Ph.D. Student Named Pepe Fellow in Peace Studies

Author: Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies


Matthew Chandler, a Notre Dame doctoral student in sociology and peace studies, has been named the Steven D. Pepe Ph.D. Fellow in Peace Studies for the 2015–2016 academic year.

Matthew’s research and teaching interests include nonviolent social movements and revolutions, political culture, social networks, and social theory. His dissertation project investigates the linkages between civil resistance and peacebuilding, with a particular focus on the dynamics of contentious political transition in Egypt since the uprising against Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He is also actively engaged in innovative research on communication networks with the Department of Sociology and the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Chandler served as the deputy director of Nonviolence International in Washington, D.C. and a field team coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq and Palestine. He has an M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. in philosophy and Christian ministries from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.

The Pepe Fellowships are the result of a generous gift from Steven D. Pepe ’65, a retired U.S. Magistrate Judge (Michigan) and member of the Kroc Institute’s Advisory Board. Pepe’s gift will provide ongoing support for a doctoral student in peace studies who has distinguished him/herself in research, teaching, or service.


“There is no more worthy purpose for a university than to support aspiring scholars who study violent conflict and seek to mitigate it,”  Pepe said. “I am delighted to help doctoral students in peace studies to launch their careers.”

Pepe first became interested in peace, justice, and human rights as a Notre Dame undergraduate majoring in political science.

In particular, he recalls reading Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris, a groundbreaking document that articulated a Catholic approach to peace and justice and that was the Vatican's first encyclical addressed not only to Catholics and Christians but to all of humanity.

“The Kroc Institute’s commitment to strategic peacebuilding puts into action the social teachings in this document and taught by the Catholic Church in the years since,” Pepe said.

The Kroc Institute’s Ph.D. program in peace studies is a partnership with six departments in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. Students pursue Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology and Peace Studies; History and Peace Studies;Political Science and Peace Studies; Psychology and Peace Studies; Sociologyand Peace Studies and Theology and Peace Studies. The program is distinctive for its broad interdisciplinary approach and focus on research that helps build a just and sustainable peace.