Research Excellence Fellows

 Dr. Debjani Halder is an award winning independent film maker and film historian. She did her graduation and Master Degree in History. Then she shifted to a broad interdisciplinary field across the Social Sciences. She has nine years research experience and five years teaching experience. She is the associate faculty of Women’s Studies Research Centre, University of Calcutta, India and a Research Excellence Fellow at the CEU Department of Gender Studies, where she has been engaging in ground-breaking research on deconstruction of Indian sex workers in post nineties Indian films, the title as “Bodies Across Boundaries Representing Indian Sex Workers in Post-nineties Parallel Cinema: A Feminist Approach”.  Dr. Halder received several prestigious research fellowship. Recently she awarded the fellowship from Indian Institute of Advanced Studies Shimla, where she will work on ‘Art Artist and Social Life: A Critical Look at Indian Parallel Cinema (1950s to 1980s). She was the former Dr.S.Radhakrishnan th Postdoctoral Fellow of University Grant Commission, India from (2015 to 2018  March), where she had done the ground breaking research on ‘Patriarchy and Rights of Womb: through the Lens of Indian Parallel Cinema from 1990s to 2015 onwards.”  She was the former Postdoctoral Fellow of Indian Council of Social Science Research, India from (2013 to 2015 February). As ICSSR postdoctoral fellow she worked on ‘Visualise Women Protagonist in post Nineties Indian Parallel Cinema: A Critical Feminist Approach”. Dr. Debjani Halder holds PH.D degree on the “Contemporary Socio-Economic-Political and Marxist Cultural Movement and A Creative World of Ritwik Ghatak (1942 to 1976)” from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. She was the gold medallist in M.A from the same institution. She is the author of three monographs and almost twenty articles related on film- gender and historical context. She is teaching MPhil and PhD courses on gender and films in WSRC, University of Calcutta. She has delivered several lectures (including special lectures and in refresher courses, Methodology Courses for  college and university teachers and Research Scholars) at a number of other Universities and Research Institutes in  various parts of India and presented papers in talks, seminars and conferences in India and  abroad. She has received the professional training on “Migration Study” from Tata Institute of Social Science, India, 2017. She did one month Orientation Course on Theory of Arts and Practice Organised by Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, December 2018. She did Certificate Course on Feminist Research Methodologies, organized by School Of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University & Sachetana on 2016 April. She has 12 years’ experience of film making. Her two films ‘Documenting Agony Ritwik’ and ‘The Dark’ are acknowledge globally.  

Dr. Yuriy Matsiyevsky is Associate Professor of Political Science and the head of the Center for Political Research at Ostroh Academy National University (Ukraine). His areas of expertise include Ukrainian politics, democratization, informal institutions and hybrid regimes. Yuriy Matsiyevsky received his doctoral degree in political science from Lviv University in 1996 and habilitation from Ivan Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2016. Previously he studied at the Graduate School for Social Research, Warsaw, Poland. Since 1999 he has taught at Ostroh Academy, Ostroh, Ukraine. Dr. Matsiyevsky has held several research fellowships, including a Fulbright award at Kennan Institute, Washington, DC, Aleksanteri Institute’s visiting fellowship at the University of Helsinki, Think Visegrad fellowship at the Center for Eastern Studies, Warsaw and Carnegie Corporation fellowship at UC, Berkeley. Matsiyevsky is the author of Trapped in Hybridity: Zigzags of Ukraine’s Political Regime Transformations (1991-2014), (Books XXI, 2016, in Ukrainian). His papers appeared in Political Studies (Polis), Ideology and Politics, Russian Politics and Law, Nowa Ukraina (New Ukraine), Krytyka (Critics), Politeja and Wschod Europy. As a member of PONARS Eurasia policy network and former fellow of the Kennan Institute Dr. Matsiyevsky is frequent presenter at international symposia. The most recent conference presentations were given at PONARS Eurasia Annual Policy Conferences at GWU in 2015, 2017; The 17th annual Aleksanteri Conference at University of Helsinki in 2017; International symposium “Three Revolutions – Portraits of Ukraine at College of Europe, Warsaw in 2017; Kennan Institute Alumni conferences at Tartu University in 2016, and at ZOIS, Berlin in 2017. At CEU Dr. Matsiyevsky explores the connection between a revolution and a regime change/continuity in the hybrid political system, focusing on the case of post-revolutionary Ukraine. This project is a part of a larger study of Ukraine’s regime dynamics since the Euromaidan revolution. It challenges a traditional view on the hybrid regime dynamics by arguing that revolution does not always lead to the change of regime.

Dr. Bande Gulbert Mbah Tarh has a wide-range of dynamic research interests which arise from his interdisciplinary training in natural and socio-legal sciences. He is a Lecturer of law, a Practicing Lawyer and a Mathematics Tutor. He holds a Ph.D. in law (2015), a D.E.A in law (2011), an LL.M in international law (2010), a Master in Political Science (2009), an LL.M in Business Law (2008), and an LL.B (Hons) (2007) from the Faculty of Laws and Political Science of the University of Yaoundé II in Cameroon. Also, he holds a Legal Practitioner’s Qualifying Certificate (2014) from the Nigerian Law School (NLS) in Abuja. Equally, earlier in 2001, he was awarded a Secondary and High School Teachers’ Diploma (DIPES I and later DIPES II in 2012) in Mathematics from ENS - University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon. Indeed, since 2011, he has been teaching and mentoring students of the University of Yaoundé II and the Pan African Institute of International Development for West Africa (PAID-WA); where he taught graduate courses like International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, Corporate and Business Law, Energy and Investment Law, and undergraduate courses such as Introduction to Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal law, and Criminal Procedure Law, Law of Torts and Contract Law. He has also published several articles in well-known international law journals such as the African Journal of Law. He is a member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in USA, the Cameroonian Bar Association (CBA), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and an Affiliate member of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA). Currently, he is a visiting research fellow for the Research Excellence Fellowship (REF) at the Department of Legal Studies of the Central European University (CEU); where his research interest is on ‘Sustainable Development, the Extractive Industry (Mining Sector) and the Rights of the Autochthonous Communities  in Cameroon’. Email:


Dr. Carlos Meléndez is an associate researcher at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame (Indiana, United States) and is working on a research project on negative partisanship in comparative perspective (with a special focus on Latin America). His work has been published in American Journal of Political Science, Party Politics, Journal of Politics in Latin America, among others. He writes a weekly column in El Comercio, a Peruvian newspaper. Email:

 Dr. Defne Çizakça is a writer, editor and lecturer with a focus on literary history, in both its academic and creative forms. She has a BA and MA in Continental Philosophy from KU Leuven, and a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Glasgow. Defne has lectured in comparative literature, creative writing and gender studies at the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and Koç University in Istanbul. She was also the first person to conduct creative writing workshops at a women’s prison in Turkey. Defne has been awarded the Gillian Purvis Prize for New Writing, has been a Writer in Residence at the Hunterian Museums in Scotland, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in the United States. She has also edited three books (New Fairy Tales: Essays and Stories, Tip Tap Flat: a View of Glasgow, and Miscellaneous: Writing Inspired by the Hunterian), and is the Editor in Chief of Unsettling Wonder: a Journal of Folk and Fairy Tales. Her first novel, currently under final revisions, is a magically real account of fin de siècle Istanbul, involving a transgender singer of Ottoman music, a long lost encyclopaedia and a girl alchemist. She is represented by Howard Morhaim, of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency Inc., New York. At CEU, Defne will be working on the interlinked histories of two fairy tale collectors, Ignác Kúnos of Hungary and S. Ansky of Russia. Both ethnographers were of Jewish origin, and collected lullabies, folk tales, riddles and songs during their lengthy expeditions to the Ottoman Empire, and the outskirts of Imperial Russia respectively. Between them, Kúnos and Ansky managed to preserve a portion of the oral heritage that might otherwise have been lost during the wars that devastated the two declining powers of the East.

Dr. Vekkal John Varghese teaches at the Department of History in the School of Social Sciences University of Hyderabad, India. He was with the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Trivandrum and the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, prior to this. His areas of interest include modern South Asian history, transnational migrations from South Asia and making of regional modernities in South Asia, with a focus on Kerala in South India and Punjab in North India. He has co-authored Dreaming Mobility and Buying Vulnerability: Overseas Recruitment Practices in India (Routledge) and co-edited Anjuru Varshathe Keralam: Chila Arivadayalangal in Malayalam (Tapasam/DC Books), Migration, Mobility and Multiple Affiliations: Punjabis in a Transnational World (Cambridge University Press) apart from writing in reputed journals and contributing chapters to many edited volumes. He held visiting fellowships at the University of Sussex (2010-11) and the National University of Singapore (2014), prior to the one now at the Central European University, Budapest. 

Dr. Osman Bahadir Dinçer is a Research Excellence Fellow at the CEU’s Center for Religious Studies. He has a PhD in Political Science from Bilkent University in Ankara. Engaged in research at International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) between 2005 and 2016, he acted as the Director of the organization’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies after 2012. Prior to joining the Research Excellence Fellowship program, he worked as an Assistant Professor at Istinye University in Istanbul for six months in 2017. As a comparative political scientist, Dinçer has focused the majority of his research on Middle Eastern politics with particular reference to the state, violent/non-violent non-state actors, social and political movements, democratization, and Turkish foreign policy. Dinçer has authored/co-authored numerous articles, reports and policy papers for various research institutions, including the NATO Centre of Excellence Defense against Terrorism, the Valdai Discussion Club, the Brookings Institution, German Marshall Fund, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, European Leadership Network, as well as for USAK itself both in English and Turkish. He has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington D.C., a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and a language certificate from Cairo University. As a visiting research fellow at the CEU’s Center for Religious Studies, he explores the historical, political and societal contexts within which the state and its citizens are embedded in Iraq and Syria. He also takes part as an associated fellow in the Center's research project Striking from the Margins: Religion, State, and Disintegration in the Middle East.