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Centre of Development Studies


Ana Rojo Fierro is an incoming PhD candidate for our 2024-25 academic year. Gates Cambridge has awarded her a full-cost scholarship on the grounds of 'outstanding intellectual ability'.

"I was born and raised in Mexico, a country with boundless cultural and natural richness, but which has been disrupted by almost two decades of conflict. To understand my country from a global perspective and envision possible solutions, I studied International Relations at Universidad Iberoamericana León. In my dissertation, I explored the legal classification of Mexico’s “War on Drugs” under International Humanitarian Law and the detrimental effects of unrestrained military use. 

One year later, I pursued an MSc in Conflict Resolution and Governance at the University of Amsterdam. My research focused on Cherán, an indigenous community in Mexico that expelled organised crime and illegal loggers from its territory and has managed to build and sustain peace. Cherán's story shaped my curiosity about community processes to counter socio-environmental threats and continues to be a great source of inspiration. Professional experiences, including at the ICRC and the University of Amsterdam, further revealed the interconnection of social and environmental crises.

For my PhD in Development Studies, I will explore the emergence of collective action to address socio-environmental threats, looking at how transformative alternatives are forged and sustained. In light of contemporary challenges, this research seeks to learn from local actors and to locate hope in everyday resistance." - Ana Rojo Fierro