Is a
Mercator Fellow 2022/23 working on mobilizing transdisciplinary methods for aesthetic and political practices of violence prevention and memorialization. As a Fellow, she works with swisspeace, the International Crisis Group (ICG), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on topics of transitional justice, militarization as well as humanitarian approaches to the search of disappeared and missing people. Prior to that, Aline worked as a Consultant for the Organised Crime portfolio of the Civil Society Unit, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. She had also gained professional working experiences at the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), INRATE AG, as well as the School of Economics and Political Science (SEPS-HSG) at the University of St. Gallen among others. Aline obtained a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of St. Gallen whereby she completed parts of her studies at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City. Following that, she completed a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Geneva Graduate Institute with a major in Power, Conflict, and Development.


Passionate about filmmaking, storytelling and the transformative potential of visual representations and aesthetics, Maevia Griffiths works both as social science researcher and as a film director, aiming to bring together both disciplines. Graduated with a Master's degree in Documentary Filmmaking at Goldsmiths University London (2022) and a Master’s in Development Studies at the Geneva Graduate Institute (2021), specialised in gender, power and conflict studies. Today, she uses filmmaking as a tool for social science research. Her work mainly focuses on questions of social and political (in)visibilities, as well as the affect potential of visuality in contexts of violence and human rights violations, regularly working with vulnerable populations in diverse cultural settings. Aware of the power dynamics involved in research and filmmaking, she integrates visual anthropological perspectives into her work, ensuring that the recording of different populations is always carried out with great respect for their needs and beliefs. Her work includes various film projects, such as the documentary The Drop (2019), the art video Grievable//Ungrievable (2020) and the documentaries Elles les (in)visibles (2021), The Kingfisher (2022), Mammung (2023) which all recount untold stories for social justice.



Emeritus Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology of the Geneva Graduate Institute, his main geographical area of fieldwork for the last 40 years has been the Near East (Jordan, Israel/Palestine and Lebanon). He has successively worked on issues of development policies and State-building; on humanitarian aid and refugees; and monitoring the impact of international aid on civilian populations. In addition to his PhD at SciencesPo, Paris, he has degrees in cultural anthropology, development studies and the Arabic language. He was Director of the French Centre for Research on the Middle East (Amman), Research Director at the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (Geneva), as well as Director of Master Studies at the Graduate Institute. Since 2000, he has led large-scale research projects on international aid in the Near East for United Nations’ agencies. Since 2013 his research has focused on the relationships between violence, memory and cinema, in particular the role of film directors and their movies in (re)constructing collective identities during armed conflicts (Israel/Palestine) in post-civil wars (Lebanon) and in post-dictatorship contexts (Argentina and Chile).


Jonathan Luke Austin is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Copenhagen. He is also Director of the Centre for Advanced Security Theory (CAST). In addition, he is Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Austin’s research is located within international relations, security studies, and political sociology and is currently orientated around four main axes: 1) the study of global political violence, 2) the material-aesthetic design of emerging technologies, 3) the state of critique in social science, and 4) applying political science to problems in international public policy. Austin also has 15 years of research and field experience in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, etc.) and regularly consults for International Organizations, NGOs and the media on current events. Presently, Austin is also Principal Investigator (with Anna Leander and Javier Fernandez Contreras) for the Future of Humanitarian Design (HUD) project: an international, multi-sited, and multi-year initiative bringing together a transdisciplinary team of social scientists, development engineers, architects, and humanitarian professionals to tackle emerging humanitarian dilemmas. 
Monika Nyffeler joined the Task Force Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities of the Swiss FDFA in August 2022 as its Coordinator. Before that, she worked in different capacities in Mauritania, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At OHCHR-Mauritania Country Office, she ensured the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations, with a specific focus on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Subsequently, she joined the Swiss International Cooperation career and managed humanitarian and development cooperation programs at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Office in Bukavu, eastern DRC. Monika Nyffeler holds a BA degree in Political and Social Science from the University of Lausanne and a MA in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute Geneva. In parallel to her academic and professional career, Monika has been practising urban dances, with a focus on House Dance, since her adolescence. She draws her inspiration from the politically engaged dimension of Hip Hop and House cultures. As part of her Master's thesis, she studied the Brazilian urban dance “Passinho” and carried out the project #Passionho pela paz, laureate of the Davis Projects for Peace. Thanks to her international career path, Monika had the opportunity to evolve professionally and artistically, build a vast network, and co-initiate innovative artistic projects in the four corners of the world.


           In 2019, during their Master's in Development Studies at the Geneva Graduate Institute, Aline and Maevia connected over their mutual interests – Maevia in visual anthropology and filmmaking, and Aline in security studies and sound design. They quickly realised that their multiple interests and skills would be stronger together.

When working on a nine-month consultancy project for the Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative of the
Centre on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Geneva Graduate Institute during their studies (2020), Aline and Maevia’s originally planned field work was compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic. They decided to recalibrate and rethink their research through new visual methods. In collaboration with academic researchers, a dancer, and an artistic director, they created a short-film which uses contemporary dance to represent the ambiguous and complex phenomenon of slipping into violence. This joint research  reaffirmed Aline and Maevia’s beliefs that research can be strengthened through collaboration, transdisciplinarity and collective horizontal work.

Indeed, a year after the end of their Master’s, they embark on a new journey together; the theoretical elaboration and creation of a virtual memorial for victims of enforced disappearance in Mexico as part of Aline’s one-year Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs. This collaboration confirmed both’s will to further work together on topics that align with their values and that bring people, skills, and stories together in ways to push for social transformative change – VIFT was founded.

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