2022 EWC/EWCA International Conference Pod Staff Researcher Profiles

zakia adeli

Dr. Adeli was the Deputy Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and a Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Kabul University before joining EWC (2018-2021). With more than ten years of master’s and bachelor’s degree teaching experience at Kabul university, she has also guided, advised and judged more than 300 master’s theses.

She was a member of the Preparatory Contact Committee for Peace with the Taliban in 2019 in Doha (Qatar), and also served on many senior government commissions in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including the High Commission for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Afghanistan; High Council of Women of Afghanistan, High Commission for the Prevention of Violence against Women; Political Parties and Civil Society Commission of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan; The Commission on Women and Human Rights of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan.

Area of Expertise: 
Politics and security in Afghanistan, comparative foreign policy, (Track II Diplomacy), Democratization in South Asia, Globalization and Its Impact on the Politics and Economy of South Asia, Crisis Management in Conflict Countries, International Relations Theories, Human Rights and Women’s Studies

dr. micah fisher

Fellow, Research Program

Micah R. Fisher is a Fellow in the Research Program at the East-West Center. He conducts research on the human-dimensions of environmental change such as deforestation, land degradation, and urbanization in the Asia-Pacific. Recent research has focused on deforestation, land rights, and tenure policies in Indonesia and Southeast Asia; Disaster risk, vulnerability, and water insecurity in Greater Jakarta; Agrarian change and livelihoods in Sulawesi; and Technologies of Participation. He has previously worked with the World Bank, Mercy Corps, Asia Foundation, and other international development organizations. He is an affiliate graduate faculty at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and lectures in the Department of Forestry at Hasanuddin University in Indonesia. He currently serves as co-Editor in Chief for the academic peer reviewed journal Forest and Society.

Area of Expertise: 
Landscapes and Watersheds; Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation; Community-based Resource Management, Participatory Mapping and Engaged Methodologies; Environment and Community Planning; Disaster Risk Reduction; Southeast Asia; Indonesia

jefferson m. fox

Acting Director, Research Program

Jefferson Fox is the Acting Director of the Research Program at the East-West Center. He conducts research on land-use and land-cover change in Asia and the impact of these changes on the region and the global environment. Other areas of study include resource-management systems and land-cover transitions in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia—their role in altering regional hydrological processes under a changing climate; the ethics, values, and practice of spatial information technology and society; and natural resources and violent ethnic conflict in the Asia Pacific region. He has worked with watershed management projects in Nepal, and lectured in the Geography Department at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is an affiliate graduate faculty member in ­geography and anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i. He holds a Ph.D. in development studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and speaks Nepali and Bahasa Indonesia.

Area of Expertise: 
Land cover/land-use change in Southeast Asia; climate variability, change, and risk; community-based management of natural resources in South and Southeast Asia; forest fragmentation and degradation; spatial information technologies and society

sandeep kandikuppa


Sandeep Kandikuppa has PhD from the University of North Carolina and studies rural indebtedness, common pool resources, village institutions, and food security. His current research projects include assessing the impact of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Telangana, in India, studying the impact of climate change on the financial health of rural households in India, and examining the driving factors behind farmers’ movements in India.

He worked for ten years with two leading Indian non-profits, the Foundation for Ecological Security, Anand, and the Deccan Development Society, Hyderabad. He has been a consultant at the Foundation for Ecological Security and International Food Policy Research Institute.

Area of Expertise: 
Rural livelihoods-natural environment nexus; rural household finance and financial inclusion; common pool resources and community-led governance; food (in)security in rural areas

mohammad sadiq sohail

Mohammad Sadiq Sohail is Research Specialist at the Research Department of East-West Center. His study and work background focuses on political economy and security in south and central Asia, He is conducting research on Water, Food and Energy Security Nexus in Afghanistan and Its Impact on regional Connectivity. He is the Founder and Director of Afghanistan Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies which has conducted many projects and researches in Afghanistan. Mr. Sohail is a proud Human Right and Women Rights Activist and has been active in this regard for almost more than a Decade and he has held many National Conferences in Afghanistan. He has lectured collectively for almost 8 years at MASHAL University, GHARJISTAN University, RANA University and ASHNA University and he was also Dean of Political Science faculty at ASHNA University in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Prior to joining East-West Center he was Socio-Political Advisor to the Ministry of Justice of Afghanistan for almost four years and he was advising the leadership of MoJ in areas of Legal Aid and Human Rights Directorates; and Political Parties and Social Societies Organizations Directorate where he has registered more than 4000 SSOs. Mr. Sohail has also served at Afghanistan National Directorate of Security as a Security Analyst and has briefed to National Security Council and Presidential Palace of Afghanistan.

Area of Expertise: 
Political economy, economic-security, International Relations, Policy Studies, Security Studies, Women Rights and Human Rights

sumeet saksena

Senior Fellow, Research Program

Sumeet Saksena served as a Fellow at the Centre for Environmental Studies, The Energy and resources Institute, India till 2001. He is also Affiliate Graduate Faculty, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Member of the International Society of Exposure Assessment; Committee on Indoor Environment Quality, United States Department of Energy; Advisory Group for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; Standing Research Advisory Committee for the Central Statistical Organization; and the Technical Working Group, Cities 21 Pilot Project, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. His research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, US Department of State, The World Bank, etc. Publications: Evidence for the Convergence Model: the Emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Viet Nam; Classifying and mapping the urban transition in Vietnam; Environmental justice in the context of commuters’ exposure to CO and PM10 in Bangalore, India; Domestic Environment and Health of Women and Children, Development of Environment Statistics in Developing Asian and Pacific Countries, Policy Uses of Particulate Exposure Estimates, Total Exposure as the Basis of Economic Valuation of Air Pollution in India; etc.

Area of Expertise: 
Interdisciplinary research in: Environmental Risk Analysis; Exposure Assessment; Environmental Health; Air Pollution; Emerging Infectious Diseases, Environmental Justice, Impacts of Peri-urbanization; and Public Perceptions of Environmental Risks

tammy tabe


Tammy Tabe possesses a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen, in Norway. In 2019 she became a Lecturer at the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at The University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, and previously worked there as an Assistant Lecturer since 2016.

She serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for Solomon Islands Climate Change Resettlement Policy, and as a member of the Climate Change Human Mobility Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Fiji.

Area of Expertise: 
Pacific Islands States and communities; Community displacement and relocation; Climate change vulnerability and adaptation; Climate risk and vulnerability assessments; Community-based Adaptation; Ecosystem-based Adaptation; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Gender and climate change; Indigenous and local knowledge; Identity and Diaspora

dr. kevin woods

Fellow, Research Program

Dr. Kevin Woods has been professionally trained at Yale University and UC Berkeley as a political ecologist and human geographer, with a focus on land and natural resources, ethnic-based armed conflict and rebel governance. His geographic focus is in mainland Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar, where he has worked in varying capacities for nearly two decades. In addition to his academic training, he has worked as a policy analyst for several international non-profits on land and environmental governance reforms in war and postwar settings. He also considers himself a scholar-activist; his collaborative and participatory research projects has arisen out of deep engagements with indigenous communities and their leaders who live in and navigate through armed conflict zones. He is recently a research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i working as an environmental social scientist in mainland Southeast Asia. For many years he has been a Senior Policy Analyst at Forest Trends in Washington, DC, where he has co-managed their Myanmar program on land and resource governance decentralization, customary land rights, and political federalism. He’s also an Adjunct Assoc. Prof. at the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Area of Expertise: 
Politics of land use change, resource extraction, and environmental conservation; resources and armed conflict dynamics; environmental peace building; Chinese investment in Southeast Asia; mainland Southeast Asia, with focus on Burma/Myanmar.

dr. phanwin yokying

Fellow, Research Program

Dr. Phanwin Yokying is an applied microeconomics researcher. She studies development and gender issues affecting the livelihoods and well-being of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in Asia and Africa. Her research areas of interest include time use, migration, remittance, land rights, rural food security, informal employment, child labor, and domestic violence. At the East-West Center, her research work focuses primarily on the policy implications of women and children’s time allocation in South and Southeast Asia. Under close collaboration with Tribhuvan University, she is currently co-leading the State of Social Inclusion in Nepal: A Study of Time Allocation (SOSIN-SOTA) project in Nepal. She is also involved in a multi-disciplinary research project that investigates long-term changes and spatial variability of rice production systems in Southeast Asia.

Area of Expertise: 
Development and gender issues in developing countries, quantitative analysis of time use surveys, and agricultural development.

dr. ming li yong


Ming Li Yong is a researcher focused on issues around transboundary water governance and hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin, particularly in relation to livelihoods, community-based natural resource management, civil society movements, institutional arrangements, and public participation. Much of her research has taken place in Thailand and Cambodia.

Ming Li is from Singapore and possesses a PhD from The University of Sydney. She has previously taught courses on environmental ethics, development, and sustainability at The School for Field Studies’ Center for Conservation and Development Studies and Pannasastra University while based in Siem Reap, and at the National Institute of Education in Singapore.

Area of Expertise: 
Transboundary water governance and environmental governance; Community-based natural resource management; Public participation; Development and its impacts on livelihoods and the environment; Southeast Asia, Mekong Region