Rachel Vitello

News Editor

The Global Fellowship program at Keene State College is a joint initiative between KSC and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR). Each fall semester a Global Fellow is chosen out of a group of people who have participated in the AIPR program and have applied for a semester at KSC.

On Thursday, September 5, the department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGS) and the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies held a welcome reception for the new KSC-AIPR Global Fellow for the fall 2019 semester, Braema Mathi.

Mathi is a former member of Parliament for the Republic of Singapore and a civil society activist who has experience working in human rights issues related to women, migrant workers, and trafficking.

Dean of Arts, Education and Humanities Kirsti Sandy began the welcome reception.

“As a public liberal arts college we take our mission of providing high quality education very seriously,” Sandy said. “From the time of Keene State’s founding many years ago, we maintained our strong focus on social justice that is at the core of our mission and equity in our community and curriculum. I see no better example of such a partnership than the global fellowship program.”

According to Sandy, the role of the global fellow at KSC is to attend several HGS courses, participate in public talks, give guest lectures and contribute to similar campus and community activities.

Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Jim Waller also spoke at the reception about the relationship between KSC and AIPR.

“Three years ago we had the great opportunity for a donor to step forward for AIPR and say they would love to, given the uniqueness of our program, have a participant from one of our seminars somewhere around the world be here for a semester in residence,” Waller said. “A lot of fellows really want the chance to go away for a semester and just immerse themsleves in the study of genocide and prevention.”

This is the third year that KSC has had an AIPR global fellow on campus. This year the college received over 40 applications for the position.

“We first met Braema last year in Bangkok for a seminar we did for government officials and we met her again in November in Poland at a seminar as well. She distinguished herself in both cases as a person with a committed heart, energy and great questions,” Waller said.

Mathi expressed her excitement to be at KSC for the semester.

“It’s only been a week and it’s truly a gift. I’m immersed in the reading, I’m on the run all the time and now the readings are coming as an avalanche at times but I find them fascinating. I need time to pick up my thoughts and see how I can grow in the process,” Mathi said.

Mathi also said she is already learning new things within the HGS discipline during her time taking classes here. She is excited to learn more about the theoretical background and experiential instances within the topic of the holocaust and genocide. Mathi is also looking forward to share her experiences and knowledge with the community.

“I’m very happy to share what I know. Half of me is researcher, half of me is activist,” Mathi said.

Mathi will remain at KSC for the remainder of the fall semester. The HGS department will also be hosting a reading/study group three times this semester with a focus on Southeast Asia. Sunday, October 20, is the official opening and dedication of the Cohen Center.

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

rvitello@kscequinox.com.