Aron will examine the exodus of intellectuals and other professionals who have fled authoritarianism, militarism and a deteriorating economy at home before and after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, he'll observe on a granular level how opposition activists, journalists, civil society actors and others are building new lives and careers, what they reflect about Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and how exile communities are affecting host countries. Aron recently received a joint masters degree in global journalism and Russian/Slavic Studies from New York University. He's worked as a freelance journalist and is now a cybersecurity analyst. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Economist and The Moscow Times. Aron's fellowship will be partly funded by a grant from the U.S.-Russia Foundation.
Astha Rajvanshi is examining the lives of women and marginalized communities in India and greater South Asia. She will explore how groups navigate the notions of safety and freedom amid a rapidly changing political and economic landscape. Previously, she worked for the New York Times Magazine and was a recipient of the Open City Fellowship by the Asian American Writers Workshop in New York. Originally from Sydney, Australia, she is a graduate of Columbia University's Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting, where she was a Brown Institute Scholar for Media Innovation and a Global Migration Reporting Fellow.
James Courtright is based in Senegal and learning and writing about how Fulani societies across West Africa are coping with intersecting crises. He will explore how Fulani communities are responding to climate change, discriminatory governments, increasing jihadist activity, and evolving dynamics within Fulani societies. After growing up between East Africa and the United States, James graduated from Denison University in 2012. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kolda, Senegal for three years during which he lived with a Fulani family and worked in community agriculture. He then moved to Dakar and wrote about human rights, the environment and migration for NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, and Roads & Kingdoms, among other publications. He graduated from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in May 2020 with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, after which he returned to West Africa to work with Gambian civil society alongside the country’s truth commission.
Joshua Levkowitz is immersing himself in Syrian communities living in Syria's neighboring countries. He’s examining issues related to migration, identity and threats to security, including the degree to which Syrians are able to assimilate or integrate, the perception and effects the diaspora is having on host societies, and networks between Syrian migrants and Syria. Before his fellowship, Joshua was living in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil as a senior program officer on reconciliation with United States Institute of Peace. He has a Masters degree in international relations and international economics with a concentration in conflict management from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
As Greece emerges from its debt crisis and assumes greater leadership in the region, Stavros Niarchos Foundation fellow Steven Tagle is exploring how the geopolitics, history, and culture of Greek border zones shape the story of the nation and the future of the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans, and Europe. Steven previously served as the speechwriter for U.S. Embassy Athens and has worked for Greek organizations like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-funded "New Agriculture for a New Generation" program, Anatolia College, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He was the recipient of an Asian American Writers' Workshop Margins Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship to Greece, and a Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Originally from Yorba Linda, California, he is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts MFA for Poets and Writers.