Weaponization of the Environment Conference 2023

Conference Team

Rachel Hierholzer

Rachel Hierholzer is completing her master’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Utrecht University. Her master’s thesis researches the representation of migrants and refugees entering Europe through the Mediterranean in European newspapers and how this relates to or reflects exclusionary migration policy in the European Union, most specifically the externalization and securitization of borders. The goal of this research is to analyze discourse for patterns of racism in the media and othering of racialized migrants to trace how exclusion is legitimized in European culture. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Global Development Studies at Queens University, with her main research interests being centred around the politics of migration, securitization of borders, and temporary labour regimes. 

Jet Groenendijk

Jet Groenendijk is a master’s student in the Conflict Studies & Human Rights programme at the UU centre for conflict studies. Before starting this master’s, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree (Cum Laude) in Postcolonial Studies (major) & Conflict Studies (minor). During her bachelor’s, Jet interned at PAX for Peace in the Humanitarian Disarmament team working on Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict. Her master’s thesis is a comparative discourse analysis of the US & Kenyan defense policy focusing on climate security.

Ariel Ozdemir

Ariel is currently writing her thesis as part of the Master’s programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Utrecht University focused on a discursive analysis of climate-induced migration from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to Australia. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia with a major in Political Science and a minor in Spanish where she received the Special University of British Columbia Award (2020) and the Go Global International Learning Programs Award (2019). She also spent a year studying abroad at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Christoph Hahn

Chris is student in the Master’s Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Utrecht University. His thesis focusses on green militarisation of biodiversity conservation areas during armed conflict, studying the case of the ‘WAP-Complex’ in the transborder region of Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger. He has a Bachelor’s in Political Science with a minor in history from the University of Göttingen where he held the ‘Deutschlandstipendium’ scholarship from 2020 to 2021. During his bachelor’s, Chris also interned at the Human Rights NGO Society for Threatened Peoples in the department Indigenous Peoples.

Marit Tazelaar

Marit is researching the narrative of ‘green citizenship’ and how green urbanism plays a role in the destruction of urban social fabric in Katendrecht, Rotterdam South. It explores the climate-conflict nexus by assessing the social tensions of urban redevelopment. The thesis is part of the Master in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Utrecht University. She has completed her Bachelor in Management of International Social Challenges at Erasmus Unversity Rotterdam and specialized in Conflict Studies (University of Amsterdam) and Global Food Security (Wageningen University).

Yoëlle Pierik

Yoëlle is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Conflict Studies & Human Rights at Utrecht University, where she is working on her thesis. Her research focuses on understanding the connections between environmental governance, military power, and political dynamics in Brazil during the Bolsonaro administration. Prior to starting her Master’s degree, Yoëlle received a Bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in Latin American Studies (major) and conflict studies (minor). She also completed Leiden University’s Honours Programme ‘Tackling global challenges’ and interned at the NGO Mensen met een Missie and the Dutch government’s Center for the Promotion of Import from Developing Countries.

Thijs Jeursen

Thijs is an assistant professor and researcher in Conflict Studies at Utrecht University in the Faculty of Humanities that draws upon ethnographic fieldwork and interdisciplinary research in order to intervene in theoretical and public debates on security and conflict. Thijs completed his PhD in Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam where he spent 11 months conducting fieldwork researching citizenship and security in Miami, the results of which have been recently published in his new book The Vigilant Citizen: Everyday Policing and Insecurity in Miami. Thijs also obtained both a Master in Criminology and a Master in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University. 

In his most recent research project, he is examining the conflict-climate change nexus, specifically looking at how environmental concerns are being reconfigured according to parameters of security. Thijs is studying how civilians, markets, and state actors integrate ecological politics in military capacity and strategy. This research project aims to explain how climate change is understood by military actors, and what this might mean for their capacity, deployment, and use of violence in conflict.