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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. 


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ayako ohara

Ayako is Alumni Relations and Event Development Chair and a reporter for East Asia section in IR Society. She is in her second year at IR Society and is currently a sophomore studying International Relations and Computer Science at CAS. She was born and raised in Japan, and spent a bit of her childhood in San Francisco. She passionately follows the Russian probe. She loves to eat and travel. Especially, she loves everything and every location with good chocolate. In her free time, she wants to explore New York City, her second favorite city in the world. But most of all, she tries to prioritize hanging out with friends.

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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.


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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.

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Petra is the Alumni Relations and Event Development Chair of the IR Society and a writer for the IR INSIDER. She is a junior in CAS, double majoring in International Relations and Economics. She’s passionate about advocating for human rights, and also has a deep interest in foreign affairs and diplomacy. She is currently interning at the Global Philanthropist Circle at the Synergos Institute.



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 a sophomore 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 writer in the South Asia section of IR Insider. She is a member of the International Relations Society and the Dean’s Honors Service Corps. Her greatest passion lies in public speaking; throughout high school, she competed in Model United Nations and NSDA Public Forum debate. She is also extremely interested in social issues like race relations and media consumption. She was honored by the Princeton Prize in Race Relations in 2015 for her work in combining both her love of media and her interest in promoting racial harmony to create a video project and a Facebook forum for her peers to discuss race-related current events. Her two greatest hobbies outside of academia are dancing and singing, and she is classically trained in Bharatanatyam, an ancient Indian dance form.

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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.



jaella brockmann

Growing up in Germany, Jaella discovered her curiosity for all kinds of structures, perceptions and dynamics. This led her to pursue her first steps as a journalist for several local newspapers. She started narrowing her focus when it became clear that journalism and its uncountable possibilities to educate oneself was more than just a temporary passion. While finishing her BA in Sociology, Economics and Politics in Germany and Canada, she experienced the difficulties of political censorship during my internship at DiscoverME. She then dived into the various possibilities of interning and working for the political department of FOCUS in Berlin and Washington, D.C. She believes that journalism offers more than descriptive information and is a way to disrupt, broaden perspectives and question a world we take for granted.


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.

ali hassan

Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Ali is a recent NYU grad who studied economics, politics and Middle Eastern Studies. During spring 2017, he jumped into a Persian class in order to avoid having to take labor economics. As a result of his impulse decision, he fell in love with Iranian culture, and to this day constantly tries to learn something new about Iran and Afghanistan. In his free time, he reads the poetry of Sa’adi Shirazi and Iqbal, but he also enjoys watching films, and learning about psychology and philosophy. He is currently seeking employment in the private sector, but intends to enroll in graduate school within the next five years.


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Brendan Yap

Brendan Yap is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is an Economics major in CAS and is looking to complete minors in Mathematics and Computer Science. Brendan has long been interested in the field of journalism and publication – as a high school senior, he served as his school magazine’s Editor-in- Chief. He is capable of speaking and writing in both English and Malay, the national language of his home country. He also has a strong interest in international politics and economics.


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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.


audrey ren

Audrey Ren is currently a sophomore at NYU Stern School of Business preparing to major in Finance and Computer Data Science with a minor in Arabic language studies. The business-related courses she took at Stern deepen her knowledge of foreign financial markets and prepare her to seek creative solutions. Growing up in China and Canada, she has harbored much cosmopolitan awareness and has joined IR society as a writer for the Economics & Business section to better cultivate her knowledge under diverse cultural settings to gain global insights.




Alex Zhang is currently a sophomore studying finance and data science at NYU stern. Born in Chongqing, China and finished his high school education in Vancouver, Canada, Alex has a bilingual background as well as a strong ability to adapt to new environment. With great passion in culture, art, and new technology, Alex joins IR Society at NYU and works as a writer covering Tech & Science section. A newcomer to investigative journalism, Alex looks forwards to fulfilling his mission by providing the readers with the newest information on rising technologies and science. Besides writing and studying, Alex can be found jogging, food hunting, and most of the time playing video games somewhere in Manhattan.

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.


Ananya misra

I’m Ananya Misra, a freshman majoring in Finance at Stern. Though from Dubai, I’ve quickly called New York City my home. My interests range from international relations, ukulele, tennis, Suits, app development, foreign affairs and things out of this world; quite literally as I’m hoping to minor in astronomy. My career aspirations center around venture capital, which combines my traits of being a risk-taker and business-minded. I’m keen to write too, having had several works published in yearbooks and school newspapers. My day starts by reading the news with everything from politics to science and the environment.



Justin Anderson Ederheimer is a second year graduate student in the GSAS International Relations Program. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, he is currently a staff writer at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) where he covers US politics, media, technology and culture. He enjoys playing ice hockey and music in his spare time.

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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.


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.

 foreign news monitoring

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Kevin Moya

Kevin Moya is currently a freshman in the College of Arts and Science pursuing a double major in Economics and Politics. He was born in London and has lived in the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and the United States. In high school Kevin took an active role in a variety of clubs, ranging from the Wind Ensemble to the Orchestra to the French Honor Society. Outside of school he ran the nonprofit Wilton Roots of Music, an organization which introduces children ages 5-12 to music over the summer. He has also volunteered at the Philippine Red Cross to distribute goods to those affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Additionally, he was an intern at Morgan Stanley during the summer of 2017. In his free time Kevin enjoys reading, biking, watching Netflix, and, most importantly, finding places to eat great food.

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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.

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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.