Boundless Pursuit of Justice

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Nicholas Helldorfer Cicchinell

Nicholas Helldorfer Cicchinelli F20, FG25

Boundless Pursuit of Justice

Like many students who come to The Fletcher School, Nicholas Helldorfer Cicchinelli researches questions and perspectives that don’t always fit neatly within the traditional boundaries of international relations. It is the environment at Fletcher, he says, that has allowed him the interdisciplinary space and intellectual freedom to challenge traditional thinking and convention, and explore real-world answers.

Nicholas was drawn to Fletcher’s MALD degree program because he was torn between pursuing a regionally- or thematically-focused Master of Arts (MA) program and a legal Juris Doctor (JD). He spent a lot of time considering a joint MALD-JD degree before eventually deciding that in the MALD, he could get the best of both worlds.

Initially, he didn’t expect to stay for a PhD, but in the course of writing his MALD capstone thesis, Nicholas kept running into questions that didn’t have answers. “Professor Kimberly Theidon—then my advisor, now my PhD committee chair—suggested I use the PhD research to see whether I could find some of those answers myself.”

Of his studies in gender and intersectional analysis and public international law, Nicholas says,  “I know my scholarship has been enriched through the opportunity to incorporate multiple literatures and methods, ranging from comparative politics and legal theory to transitional justice and feminist jurisprudence. Having that interdisciplinary space and intellectual freedom has been critical.”


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