmental concerns. Upon graduation she founded the jewellery label Amalena. Amalena aims to distribute the benefits in the production and commercialization of “ethical jewelry” by involving local artisans who use traditional techniques in the production of gold jewelry.

The current collection of Amalena is available here:

Moquet César Flan

Moquet César Flan (Côte d´Ivoire) studied Political Science at the University of Innsbruck. Moquet was an AAI scholarship holder between 2004 and 2009 and completed his PhD in 2009 being advised by the reknown Austrian political scientist Prof. Anton Pelinka. He is based in Côte d’Ivoire and has been working there as a university lecturer in Political Science since 2010. Moquet is founder and head of the "Centre de Recherche Politique d´Abidjan".

The idea of creating a research centre came to him during the spring of 2006 while preparing for his doctorate in Innsbruck. Having noticed the great gap in term of political development of Africa compared to many other parts of the world, he found it worth creating a research center so as to set reflexion on issues linked with Africa’s political development. After his studies in Austria Moquet decided to return to Cote d’Ivoire where he witnessed the serious post-electoral crisis in 2011, claiming at least 3000 deaths in 4 months. This crisis shed light on African political systems’ fragility in which the political game is unfair and generally takes place in deeply divided societies, with a political culture heavily marked by conflicts. This episode of his personal history strengthened his intentions of creating a centre that should contribute to Africa’s political development through analysis, consulting, and through the infusing of democratic and citizenship values.


Phyllis Kemuma Obare

Phyllis Kemuma Obare (Kenya) completed her Masters degree in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in 2014 with a thesis on "Human Security in the Shadow of Globalization: The impact of globalization processes on human security in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi".In Kenya she obtained a Bachelor degree in Psychology / Counseling and a Diploma in Project Management. Her professional experience encompasses project management, coordination and evaluation. Phyllis has already assisted several international organisations through research and reporting on the security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan and Somalia, among them the Intergovernmental Authority for Development in Djibouti. Following her internship at UNITAR, the UN Institute for Training and Research, in the area of Training for Peace Keeping in Geneva, Switzerland, Phyllis is now serving as Research Assistant at UNITAR´s Operations Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). UNOSAT is a technology-intensive programme delivering imagery analysis and satellite solutions in critical areas for humanitarian relief, human security and strategic territorial and development planning.

Francisco San Martin Baldwin ("Paco")

What Francisco San Martin Baldwin (Peru) says about himself:

I have always wanted to study Political Science. My grandfather was an inventive dentist, landowner and most importantly an adventurous friend of a political underground movement. The price for this was exile, persecution and great financial losses. During my childhood spent in a country full of contrasts I was fascinated by his story. These contrasts and my country´s problems have occupied me even more once I lived in Austria. Soon I founded a small group of people in Salzburg who engaged with the problems of Peru. From this grew MINKA, a specialized and recognised NGO with many international partners. MINKA promotes small-scale enterprises and offers technical counselling, training, publications, and organises conferences.

Dealing with the differences in culture and lifestyle in Austria was not hard for me, even though I could never bear the long winter very well. The fact that Peru does not consist of the Andes alone and that I am not an ardent alpinist was a source of disappointment for some of my Austrian colleagues. Salzburg offers many advantages to a student, and the Institute of Political Science was very small and students were well looked after when I started studying there. But even then I knew that my future would lie in my country.

During my studies I had the opportunity to come back to Peru a few times. I am therefore very grateful to the AAI Salzburg for granting me this chance. I have written both my Master and my doctoral thesis in the context of research projects in Peru. Looking back I can say that this has helped me immensely to realise my career path and to create a working field for myself that is both important to me and, as I think, to my country. There is a lot to do here and you need to prepare yourself early. Therefore I believe that it is necessary to combine the experience of studying abroad with practice in one´s own country.

I would like to advise everyone to take the unique chance of studying in Austria, to train oneself dedicatedly, to observe the many positive examples in Austrian society both curiously and critically, and to win over the many people who identify with our concerns. Foremost it is important to know that we bear a great responsibility towards our countries and their people.

Find out more about MINKA ...

Sumeeta Hasenbichler

Sumeeta Hasenbichler (India) has been living in Austria since the year 1999. Her studies have led her to Austria, love has made her stay: After a Bachelor and Master degree in German studies from the University Jawahar Lal Nehru in New Delhi Sumeeta has obtained a PhD in German philology in Salzburg in 2003. She is married and lives in Pfarrwerfen. Sumeeta has been being active in mentoring projects for migrants such as „MIda" (mentoring) and „Melete" (education), as a German teacher for migrants, and speaker on women´s topics. She is co-founder of „Dosti", a project for former female slum dwellers in India, and member of the forum theater group „dalli, dalli". Currently she is honorary board member of the Catholic Women´s Movement Salzburg and board chairwoman of the Afro-Asian Institute Salzburg. When she was a student, the AAI scholarship helped Sumeeta to make her dream of studying in a German speaking country and a beautiful city come true.

Leonidas Ndayisaba

Leonidas Ndayisaba (Burundi) lived in Austria between 1991 and 2009. He studied Political Science and Communication Studies at the University of Salzburg and obtained a Master degree in 1995 and a PhD in 2005. He moonlighted in gastronomy and worked for the Friedensbüro (Peace Office) Salzburg. In 2009 he returned to his native country Burundi. The decision to return was not easy, but he was encouraged by his wish to contribute to his country´s development. He was appointed a Professor of Political Science at the University of Bujumbra in April 2009. Since then he has, among others, focused on Conflict Analysis, Good Governance and African politics. Aside of this he has been working as a counselor for various international organizations such as USAID Burundi. The scholarship awarded by the AAI helped Leonidas to successfully focus on his studies, to gain knowledge in a practical as well as a theoretical sense, and made him more confident in his endeavours.

Learn more about Leonidas in a short UniTV film...


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