Observatory Media is proud to showcase the exciting work and research performed by our writers. Take a look at our current contributors, and if you would like to become one, please click here


Otto Faludi

Otto Faludi is a 2016-17 Graduate Fellow with the Nathanson Centre on Human Rights, Crime and Security at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, where he is currently completing his Master of Laws thesis with a focus on transnational corporate conduct in international law. Otto has gained more than six years of experience working with key stakeholders in government, academia, and the private sector to organize conferences, workshops, seminars, and other public events on Canadian and international political, economic, and foreign policy issues. He earned an Honours B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Public and International Affairs from York University’s bilingual Glendon College, where he was actively involved with numerous student organizations. Otto is fluent in English and Hungarian, proficient in French, and has a working knowledge of German and Spanish.

Matthew Gordner

Matthew Gordner is a Trudeau Scholar and a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Department of Political Science. He is also Co-Chair of the Graduate Association of Students of Political Science (GASPS), the Graduate Coordinator of the Centre for Ethics, and the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto. Matt holds an Honours BA in Philosophy and Political Science from York University, an MA (magna cum laude) in Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University, and an MA in Political Theory from the University of Alberta. Gordner specializes in Middle Eastern politics, comparative politics, and political theory. Specifically, his research focuses are on democratization in the Arab world, Islamist and secular-liberal discourses, and Israeli-Palestinian politics. Gordner’s dissertation work centers on a comparison of Egyptian and Tunisian democratic transition. He has received a number of awards for community involvement and academic achievement, including the Queen Elizabeth II Award, the Alberta Heritage Award, and the Government of Alberta Citizenship Award. Matt is a Senior Analyst at Consultancy Africa Intelligence and the Founder and Executive Director of The Peace by Piece Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to dialogue on sensitive issues of local and global scope.

John Graham

John Graham is a recent graduate of Kobe University (Graduate School of Law – Japan) where he obtained his M.A. in Political Science, and a former Monbukagakusho (MEXT) scholar who specializes in Japanese foreign policy, government, and comparative politics. In addition to a B.A. Honours in International Relations from Carleton University, John has lived, studied, and worked in Japan for four years, and has professional experience in the energy sector. His research interests include diplomatic history, regional integration, and the economic systems of Asia-Pacific countries. John is fluent in Japanese and English, and proficient in French.

Coralie Hodgson

Coralie Hodgson has a Master in International Studies from Université de Montréal. She also completed a BA from the same university, with a major in Hispanic Studies and a minor in Political Science. Her main interests include Latin America, governance issues, and environmental issues. She lived many years in South America and speak French, English and Spanish. / Coralie Hodgson détient une maîtrise en Études internationales de l’Université de Montréal. Elle a également complété un baccalauréat à l’Université de Montréal, une majeure en Études Hispaniques et une mineure en Sciences politiques. Elle s’intéresse particulièrement à la région de l’Amérique latine, aux questions de gouvernance et aux enjeux environnementaux. Coralie a vécu plusieurs années en Amérique du Sud et parle couramment français, anglais et espagnol.

Fernanda Igartua Medina

Fernanda Igartua Medina is Chief of Department at the newly created Secretary of Culture of Mexico. She earned a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Glendon College, York University in Toronto. Additionally, she has a Master’s in Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. Her interests include cultural infrastructure, international relations, and organized civil society.

Sarah Israr

Sarah Israr is a published writer and freelance journalist. Having completed an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Business and English Literature at the University of Toronto, she has developed a keen interest in technology, cybersecurity, and foreign policy. Her work as a reporter has been published in the South China Morning Post’s country business reports, and her literary pursuits have been recognized by the University of Toronto which awarded her the Sonny Ladoo Book Prize award in 2014. Trilingual, and having lived in three continents by the age of ten, she is an avid traveler and is infinitely passionate about ethical consumption and sustainable change.

Georgi Ivanov

Georgi Ivanov is a political scientist specializing in the geopolitical questions of the Arctic region. He obtained his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario and his M.A. in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa. Ivanov’s interests include international political economy, currency politics, the Middle and East Asia. He is fluent in English and Bulgarian, and currently works with the Atlantic Council of Canada, the Atlantic Community in Berlin, and does occasional consulting for Wikistrat.

Lucy James

Lucy James is a recent post-graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where she completed an MSc in African Politics. While at SOAS, she focused on the history and politics of Lusophone African countries. Lucy has spent time working in Kenya, where she was associated with research projects run from the British Institute in East Africa. She writes freelance for publications including the Huffington Post on the international politics of African countries, and has a particular interest in the international trade of commodities and urban development. She currently works for local government in the UK.

Jonathan Kates

Jonathan Kates is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Toronto, with a particular focus on urban affairs, transit and social welfare issues. He has two Bachelors Degrees from York University: a bilingual BA in International Studies and Sociology from the Glendon campus, and a BA in Urban Studies from the Keele campus. Jonathan’s love of languages — he is fluent in English, French, and Spanish — has allowed him to teach English in Canada and in Spain, and he is currently a teaching assistant in Spanish 1000 at U of T. This summer he will complete a co-op at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing with the Government of Ontario.

Ramy Khouili

A dedicated Human Rights advocate, Ramy Khouili has worked at EuroMed Rights (the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network) since the Tunisian Revolution in 2011. His work is primarily focused on issues of civil and individual liberties, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s rights, and gender equality. Follow on Twitter: @khouiliramy

Larysa Lacko

Larysa Lacko obtained an Honours BA in French-English Translation from Concordia University. She is currently completing a Master of Public and International Affairs at York University, Glendon College. In 2015, she completed an internship with the International Development section at the Embassy of Canada in Hanoi (Vietnam), and participated in and received two awards at the International Model NATO simulation in Washington, DC. Her interests include international development, security, international trade agreements, and Eastern Europe.

Jeremy Luedi

Jeremy Luedi is currently completing his B.A. consisting of an Honours Specialization in Political Science along with a Major in History and a Minor in Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction at The University of Western Ontario. Born and raised in Switzerland, Jeremy attended Zurich International School which enabled him to engage as a global citizen from a young age. Fluent in English and German, with Swiss and Canadian citizenship, Jeremy’s interests include foreign policy, international affairs and military technology with a research focus on the Asia-Pacific region as well as on international law.

Jordan Maicoo

Jordan is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, and holds an Honours BA in International Studies and a minor in Hispanic Studies from York University’s Glendon College. His areas of interest include migration, international politics, North-South cooperation, and climate change. In addition to contributing to Freedom Observatory, he writes for the blog The South Side of Things. Jordan works as the International Relations Officer at the European Development Fund, Ministry of Planning and Development in Trinidad. He is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.

Karan Mehta

Karan Mehta has an Honour’s Bachelors degree in International Studies from Glendon College and postgraduate certificate in Government Relations from Seneca College. He held key positions in numerous organizations and has volunteered politically. During his time in undergraduate studies, Karan was one of the founding members of Glendon Model NATO and has helped provide students with a practical approach to international affairs. Karan is passionate about politics, international affairs and grassroots social movements.

Madeliene Merrick

Madeliene Merrick is an educator, freelance writer, and human rights activist. She holds a Master’s of Political Science, and has a background in grassroots economic development and stakeholder relations. Madeliene works closely with Indigenous communities to develop educational programmes that support their internal capacity to become economically self-sufficient. Although her primary focus, Madeliene’s interests extend beyond Indigenous rights to include women’s and children’s rights, global socioeconomic development, norm diffusion, Canadian politics, and international institutions.

Jared Milne

Jared Milne is a graduate of the Campus Saint-Jean at the University of Alberta with a Master’s Degree in Canadian Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Canadian History, minoring in Political Science. Canadian unity is one of Jared’s greatest passions in life, and he actively works to try and understand the many different cultures, perspectives and backgrounds in Canada, inspired by his original French immersion education. He has worked as a public servant, a municipal intern and a historical researcher, and his commentaries on Canadian politics have been published in many different newspapers and websites.

Marwa Naran

Marwa is currently completing her Masters in Public and International Affairs at Glendon College, York University. She earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in French Translation from the University of Western Ontario. Her interests include the Middle East and North Africa, new democracy within MENA regions, and foreign policy more broadly.

Samuel Partridge

Samuel lives in Columbus OH, graduated with a BA from the University of Auckland and a Postgraduate BA in Communications from The Auckland University of Technology. He has previously written on Chinese politics and policy via review and dissemination of English language content produced by PRC media outlets. His interests include international relations, worldwide income inequality, and Rugby Union Football.

Louis-Claude Perrault-Carré

Louis-Claude Perrault-Carré completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Western Ontario and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Security Risk Management at the University of Copenhagen. Louis-Claude has served on the executive of various university clubs, including the Political Science Association (PSA), the Canadian Political Science Students’ Association (CPSSA), and the Western Model United Nations Society. He is a founding member of the Leadership & Democracy Lab and over the past three years has led various research groups to study the risks of investment in Tunisia and Libya. He acquired the Lab’s first-ever contract with an external company, and led the research and consulting into the political risks involved with expansion into China. Currently, Louis-Claude interns with a political risk firm, analyzing various regions and industries around the world. He is fluent in French and English, and has a working knowledge of Spanish. His areas of interest include comparative politics, international relations, democratization, and emerging markets.

Christian Picard

Christian Picard is Managing Editor of Freedom Observatory‘s French-language publications and Executive Advisor at Ethics Without Borders. He earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political science and History from Université Laval (Québec City.) As a native Francophone – bilingual in English and French – he is a self-declared globetrotter, having visitied France, the United States, Peru, China and both Koreas (no kidding!). / Christian Picard est le Directeur de la rédaction francophone de Freedom Observatory et Conseiller exécutif à Éthiques sans Frontières. Il possède un baccalauréat en Science politique et Histoire de l’Université Laval (Québec). Bilingue, français et anglais, il est un globe-trotter assumé, ayant déjà visité les États-Unis, la France, la Chine, le Pérou et les deux Corées (sans farce!)

Claire Rush

Claire Rush holds a BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. She has also studied journalism at Humber College in Toronto and has a strong passion for (not-dead-yet) print media; her favourite publications include The Economist, Vanity Fair and Vice. Claire is an active member and volunteer with Women in Toronto Politics (WiTOpoli), which serves to empower and educate women within local politics. Outside of Freedom Observatory, Claire has been published in Humber College’s newspaper, Et Cetera, and she’s been accepted as a regular contributor to the WiTOpoli blog. Claire’s main areas of interest are women’s issues, particularly reproductive rights and healthcare access, LGBTQ awareness, U.S. politics, human rights, and international relations.

Michal Scur

Michal Scur is a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa specializing in microbiology and immunology. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, majoring in microbiology and evolutionary anthropology, and a Master of Science degree from Louisiana Tech University. His main interests are health policy, infectious disease, and epidemiology. He is also an avid amateur scholar of geopolitics, military history, and economics. On top of English, Michal can speak fluent Slovak and Czech, and has a working knowledge of Russian.

Taalib Shivraj

Taalib Shivraj has completed his Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management from the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. His areas of interest include foreign and economic policy, and the role of multilateral organizations in facilitating peaceful dialogue and free trade. He has completed research reports on trade agreements between countries to analyze the beneficiaries and payers of such deals. Taalib has traveled throughout the Middle East and East Africa.

Nathan Seef

Nathan Seef is a Director at Observatory Media. Nathan earned a Master of International Criminology with Merit from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from York University in Toronto, Canada. He specializes in transnational organized crime and environmental harms. Nathan has given several guest lectures on green criminology and is passionate about finding ways to reduce the negative impacts of mass production. He has strong interests in issues of global governance, international law, and international affairs. Nathan is also an Associate Editor at iAffairs Canada, an online publication affiliated with the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Vennesa Weedmark

Vennesa Weedmark is a Director of Observatory Media. Vennesa graduated with a Master of Arts from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, England. She was a Senior Editor and contributing author at the Glendon Journal of International Studies (an undergraduate-run, peer-reviewed, academic journal based at Glendon College, York University) from 2011-12 and continues as a reviewer. She served as the Vice-President of Communications for the Glendon Model NATO Club (2011-12) and was the Secretary of the Glendon Conservative Club for three majestic years (2009-12). Vennesa can converse in English and French fluently, and is quite articulate in Hungarian. Her main areas of interest include nuclear security and non-proliferation, underdevelopment economics, Caribbean international relations, proto-IR in African antiquity, and International Studies theory.

Patty Zakaria

Patty Zakaria is currently a consultant in international security and research analysis. She completed a PhD in International Relations from Wayne State University, where she focused on international security, nuclear proliferation, and political corruption. Her research focuses on issues of nuclear proliferation, deterrence, conflict patterns, and state behavior. Additionally, her research interests include not only the examination of nuclear weapons on international politics and disputes, but also the implications of corruption on the economy, government, and society of a state. She has worked as a researcher and lecturer in politics in the United States, Canada, and Croatia. Currently, she’s a faculty member at University Canada West, where she teaches political science courses. As a researcher, she has participated in several international and regional conferences in political science and interdisciplinary studies, and has published in the International Political Science Review, Public Integrity, Atlantic Community, European Perspective Journal, and Romanian Journal of European Affairs.