Academic Background: I did Asian Studies at Griffith University, Australia specializing in development studies. My honours thesis examined the emerging role of markets in centrally planned economies such as the PRC. For my PhD, my academic interestes shifted to Latin America and for my thesis I looked at banking sector reforms in Central America during the 1980s and 1990s. My first post PhD job was at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, where I conducted research on the interaction between microfinance and the subsitence economy. This line of research carried on when I took up a research position at the Foundation for Development Cooperation in Brisbane in 2008. My interest in the South Pacific continued but in a different setting. In, 2010 I accepted a position at the Center for Social Responsibility in Mining at the Universty of Queensland where I conducted research on the socio-economic impacts of mining projects. In 2012, I took up a position as senior social scientist with giant consulting firm Worley. After wrecking havoc in other parts of the world, the Global Financial Crisis finally arrived in Australia and the company lost many contracts in a matter of months, which resulted in I reduntancy for many, including me. I dedicated the next 18 months to taking care of my 2 daughters and wife: cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, washing clothes, taking kids to kindergarten and school, entertaining them after school and organising the home front while my wife worked full time. Being a stay at home dad is the most difficult job I’ve had so I salute all those who do it. In 2014, I move to Denmark with my whole family to start my current position. You can visit the PURE page to find out more about my professional self.
My research in a nutshell: I specialize in the governance of natural resources. I also look at the socio-economic impacts of non-renewable resource extraction in Latin America, the South Pacific and Greenland. My most recent project deals with finding economic alternatives for rural communities in El Salvador.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? It is difficult for me to think of any other profession, other than being a researcher but I do have another passion: cooking! I love cooking for myself and others because I get into a very good mood almost every time I cook. My favorite is food from South East Asia but I also like cooking my own version of Indian, Latin American and Italian food. I’m a vegetarian so finding interesting vegetarian recipes from around the world is one of my favorite past times. If one day, I get tired of being a researcher, I think I may buy a food truck and start selling my dishes to people.
Academic Background: I have a BA summa cum laude in International Relations from the University of Minnesota, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.
My research in a nutshell: My research has always revolved around politics and culture in one form or another. Over the years I have studied several social movements including the Global Justice Movement, the British Anti-Roads Movement, and Spain’s 15-M “Indignados” Movement, which emerged following the 2008 global financial crash. I have also done research on victims of terrorism and how they have been instrumentalized by political elites. Some of †he puzzles that have motivated my research have been questions like “What makes heterogeneous groups of people able to work together in the absence of any external incentive (e.g. getting paid to) or common identity?” or “Does email help facilitate democratic forms of participation or does it actually exacerbate offline hierarchies?”. These kinds of puzzles lead to my theoretical insights, such as my work on collective identity or social movement innovation on democracy.
What is your favorite place and why? I have many favorite places. One of them is Granada in Spain. It is the result of many beautiful and rich cultures, (Moors, Romans, Jews and Christians). The food traditions are Arab-Andalucían with strong Arab and Jewish heritage. The Alhambra is spectacular and the setting is stunning with the Sierra Nevada mountains all around and the intense blue sky. I love the architecture, all the tea shops, and the feeling of proximity to North Africa. The hammam is really beautiful too and wandering through the Albaicín connects me to the past. Finally, in Granada they go crazy with the tapas, you can drink a soda or a glass of wine and get enough food to call it dinner. It is just a magical place.