Carla Suarez is completing her doctorate in Political Science at Dalhousie University. Her research examines the micro-foundations of violence during and after armed conflict, with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. She is especially interested in the types of relationships and interactions that emerge between rebel groups and civilians in areas marked by limited statehood. Drawing on eight months of field research, her dissertation examines civilian's narratives and experiences in the context of rebel governance in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Her work has been published in Stability: International Journal of Security & Development and Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses. Her work is informed by over 10 years of research, policy and advocacy experience with grassroots organizations in Northern Uganda, South Africa, South Sudan, Guatemala and Peru. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies she worked with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Government of Canada, specifically with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and Public Safety Canada.
Experience as a Trudeau Scholar
The Trudeau Scholarship has been the most inspiring and rewarding experience of my doctoral studies. I became deeply immersed in the Foundation's inter-disciplinary and inter-generational community of scholars and practitioner, which often exposed me to innovative ways of thinking. Through these interactions, I was able to critically reflect on the type of scholar I wanted to become. I was extremely fortunate to travel throughout Canada, visiting cities such as Charlottetown, NS, Montebello, QC, and Osoyoos, BC, to attend the Foundation's annual events, where I often learned about local concerns and issues that are often not adequately covered and/or discussed in the national agenda. Many of these fell outside my own scope of research, but they helped to broaden my thinking and forced me to ask different questions about the implications of my scholarship. Through its financial support, I was also able to conduct long-term research in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for my doctoral dissertation. The multiple trips I took to the eastern DRC gave me the opportunity to develop a nuanced theoretical and methodological approach suitable for my research, while it also allowed me to strategically position my work amid pressing academic and policy debates. I was also able to participate in academic conferences and workshops across the world, developing a network of scholars, practitioners and policy-makers working in the same areas of research. I remain extremely humble and grateful for my experience as a Trudeau Scholar.