Betel B. Birhanu defended her Ph.D and received Summa Cum Laude. Betel was a visiting PhD student at the Department for Political Science at UCL from the University of Zurich in early 2018. During this time, not only was she an active member of the Conflict & Change Group, but the group had the pleasure of reading and discussing her work.
Her PhD research challenged the almost taken-for-granted convention in the human rights scholarship that transnational human rights pressure predictably simulates a positive change in state behaviour, particularly when applied to seemingly vulnerable target states. By using the insights drawn from a case study on Ethiopia - a vulnerable target state where transnational human rights pressure should have induced a positive human rights change but rather resulted in an authoritarian entrenchment - it shows how and why this may also be the case in Kenya.
She tells us that the inputs received from the presentation at the Conflict & Change group were really helpful.
Well done, Betel!