| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy

Welcome, Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala!

The Brandt School welcomes Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala, PhD, as new head of the Conflict Studies and Management specialization.

Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala, PhD
Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala, PhD

Alejandra Ortiz-Ayala is a political scientist from Colombia. She is part of the Centre for the Comparative Study of Civil Wars as a Civil War Paths Fellow, at the University of Sheffield. Member of the Centre of Global Migrations at the University of Otago, New Zealand and research affiliate in The Political Economy and Transnational Governance (PETGOV) at the University of Amsterdam.

Before her PhD, she spent several years as a lecturer, researcher and consultant for national and international organizations in Colombia. Her current academic research interest incorporates four research areas, with the overall goal of preventing violence. First, she has studied the role of the security sector in war to peace transitions mainly in Latin America. She has particular expertise in studying the security sector's role in peace processes, including transitional justice, state-building, and post-war violence. Second, she analysed the influence of ideology on people, political behaviour, violence mobilization, radicalism and armed groups' behaviour in the context of civil war and beyond. Her PhD dissertation, War Mentality and Post-Peace Accord Violence: A Field Experiment of Political-ideological Bias among Colombian Soldiers, combines insights from political science and the political and social psychology of intergroup conflicts to develop and test a theory of individual and institutional bias. Third, her research explores mechanisms for reconciliation between victims and perpetrators, particularly between state armed actors and civilians in post-peace agreement contexts. Finally, her recent research studies social cohesion in the context of civilian displacement and resettlement during and post-civil wars in the context of Colombia and New Zealand.

Methodologically, she is a mixed methods researcher. She has experience designing and analysing public opinion surveys– including lab-in-the-field experiments, survey experiments, and semi-structural and in-depth interviews.

Get to know Alejandra and her story better and read our Bulletin interview.