Nieto-Matiz Receives Outstanding Grad Student Award

Author: Rowland, Ashley

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Dissertation Year Fellow Camilo Nieto-Matiz, a comparative political scientist who studies state-building in violent contexts, has received the fourth annual Kellogg Institute Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student Contributions.  

The award, which carries a $500 prize, recognizes a doctoral student affiliate for outstanding contributions to the intellectual life of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Nieto-Matiz’ dissertation examines how states increase their capacity in subnational peripheries, poor areas with little state presence, in times of conflict. It also addresses how the presence of violent groups, even in a democracy, can impede the development of a more capable state at the local level. He described his research, which focuses on his native Colombia, in a recent Q&A.

Nieto-Matiz was nominated for the award by both faculty and his peers. One letter, signed by nine fellow graduate students, cited his scholarly output, collaboration with faculty, and his role as a founding member of the new Notre Dame Violence and Transitional Justice Lab (V-TJ Lab).

Faculty Fellow Guillermo Trejo, director of the V-TJ Lab, said in his nomination letter that Nieto-Matiz’ dissertation addresses Kellogg’s core research themes democracy and human development in the context of war.

“It is the central piece of Camilo’s broader concern with understanding how to build just and democratic societies in countries with a long history of violent conflict,” Trejo wrote. “His research agenda evolved from direct engagement with the Kellogg community and he has crucially shaped how his fellow graduate students and Kellogg faculty and visiting fellows view these problems.”

Trejo noted that Nieto-Matiz has helped build Kellogg’s intellectual community by co-authoring articles with other doctoral students and mentoring younger students.

Nieto-Matiz’ article, “Democracy in the countryside: The rural sources of violence against voters in Colombia,” was published in the Journal of Peace Research in 2018, and he co-authored “Backing Despots? Foreign Aid and the Surival of Autocratic Regimes” with Doctoral Student Affiliate Luis Schenoni in Democracy and Security the same year.

Nieto-Matiz is currently writing an article with PhD Fellow Natán Skigin on electronic voting and criminal violence in Brazil.

“The network of friendship and research collaboration that Camilo has built with several cohorts of graduate students to address fundamental questions about democracy, peace, and human development reflects what the Kellogg community is about,” Trejo wrote.

Nieto-Matiz received a prestigious Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation dissertation grant in addition to his fellowship from Kellogg. He is scheduled to begin a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University in the fall.