Peace studies prize goes to senior Leticia Chai

Matthew Evangelista shakes hands with Leticia Chai

The Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies has awarded the 2018 Harrop and Ruth Freeman Prize in Peace Studies to senior Letitia Chai. 

Chai is a College Scholar at the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in peace and conflict studies. She has focused her work on conflict resolution and forced migration – studying the Sino-Tibetan conflict and ethnic tensions in Myanmar. 

The Freeman Prize is awarded annually to Cornell University graduating seniors to encourage them to pursue work or study in fields related to peace studies and conflict resolution.

“Letitia Chai exemplifies the kind of student the Freemans hoped to recognize and honor through the establishment of the endowment,” said outgoing institute director Matthew Evangelista.

Chai said the prize will help her pursue the opportunities necessary to transform refugee rehabilitation.

As part of her examination of the causes of displacement, she studied Rohingya camps in Myanmar and Tibetan refugees in India. In summer 2016, she received a Freeman fellowship from the Reppy Institute to support her work at the Center for Diversity and National Harmony in Myanmar/Burma.

Chai expects to continue her education in environmental management at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, with additional fieldwork in refugee settlements. Eventually she would like to develop a platform for sustainable refugee settlement design that can be adapted to diverse communities and cultures.