GEM PhD School

Globalisation, Europe & Multilateralism

Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate




"(Un) Globalizing Civil Society - When the boomerang rebounds" - Transnational Advocacy Networks and Women's Groups in post-conflict Burundi and Liberia: A comparative study


Maria is a Erasmus Mundus fellow at the GEM PhD School in Globalization, the EU and Multilateralism. She graduated magna cum laude with a triple degree from University of Granada, John Moores Liverpool University and Universite de Provence in 2007and obtained her Masters in European Studies from the College of Europe in 2008. As recipient of the Fulbright scholarship, she obtained her Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 2011. She has also worked with the EU in Brussels and New York and has worked for the non-profit sector in South Africa and France. 

Academic Degrees

University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Master of Public Policy, Fulbright scholarship

Specialization: International development, Public and Non-Profit Management

Fields: Peacebuilding and Security Policy, International Relations, Microeconomics and Statistics


Ann Arbor, USA


College of Europe

Master of European Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies

Specialization: Governance in the European Union

Fields: European Economics, European law, EU politics and policies


Warsaw, Poland


3 University degrees: ALE-EUROPE program

Fields: International communication, EU business and law, English/French/Spanish translation


Universidad de Granada, Facultad de Traducción e Interpretación  

Licenciatura en Traducción e Interpretación (Magna Cum Laude)


Granada, Spain


Université de Provence, Faculté de Lettres

Maîtrise en Langues Étrangères Appliquées en Europe (Mention Très Bien)




John Moores University, Languages and Business School  

BA (Hons) Applied Languages in Europe (First Class)

Liverpool, UK


Work Experience

E-IR, Gender and Sexuality Editor

- Commissioning and proofreading articles on Gender, Peace and Security written by relevant experts in the field. - Writing articles on Gender and Security in Africa, as well as contributing to the editors blog.


Institut d’Études Européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Teaching assistant for the BA core class History of Political Thought

- Assistant instructor for core undergraduate-level course on great thinkers of political thought, emphasis on Hegel, Kant, Hobbes and Marx

- Contributed to course design; fostered problem solving skills through mediated discussion and writing assistance

Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Graduate Student Instructor for the MPP core class Values, Ethics & Public Policy

- Assistant instructor for core graduate-level course on ethics and analysis, emphasis on human rights in Africa.
- Contributed to course design; fostered problem solving skills through mediated discussion and writing assistance. 


Ann Arbor, USA

January-April 2011


School of Public Health at the University of Michigan

EU Health Policy Research Assistant for Prof. Scott Greer (NSF Grant)

- Conducted research on French and Spanish public administration systems that led to the writing of a journal article currently up for review.


Ann Arbor, USA

Oct-Dec 2010

CIVICUS, World Alliance for Citizens Participation

Research Assistant for the Lobbying and Engagement Team

- Researcher for the Civil Society Watch project which seeks to provide support and an international voice for local advocacy, focusing specifically on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

- Concept note writing and researcher for COP17 and Rio+20 projects at CIVICUS.

Johannesburg, SA

July-Sept 2011



European Union Delegation to the United Nations

Development, Economic and Social Affairs Adviser

- Participation in UN General Assembly consultations on the Millennium Development Goals and System-Wide Coherence.

- Follow-up and analysis of background information, participation in EU co-ordination and UN formal and informal meetings, elaboration of memos and reports for the European Commission in Brussels and EU delegations abroad.



New York, USA

May-July 2010

Permanent Representation of Castilla-La Mancha Regional Government

Agriculture, Environmental Policy and Energy Policy Expert

- Participation in AGRIFISH Council of Ministers and Working Party meetings at the European Council in representation of 17 Spanish regional governments.

- Follow-up and analysis of European Agriculture, Environment and Trade policies.


Brussels, Belgium January-July 2009

EuropaBio (European Association of Bioindustries)  

EU Agriculture and Trade Policy Analyst

- Policy analysis in the areas of Biotechnology, Common Agricultural Policy, EU and WTO Trade Policy.

- Prepared regular written & oral briefings for senior level policy staff.

- Prepared meetings with other stakeholders and negotiation of common positions.


Brussels, Belgium

Sept-Dec 2008

Specific Research Title, Area and Promotor(s)

Research title: "(Un) Globalizing Civil Society - When the boomerang rebounds" - Transnational Advocacy Networks and Women's Groups in post-conflict Burundi and Liberia: A comparative study

Area: International Relations, Civil Society,  Securitization

Directors: Prof. Jean Frederic Morin and Prof. Raffaele Marchetti

Description of research work


I analyse the politics of discourse creation, validation and domination that characterize the negotiation processes during the last phases of the life-cycle of international norms, that is, their implementation after governmental recognition of an international norm. My PhD research project explored gender security discourse in the campaign for the implementation of the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Burundi and Liberia, highlighting how the particular shape of gender security is based on how the past, present and future of post-conflict is understood. This project paid particular attention to understanding of how and why UN resolutions are interpreted in particular ways by activists working on peacebuilding initiatives. I examine the factors that determine the impact of the transnationalisation of local women advocacy campaigns in post-conflict Burundi and Liberia and the evolution of international norms on gender security and gender mainstreaming. My argument is that Burundian and Liberian women’s organisations are not merely recipients of international frameworks of gender security, but rather contribute proactively to rearticulating the social, economic and political effects of “gender security” in their daily life. In general, these local movements rarely struggle for their simple incorporation into the already existing transnational advocacy campaigns, nor do they accept entirely the transnational master frame or strategies. At the same time, they are heavily dependent on them for survival, which results in hybrid frameworks of action and fragile collective identities.  

Participation in Conferences and Seminars



“Gender Security and the Politics of Identity in Transnational Advocacy Networks”, Rethinking Sisterhood: The Affective Politics of Women’s Relationships, Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (UK and Ireland) Interim Conference: Bristol University, UK, 13th September 2014


“De l’effet boomerang a l’effet rebond : Les politiques de la construction de l’identité commune et de la solidarité dans les réseaux transnationaux de revendication », Séminaire Genre et Politique, Association Belge de Science Politique, 2 avril 2014


“Power Politics and Reflexive Research: Researching the transnational campaign on Women, Peace and Security and its local narratives in Burundi and Liberia”, International conference on Going and Coming from the Field: Ethical, Emotional and Practical Challenges, Institute for the Analysis of Change in Contemporary and Historical Societies, 24-25 October 2013, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


“The UNSCR1325 Advocacy Campaign and Gender Security Counter-discourses in Burundi and Liberia”, NGOs in World Politics Workshop: New Directions for Research, 17-18 October 2013, City University of London, UK


“Transnational Advocacy Networks and Power Dynamics in the implementation of international regimes”, ECPR Conference on Women and Politics, Barcelona, 21-23 March 2013 and also in REPI Doctoral Seminar, 25 April 2013


“Between the global and the local: Transnational Advocacy Networks and the empowerment of local women’s organizations in post-conflict Burundi”, Humanit[i]es Perspective Conference, University of Roskilde, 5-6 October 2012


 “Reordering international peacebuilding frameworks: Participation and Empowerment of local civil society in post-conflict justice situations”, 62nd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, 3-5 April 2012, Belfast, UK and also in 22nd World Congress of Political Science, IPSA, July 8 to 12 2012, Madrid, Spain


“Spain as a selective engager in the EU”, International Conference Spain and the EU integration process, Fundación Yuste, Royal Monastery of Yuste, Cuacos de Yuste (Spain), 16–17 April 2012


 “The power of local civil society in post-conflict resolution: From Sierra Leone and Bosnia to DRC”, Conference on Rethinking Post-Conflict Change, Which aid models in the African Great Lakes Region?, Brussels, Palais d’Egmont, December 14-15 2011.


“Le viol comme arme de guerre au Congo”, Conference “Femmes et Conflits Africains: Invisibles Essentielles?”, Brussels City Council, November 2011.



Invited talks, workshops and research seminars

Agora Forum, “Evolutions in the Transatlantic Relationship within a Multipolar World - Defensive move or Constructive Engagement”, GR: EEN program, Shadow Reporter, Brussels, Belgium, October 2013

International Conference on Statebuilding in the Great Lakes area, GRAPAX and UNESCO chair for Peaceful Conflict Resolution and Human Rights, Organizer, Bujumbura, Burundi, December 2012

Workshop on Civil Society and Global Politics, Discussant, LUISS School of Government, Rome, Italy, October 2012


Overview of Publications

Peer-reviewed Articles


1. "Parcours croisés d'une internationalisation du militantisme féminin au Burundi et au Libéria", in Recherches Féministes, Vol. 29, n.2 "Être Femme en Afrique Subsaharienne: la fin des "cadets sociaux"?", tbp 2016

2. “Analysing peacebuilding practices through contesting narratives”, Interventions: International Journal of Post-colonial Studies, Special issue on the Contestation of Narratives for Critical Studies of Security, Vol. 17, Issue 1, 2015


3. “Politicized discourses: A reflexive approach to the transnational campaign on Women, Peace and Security and its local narratives in Burundi and Liberia”, in Anthropology & Development, special issue "Challenges and potential of engaged researches in the social sciences" accepted for publication, 2015.


4. “La desglobalización de la sociedad civil: El rebote del boomerang”, en Revista CIDOB d’Affers Internacionals, n. 105, April 2014.


5. “Being Spain in Brussels”, with Scott Greer, The International Journal of Iberian Studies, 24:2, 12 January 2012, pp. 71-89 (19).


6. "How Bureaucracies Listen to Courts: Bureaucratized Calculations and European Law", with Scott Greer, Law and Social Inquiry, July 2013, Early view



Book Chapters


1. “Negotiating gender security: the transnationalisation of local women activists in post-conflict Burundi and Liberia”, in Takhar, S. (ed.) Gender and Race Matter: Global Perspectives on Being a Woman, Emerald Group Publishing - Advances in Gender Research Series, tbp 2015

2. « L’intervention internationale dans sa réappropriation : repenser l’impact de la démocratisation post-conflit sur la conception du rôle de la femme », in Klimis, E. (ed) L’aide au développement des Etats fragiles et sortant de conflit : les modèles internationaux face à leurs contradictions (sous-contrat), prévu pour début 2015

3. (co-author Scott Greer ) “What Spain does When Spain cares: Bureaucracy, Preference Formation and Interest Representation in EU Policy Making”, in Blanco Sío-López, Cristina; Muñoz, Susana (eds./dirs.), Converging  Pathways: Spain and the European Integration Process / Itinerarios Cruzados: España y el proceso de construcción europea, Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien [P.I.E. Peter Lang], 2013


4. “Spirals of Contentions: The lifecycle of transnational issues”, in Reinalda, B. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of International Organization, with J.F. Morin, 2013





Working Papers


1. “EU engagement with local civil society in the Great Lakes region”, Istituto d’Affari Internazionali, WP 1317, Rome, May 2013, ISBN 978-88-98042-88-3


Op-Eds, Magazine Articles, and Commentaries


Regular contributor to the e-journal Miradas de Internacional, Africa and Human Rights section


Les violences faites aux femmes”, Collective des femmes congolaises pour la Paix et la Justice website, January 2012.


 “Open letter to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission”, in L’Europe en débat, ARTE, November 2010


Book Reviews


Wibben, A. (2011) Feminist Security Studies – A Narrative approach, PRIO New Security Studies, Routledge, in e-IR, 2013


Tripp et al. (2009) African Women’s Movements – Transforming Political Landscapes, Cambridge University Press, in e-IR, 2013