Grisel d'Elena

Grisel d'Elena

Grisel d’Elena is currently pursuing her PhD in International Relations at FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs and for two years has served as the Academic Advisor for FIU’s Honors College. She has performed fieldwork abroad with U.N. officials, refugee coalition members and ethnic minorities, specifically Southeast Asia, where she began to investigate the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar. As victims of systematic, state-sponsored persecution, she began to question why they faced such discrimination. This question led to the Buddhist 969 Movement in Myanmar, which contributes to the isolation and oppression of the Rohingya. Grisel was able to interview Time Magazine’s “Buddhist Terror” U Ashin Wirathu and provide feedback directly from the source of the violence for her ethnographic work. This became the focus of her Master’s thesis, “The Gender Problem of Buddhist Nationalism in Myanmar: The 969 Movement and Theravada Nuns.” This work has been shared nationally in academic conferences, colleges and local outreach programs for the youth about global awareness. Finally, her travels to Asia, Europe and Cuba have provided a universal set of interpersonal skills and global awareness that aids communication with an array of cultures, personalities and age groups.