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Ahmad Shah Mohibi


Ahmad Shah Mohibi is the Founder of Rise to Peace. He brings over a decade of experience working with the development, diplomatic, and defense communities in conflict, post-conflict, and stabilization settings. He served as a Program Advisor to the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in Afghanistan, where he helped coordinate, implement, and monitor interconnected projects, including the $10 million initiative to build the Justice Center in Parwan. Prior to the State Department, Ahmad assisted the United States Military in various capacities to help provide comprehensive strategic planning and project management in support of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions. 

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Abdul Jamil Ziaey

Research Fellow

Abdul Jamil Ziaey is a Fulbright student pursuing his master’s in Public Policy with a concentration on International Development at the George Washington University. He has previously worked with local, national, and international NGOs for development, democracy, and women empowerment in Afghanistan. His recent work has been with the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan as an accountant/financial analyst. At Rise to Peace, he works on the Afghan peace process as a Research Fellow.

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Alexis Sine

Counter-Terrorism Program Lead

Alexis Sine is the Counter-Terrorism Program Lead at Rise to Peace and brings with her several years of experience working in a large Project Management Office in the public healthcare sector. Alexis holds an undergraduate degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Calgary, as well as a Master’s degree in Peace Research and Security Policy from the University of Hamburg. Her fieldwork experience includes a human rights assessment in Kosovo centered on the processes of peace-building and political reconstruction post-conflict. Currently, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree at Queen’s University Belfast. Her areas of expertise include international security, counter-terrorism, and international human rights law.

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Amanda Garry

Research Fellow

Amanda Garry received her Master of Science in Counterterrorism degree from Nichols College. She has previous experience in private security, fraud, and counterterrorism research. As a Rise to Peace Counterterrorism Research Fellow, she hopes to expand her knowledge of counterterrorism issues within the United States and work toward mitigating terrorism as a whole. Her interests within the field include recruitment, radicalization, and interviewing those who have abandoned their extremist ideologies. Amanda hopes to acquire a future role tasked with travel and exploration as she strives to counter terrorism on a global scale.

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Anja Apfel

Research Fellow

Anja Apfel is a counter-terrorism research Fellow at Rise to Peace, primarily focusing upon the Afghan Peace Process. She is simultaneously conducting an internship at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, working with Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering. Anja holds a master’s degree in Criminology from Malmö University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Vienna, and has also completed independent courses in Peace and Conflict studies in Sweden, where she developed a particular interest in international security, counterterrorism, and counter-terrorist financing. Anja fluently speaks German, English, and Swedish, and is looking to continue working in areas related to international security in Europe.

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Arman Sidhu

Research Fellow

Arman Sidhu is an educator and geopolitical analyst based in Phoenix, Arizona. Arman’s research interests include industrialization, foreign investment, and workforce development. His work on these subjects has been published in outlets such as The Diplomat, Foreign Policy Journal, Economic & Political Weekly, and the Eurasia Review. He is also a frequent contributor to Geopolitical Monitor, where he publishes weekly analysis and insight on economic and security issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region. In addition to his Research Fellowship with Rise to Peace, Arman is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies, where he is currently completing a book project on education policy and economic development in the Indian state of Punjab. Arman graduated from Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University with a B.S in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Political Science. His undergraduate thesis focused on global arms control for cyber-weapons. He is currently completing his M.A in Political Science at the University of Illinois-Springfield. Arman is currently working on an Afghan peace report and is a contributing writer on Afghanistan, Pakistan, India matters.

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Angeliki Siafaka

Research Fellow

Angeliki Siafaka recently completed her Master of Research in Global Security at the University of Glasgow. Her research primarily focuses on gender and terrorism, and she wrote her dissertation on female terrorists and militant feminism examining the way women terrorists fight for women’s rights and gender equality inside and through terrorist organizations. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Archaeology from the University of Athens, specializing in contemporary history and historical research. She holds several certificates including a certificate in Children’s Rights and Child Protection from Harvard University and a certificate in the Psychology of Criminal Justice from the University of Queensland. Angeliki is a Research Analyst at NextGen working on the “Recruitment of Child Terrorist: Targeting Methods” Project (Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program) in collaboration with The Counterterrorism Group, conducting research analysis on terrorist recruitment techniques and the role of religion on the recruitment of child soldiers and terrorists. She is also a Contributing Writer at the Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism in the UK, conducting research on Islamist terrorism and violent extremism, and have published her work on female terrorists and guerrillas. Her research interests include terrorism and radicalization, armed conflict, human security and international human rights.

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Clarissa Lopez

Research Fellow

Clarissa Lopez is pursuing her master’s of science in national security concentration in information protection at the University of New Haven studying. She holds a bachelor’s from Wilfrid Laurier University in Criminology. She joined Rise to Peace to expand her knowledge on national security issues through education while implementing strategies that coincide with destigmatizing current attributes of terrorism to create an overall the hope of Peace amongst States. She is hopeful to utilize skills learned at this internship to better grasp the concept of counter-terrorism to pursue a career in the intelligence community.

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Danielle Boden

Active Intelligence Intern

Danielle Boden is currently an undergraduate student at The George Washington University studying International Affairs. She is pursuing a concentration in Security Policy and Conflict Resolution with the end goal of a career in counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization. As a Rise to Peace Active Intelligence intern, Danielle conducts research on global terrorism. She hopes that through her role at Rise to Peace she will learn more about violent-extremism and gain strategies for educating others against terrorist propaganda.

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Emma Scupp

Active Intelligence and Data Analysis Intern
Emma Scupp is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Administration of Justice with a concentration in cybercrime and minoring in Chinese and Applied Statistics. She has had research experiences with the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies as well as the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. She is interested in emerging technology vulnerabilities, non-proliferation, and counter-terrorism. Emma is currently an Active Intelligence and Data Analysis intern at Rise to Peace.
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Hallie Kielb

Research Fellow

Hallie Kielb is a Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double majoring in Political Science and Peace, War, and Defense with a concentration in International Security and Intelligence and a minor in History. She is a fourth-year student who hopes to start a career in foreign policy after graduation in 20221. She is a Research Fellow at Rise to Peace helping develop Counter-Terrorism programs.

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Isabella Björkman

Research Fellow

Isabella Björkman currently serves as Administrative Officer at the Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Previous work experience includes the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the Swedish Agency for Peace, Security and Development, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs as well as the Swedish Migration Agency. In 2019, Isabella was part of the EUNA cohort of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Fellowship Programme that focused on Women’s Role in Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking in the MENA region. Isabella holds an MSc in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding from Durham University and a BSc in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University. At Rise to Peace, Isabel supports the Afghan peace process.

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Jack Ryan

Research Fellow

Jack Ryan has lived in Zambia, South Africa and the UK. He completed his BA (hons) in History and Politics at the University of York where his research focussed on counter-terrorism and conflict resolution. He is currently undertaking an MSc in Defence, Diplomacy and Development at Durham University. Jack’s experience centres on counter-terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. At Rise to Peace, Jack works on research pertaining to the Afghan peace process and Taliban activity in the region.

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Jakub Klepek

Research Fellow

Jakub Klepek is an undergraduate International Politics & Intelligence Student at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom. He studied International Relations in Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) with a focus on terrorism and transnational crime, use of force in international law, international security, prevention of wars as well as Arabic and Turkish. He was a Public Affairs intern at NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey and has been recognized for his service with Commander’s Recognition Award, Commander’s Coin of Appreciation and Chief of Staff Coin of Appreciation. He possesses more than 2 years of experience as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst and associate analyst respectively at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) based in Washington D.C. and SI Risk Ltd. based in London. He also has a long history of volunteering for the American Field Services in Cracow, Poland; Erasmus Student Network at Aberystwyth University as well as Turkish Red Crescent in Ankara, Turkey. He is interested in international security, counterterrorism, gym, the Middle East, religious affairs, traveling, languages, diplomacy and leadership.

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Jonas Andersson

Research Fellow

Jonas Andersson holds a Master of Science in Business and Economics from the University of Boras and a Master of Science in Peace and Development Studies from Linnaeus University. He has experience from an internship at the Swedish embassy in Rwanda where he wrote reports on Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region. He has also conducted field research in Kenya. He is currently working as Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow on the Afghan Peace Process Project.

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Jumakhan Rahyab

Research Fellow - Afghanistan

Jumakhan Rahyab is a Fulbright Graduate Scholar at the University of Massachusetts’ McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. He is an award recipient of the Matz Fellowship and Student Ambassador at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He holds a BA in Political Science from Kabul University and is an alumnus of the Young Leaders Forum (YLF). Jumakhan is a founding member of the South Asian Society of Economic Reporters and is the co-founder of Youth Development Association, a local CSO focused on youth and women empowerment. He has also co-translated the book, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know.

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Meghan Rahill

Research Fellow
Meghan Rahill is a recent graduate from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she received her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Terrorism Studies, and an Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigating.  She attended undergraduate school at Saint Bonaventure University, where she studied political science and international studies.  During her studies, she spent one-year conducting research on the relative effectiveness of US drone strikes in Yemen and the FATA regions.  During this time, she found a passion for studying foreign affairs, counterterrorism, and US national security policies.  As a Rise to Peace Research Fellow, she looks forward to expanding her research in such interests, as well as learning more about the psychology behind terrorism.
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Réjeanne Lacroix

Editor in-Chief

Réjeanne Lacroix holds a BA in Political Science (emphasis on classical political theory and political economy) from Laurentian University and an MA in International Security Studies from the University of Leicester. She is regarded as a balanced voice on Russian affairs and matters impacting the post-Soviet space, mainly de facto states, military developments and political affairs. The Balkans are another area of intense interest for Ms. Lacroix, primarily the dynamics between the federal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ms. Lacroix is a sought-after analyst and writer often providing timely insight on territorial disputes, Eastern European bilateral discussions, combat sports and social issues. Topics of her academic publications include transnational organized crime, the militia movement in the United States, strategic culture of nations, the past role of shortwave radio in propaganda, and heartfelt looks at Russian culture.

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Riley Moeder

Research Fellow

Riley Moeder is a first-year Graduate student at George Washington University: Elliott School of International Affairs with a concentration in international law and U.S foreign policy.  She recently graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland Oregon with a B.A in International Affairs and French language.  Riley is passionate about creating a world with less conflict by building and maintaining long term connections across cultural divides. As a research fellow with Rise to Peace Riley is looking forward to continuing her research on women in extremism and the Afghan Peace process.

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Sawsan Khalaf

Research Fellow

Sawsan Khalaf is a Research Fellow at Rise to Peace contributing to the Afghan peace process. Sawsab recently completed her in Master’s in Modern Languages at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. In her thesis, she investigated neocolonial themes and attitudes in contemporary German travel writing, synthesizing insights from sociology, postcolonial theory, and cultural studies. Before her academic, she worked as an Editor at Mufta organization covering the Gulf State and Yemen’s politics, culture, and socio-economic affairs. Sawsan speaks multiple languages (Arabic, German, Swedish) and has a strong interest in linguistics. She is from Bahrain.

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Sonia Lay

Research Fellow

Sonia Lay received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology of digital media and a Master’s degree in Computational linguistics, from the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Salerno. Passionate about subcultures and deviant behavior, during her academic studies she decided to put a strong focus on the analysis of organized crime and hyper-terrorism. For The Alpha Institute of Geopolitics and Intelligence, located in Rome, she proposed and prepared research papers on violent extremism. She strongly believes in the importance of integrating multiple fields of knowledge, in order to develop new perspectives and get a broad overview of social phenomena. Therefore, for her research purposes, she often draws tools and analytical methods from Artificial intelligence. She enjoys meeting people with different cultural backgrounds, learning foreign languages and has recently started studying Dari Persian. Her research interests include the socio-psychological aspects of terrorism, the convergence between terrorism and organized crime, the role of media in the rise of extremist groups.

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Shabir Eman

Research Fellow

Shabir Eman is a current Fulbright scholar pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Trachtenberg School of the George Washington University (GWU). He also holds an MBA degree from the University of Mysore, India. Before joining GWU, he worked as the Director of Private Sector Research and Development at the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Commerce. He has taught Marketing Management, Organizational Behavior, and Business Communication at Kateb and Dunya universities in Kabul. He is also the Co-founder and Chair of the Board of the Youth Thinkers’ Society (YTS) – a non-profit organization promoting youth engagement and volunteerism in Afghanistan.

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Simone Matassa

Research Fellow, Women and Extremism Lead

Simone Matassa hold an M.A in Criminology from the Technological University Dublin, Ireland. With over 5 years experience in the Counter-Terrorism research field she has extensive knowledge of  gender related issues in terrorism and the female processes of radicalisation. Currently she is working as a counter-terrorism research Head  at Rise to Peace leading The Women and Extremism Program (WAEP). The Women and Extremism Program focuses on women who have become extremists, as well as women who are working to combat extremism. Her current project is the pathways to radicalization and understanding how women experience the process compared to men. Her most recent work is completion of the special report on women’s roles in the Afghanistan Peace Process to help illuminate the importance of women in Politics. Additionally, she is a contributing writer at the Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism Organization (ITCT) where I research and write to help change the narratives of terrorism in the Islamic faith, in order to educate others on the important distinction between the two and work closely with a Counter-Terrorism Think Tank named NextGen 5.0 where I analyse and disseminate the latest trends and issues in the terrorism field for various research articles and reports.

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