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IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 


IR INSIDER is proud to host a talented pool of writers. From freshmen to grad students at NYU, they are marked by a passion for International Affairs. Thanks to them, we are able to renew each category twice/thrice a week with the exception of UN/State/White House and Foreign News Monitoring, both of which will be updated daily. Coming from around the globe, our writers present unique interpretations of the world largely shaped by their own cosmopolitan experiences. 


lavinia ding

Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, Lavinia Ding is in CAS studying Economics, Politics, and Business Studies. Fluent in English, French, Chinese, and currently learning Korean, she wishes to broaden her horizons and perspectives in international relations. Her previous experiences include working as Copy Editor and Organizations Editor of her high school journalism program, serving to pique her interest in writing and publishing. Career-wise, she wishes to move on to to study both international and corporate law, hoping that her experience in IR Insider will give her valuable exposure. In her free time, she enjoys playing classical piano, making self-deprecating jokes and puns, ballet and hip-hop/urban dance, video editing, and writing novels.


Kristina Zheng

Kristina Zheng currently pursues a International Relations with a concentration in the East Asian region, with minors in Economics and Chinese. She serves on the executive board of NYU’s Policy Case Competition and is a staffer in NYU’s Model United Nations Conference crisis committee. Kristina hopes to pursue a career in corporate law or finance and enjoys the interdisciplinary aspect of her major, which allows her to explore many different fields of study at once. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running, and exploring the City’s rich coffee scene.


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Natasha Williams

Natasha Williams is a junior in the College of Arts and Science double majoring in International Relations Honors and Economics. Being a dual citizen of the US and the UK fluent in both English and French, Natasha has always been rooted with an affinity for international affairs. Her primary areas of research interest include US-European relations, cyber activity, and global human rights violations centering on the international human trafficking trade. Her previous experience has included international legal and social work and domestic nonpartisan work. In the future she hopes to go to Law School with a concentration in International Law, and to one day work in a large international organization.



alex mason

Alex Mason Pazmiño is a writer in the Latin American section of the International Relations Insider. From Quito, Ecuador, Alex is currently a sophomore at New York University. His academic focus area is Latin America, as it is a region that fascinates him for its cultural diversity, rich history, and decisive political and cultural factors that have influenced its present issues. A key interest of his is how the dictatorships of the 20th century has shaped Latin America’s future and developmental process.

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Annika Squires

Annika Squires is currently a Freshman at New York University. Born and raised in Dallas, Annika has been interested in Human Rights and International Relations for a number of years. Her primary areas of research interest include Genocide, immigration, human trafficking, as well as political situations in different Latin American countries. In her free time Annika loves to workout, cook, and travel.

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Jessie Wall is an undergraduate at New York University majoring in Politics. She is involved in Politics Society on Campus. Her academic interests revolve around national security, immigration and migration studies, and political instability. Jessie is from Lenoir City Tennessee, where she graduated valedictorian. Outside of academics, Jessie is an avid runner, biker, and musician.



Allie Rubeck is a senior in CAS double majoring in International Relations and Spanish Literatures and Cultures. Originally from Massachusetts, Allie is also a dual citizen of the US and Spain, and is fluent in Spanish and French. This early international experience inspired her not only to study abroad in both Shanghai and Buenos Aires, but also to learn Mandarin and Hindi. Allie's research interests include gender electoral politics and gender quotas, political participation in Latin America, postcolonial international relations, and foreign policy of developing nations. She previously worked for a government transparency nonprofit in Argentina and as an aide to a New York City Councilmember.



jacob lui

Jacob Lui is currently at Steinhardt studying Social Studies Education. He is really excited to be part of the IR community, and is looking forward to working with INSIDER team this semester!



Ian Sanders is a first year student at the NYU School of Liberal Studies. He is a member of the NYU Fencing Team and often travels nationally and internationally for competitions. Ian enjoys spending his time practicing his sport, following the news, and debating politics. He grew up in the town of Wilton, Connecticut and attended the local high school. Ian hopes to major in international relations following a lifelong dream of getting involved in world politics. He is passionate about global conflict, the environment, and human rights.



sarika bhattacharjee

Sarika is a junior in NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences majoring in International Relations and minoring in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Journalism. Throughout her undergraduate career, Sarika has completed internships in the non-profit and government sector, most recently at TED, the Clinton Foundation, and in the District Office of Congressman Nadler. After college, Sarika hopes to go to law school. Outside of academics, Sarika is the Vice President of her acapella team at NYU, NY Masti.

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maahnoor siddiqui

Maahnoor is a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University. She is pursuing a double major in Sociology and Journalism. Born and raised in New York, Maahnoor's writing centers around Muslim and South Asian communities. She is specifically interested in the identity politics of the South Asian diaspora, influenced by her experience as a second-generation American. Maahnoor loves to travel, bake and watch films in her free time.

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Apurva Kothari is from Jaipur, India. She is a Sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences aiming to pursue a double major in International Relations and Environmental Studies. Interested in publishing and writing since her formative years, Apurva served as the editor-in-chief of her high school's official monthly newsletter, Agnitio. Later, she also interned at an art-centric travel firm in her city, Culture Fox, as a travel blogger. Varied writing experiences like these, her work as a research intern for the Center for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi and her desire to keep up with the world affairs while keeping her native region at the center, inspired and drove her to write for the South Asia Section. Apart from writing for the IR Insider, she is on the TEDxNYU Speaker Curation team and a Sophomore Class Board member of the CAS Student Council. Apurva is fluent in English and Hindi.



era gjonbalaj

Era is a freshman in Liberal Studies who hopes to major in International Relations. Era’s father is from Kosovo and her mother is from the U.S., so she grew up in Upstate New York and spent her summers in Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania. Era’s diverse background, international travels, and her family’s experience in the Kosovo War encouraged her interest in international relations.

Selin Avcilar

Selin Avcilar is a freshman Economics student at New York University. Although she was born in Manhattan, she was raised in Istanbul and also lived in Portugal. In addition to English, she speaks Turkish, Portuguese, French, and Spanish. Having grown up in a very multicultural household, she is fascinated by the business world and loves to learn about different countries. Her favorite hobby is traveling, and she has already visited over 18 countries around the world. During her free time, she enjoys going out on runs, exploring different parts of New York City, and cooking.




zoie brauser

Zoie is looking to major in International Relations in NYU’s College of Arts and Science. Her interest in studying International Relations stems both from her participation in Public Forum debate and a student-run Current Events Club during high school. She is now a part of NYU’s International Relations Society and is excited to write for the Middle East/North Africa section of IR Insider. Besides international affairs she is also interested in learning more about domestic issues. She volunteers with an organization called Generation Citizen in which she works with a local twelfth grade class to help them take action to fix an issue within their community. She is also a member of NYU’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, which is a public policy think tank that seeks to address systemic community issues. In her free time she enjoys hiking and reading, particularly nonfiction by David Foster Wallace.



Hanna park

Hanna Park is a junior in CAS majoring in politics and journalism with a print/online focus. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she migrated to South Korea at the age of 10 - only to return to her birthplace five years later. She has been caught between these two East Asian cultures ever since. Her passion for politics grew after she pursued her journalism degree, and she is wildly interested in history, human rights, and humanitarian issues. She also enjoys taking photography, watching movies, and someday hopes to create a well-made video of her own.


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alyssa marshall

Alyssa is a senior in CAS double majoring in International Relations and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies. Originally from Colorado, she loves the mountains and the cold but is more than happy to compromise to be able to live in NYC. Alyssa spent Fall 2017 studying in Abu Dhabi and Spring 2018 in Tel Aviv (with a brief stint in the West Bank to study Arabic) and has great hopes to return to the region for a career someday. Her main research focuses include religion, extremism, and terrorism (and how the three often intersect), and her main hobbies thankfully include activities that are much less complex. Alyssa is stoked to contribute to IR INSIDER as a writer, and can’t wait to see what she learns along the way!

alyssa pugliese

Alyssa is a senior in CAS double majoring in Politics and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Having lived in San Francisco, Toronto, Dallas, and New York, she loves to travel to new places and learn new languages and is currently studying Arabic and French. Her main areas of academic focus include political violence, genocide, human trafficking, and security apparatuses. Thankfully, her hobbies are more light-hearted and include theatre, dancing, and cooking. Alyssa has explored working in a variety of non-profits, government offices, and teaching positions and is excited to put her experience to work writing for the Sub-Saharan Africa section of IR Insider.


ROBert lopez-irizarry

Robert Lopez-Irizarry, known as Robi by his friends, is a student looking to major in International Relations with an interest in Public Policy. His half-Cuban, half-Puerto Rican identity has shaped his perspective on a variety of issues. In high school, Robert raised $25,000 for Hurricane Maria relief efforts and was able to return to Puerto Rico three months after the storm to provide relief. He is most keenly interested in viewing international relations with an emphasis on humanitarian issues. Some of Robert’s hobbies include watching the Premier League, reading Hunter S. Thompson, and exploring new parts of the city with his friends. Most of all, Robert is eager to bring a different perspective and learn as much as he can.




Angie Lin is a freshman in NYU Stern preparing to major in finance. Although she was born on Long Island, she grew up in Singapore and is excited to be back in New York. With a passion for the business world, she has joined IR Insider as a writer for the Economics & Business section. She is also a member of Undergraduate Stern Women in Business, the International Business Association, and NYU Net Impact. Outside of Stern, Angie enjoys playing the piano and viola, working out, eating, and napping.


Shramen Sen

Shraman Sen is an undergraduate student studying economics and mathematics at New York University. Shraman has participated in various research assignments ranging from constructing an interactive middle school math syllabus to conducting an economic analysis for a medical drug. Currently he is working on an applied mathematics research assignment under Columbia university faculty. Shraman was a delegate at the 2017 United Nations youth assembly and is an ambassador for the NYU UN Initiative. Outside of his academic pursuits, Shraman plays the sitar.

Milind sundaram

Milind is a writer in the Economics and Business section for NYU's IR Insider. He is currently studying at NYU's Stern School of Business, double majoring in Finance and Mathematics. As a member of NYU's Ultimate Frisbee team, he often travels across the east coast for tournaments and can be found tossing a frisbee with friends in Washington Square Park when the weather is nice. Having grown up outside Boston, he is a big sports fan and enjoys watching Boston sports teams in his free time.


Fei Zhao

Fei Zhao is a senior neuroscience major with minors in chemistry and psychology. She is the treasurer for IR Society as well as a managing editor and writer for IR Insider. Fei currently works at NYU's Center for Neuroscience at the Movshon lab doing research on the effects of adaptive stimuli on visual texture discrimination. In her free time, when she's not busy recovering from sleep deprivation, she enjoys figure skating, binge-watching TV shows, and playing piano.

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jade thompson

Jade Thompson is currently a Sophomore at NYU Tandon, majoring in Science and Technology Studies. Embodying the phrase, “Jack of all trades,” Jade’s interests include fencing, multiple instruments, computer illustration, biology, computer science, and learning new languages. Because she has such a wide range of interests, she is having trouble deciding on a minor; however, she knows she wants to study International Relations in graduate school. Jade hopes to work at the UN’s Technology and Innovation lab or become a Technical Targeting Analyst in the future. She previously worked at the American Museum of Natural History as a research assistant and is currently working there as a youth administrator.

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Punn siwabutr

Punn is currently a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science double majoring in Politics and History, with a minor in German. Hailing from Thailand, he hopes to bring some of his military experience and know-how to the Science and Technology section. He is also an active member of NYU Model United Nations, taking part in its Travel Team as well as its conferences. On the less academic side, he can be found playing janggu with NYU Rhythmic Impulse or staring at maps in Paradox games.


ken yokokawa

Ken is a sophomore majoring in Business at Stern and Computer Science at CAS. Born in New York and raised mostly in Japan, Ken is fluent in Japanese and is an executive board member of the Japanese Culture Association at NYU. In high school, Ken was active in the Human Rights Club, which focused on spreading awareness of human rights abuses around the world. He also co-founded Chemistry for Kids, which taught local elementary school students the fundamentals of chemistry. Ken loves to be in the city; you can catch him cycling around exploring different neighborhoods, as long as it's not too cold out.



lorraine schmucker

Lorraine is the music and culture writer for the IR Insider. She was born in Manhattan and grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, where she still lives with her parents and older brother. She came to NYU in fall 2015, and is a cinema studies and journalism double major. Currently a junior, she hopes to write for a newspaper or magazine upon graduation. She is a big fan of Disney, horror, Katharine Hepburn, and The Chainsmokers.


Christian nanadoum

Christian Nanadoum is a freshman in the College of Arts and Science from the town of Naugatuck, Connecticut. He is pursuing a double major in International Relations and Sociology. Christian’s interest in international political occurrences and global cultures stem in part from his Chadian cultural heritage and his experiences living abroad in Kigali, Rwanda. He is very passionate about the social justice issues of immigration and race-relations. Post-graduation, Christian intends pursue work in the fields of human rights and immigration law and non-profit development. In his free time, Christian enjoys writing and dancing.

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maria gracia santillana

Maria Gracia is currently a first year at the College of Arts and Sciences hoping to study International Relations and Journalism with a Peace and Conflict Studies Minor. Coming from Peru, she is very excited to bring her international experience to the Foreign Media Monitoring section. At NYU, she is part of the NYU Model United Nations Travel Team, the Politics Society, and the IR Society. In her (limited) free time, Maria can be found obsessing over dogs on the street, reading a classic novel, or volunteering as a barista in a Bookstore Café.

Lorenzo Gazzola

Lorenzo Gazzola is a Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences double-majoring in Politics and History. Born in New York, Lorenzo lived in Italy for four years during his childhood before returning to the United States. With work experience at The Council on Foreign Relations, Observer, and other news organizations, Lorenzo is passionate about the role of media and scholarship in foreign policy-making. He is especially interested in U.S. foreign policy, transatlantic relations, and global political history. In his free time, Lorenzo can be found obsessively reading about, playing or watching soccer.

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julia radke

Julia is a junior majoring in International Relations and Journalism. She spent her freshman year studying abroad in Florence, Italy. She is looking forward to writing for the IR Insider because it’s the perfect combination of two of her favorite subjects–international politics and journalism. Some fun facts about her: she loves dogs and she tries to take pictures of the cute ones she sees on her way to class. She has an irrational fear of frogs, and she loves orange juice, sushi, and cheese (not together though).


bailey maybray

Bailey is a student in CAS and he intends to major in International Relations and minor in French. Bailey's interest in international relations stems from his experiences growing up in a very small and secluded town in western Pennsylvania. His unique perspective on politics within a suburban town helped drive his interests in social justice and community engagement. He is very excited to write for the United Nations, State Department, and White House section and delve into the motivations and reasoning behind their respective policies. He hopes to gain valuable writing skills from the IR Insider and build his personal knowledge about the world around him.


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Julia Guo

Julia Guo is currently working as a publishing assistant and a event reporter for the International Relations Society at NYU. Julia is a freshman on a pre-law track in the College of Arts and Science at NYU, intending to study International Relations. Born and raised in Beijing, Julia is looking forward to exploring other cosmopolitan cities in the world. She is also passionate about globally common interests like food eating and makeup. Julia is also a Taylor Swift fan (and takes no shame in admitting that). She values her Chartreux cat the most.

danny hegberg

Danny Hegberg is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in journalism. He was born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, outside of Chicago. At NYU, Danny is a member of the College Democrats and UNICEF, along with writing for the Event Reporting section of the IR Insider. In highschool, he ran cross country, acted in school productions, and worked as an editor for the school paper. He also spent free time working at the local hospital and tutoring an asylum seeker. Areas of interest include journalism, international relations and ethics, Arabic, and immigration. You can always find him enjoying the city with friends or spending caffeine-fueled nights in Bobst Library.


ana ortiz

Ana is currently a sophomore in CAS double majoring in political science and philosophy. She is a writer in the Event Reporting for IR Insider. In high school, Ana participated in many political based clubs and worked as a fellow for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Currently living in Virginia, when home, she spends most of her time in D.C. and hopes to fully tour all of the Smithsonian museums.