Elena is currently reading for a DPhil at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford. Her research, supported by the ESRC, investigates the experiences of conflict-affected children and adolescents in the transitional justice and peacebuilding process in Colombia. Her multidisciplinary research combines legal analysis with ethnographic methods, including participatory techniques for research with children. A product of her long-term fieldwork in conflict-affected settings in urban and rural Colombia is the participatory documentary ‘Somos’ (trailer available), where a group of youths share their life stories and views about peace.
In Colombia, Elena has also collaborated with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with a view to making her research directly relevant to policy in the crucial transitional moment the country is undergoing. She has also occasionally acted as a visiting lecturer on transitional justice at the Law Faculties of the National University and the Rosario University in Bogotá. At Oxford, Elena is co-founder of the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, member of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research group and of the Oxford Network of Peace Studies, and editor for the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.
Prior to coming to Oxford, Elena graduated as Class Valedictorian from University College Utrecht (the Netherlands), where she completed summa cum laude a combined Hons BA in Law and Anthropology, with a minor in Research Methods and Statistics. She was also a visiting student at SciencesPo Paris (France), specialising in international law and conflict studies. A section of her bachelor thesis on children’s rights and local justice in Northern Uganda was awarded the Law Overall Winner Prize at the international competition ‘The Undergraduate Awards’. During her undergraduate studies, Elena also worked as a research intern at the Utrecht University School of Human Rights Research and at the Barcelona University Peace Studies Centre. She has also volunteered in several countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe in the areas of sustainable development, peacebuilding and child education.
Supervisor: Prof. Fernanda Pirie