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First female doctoral graduate at UJ’s Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, Dr Lara Hierro

​Lara Hierro became the first female from the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) South African Research Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy to receive a doctoral degree when she graduated during the University’s first 2016 graduation season.

She was awarded with a DLitt et Phil in Political Studies.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be awarded the first female doctorate of the Chair. I hope to inspire other students who would want to peruse their postgraduate studies. It can be a daunting task but with guidance and support it is achievable,” said Dr Hierro. She added, “I can certainly provide support, give guidance along the way, and make it a little less daunting, and the overall experience perhaps more surmountable.”

Dr Hierro holds a BA Honours in English Literature and Music from West London Institute of Higher Education (incorporated into Brunel University), a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Studies from Rhodes University, and a MA in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Her research focus is International Relations, with a particular emphasis on Africa-European Union relations.

“My theoretical area is dynamical systems theory, and in particular a specific arrangement of complex adaptive systems called a Panarchy,” says Dr Hierro.

The SARChI African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy is led by Prof Chris Landsberg is under the aegis of the Faculty of Humanities at UJ. It seeks to respond to the fluctuating state of Africa’s international affairs by developing a research and outreach agenda embedded in strong basic and applied primary research.

Dr Hierro is involved in various projects, including a workshop undertaking a review of the EU-South Africa strategic partnership in July 2016 organised by the Chair, in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. She will also be working on a couple of articles, as well as working towards publishing her thesis (as a book) as soon as possible.

She looks forward to the future as she has been nominated for a postdoctoral position within the Chair. “So most immediately, my plan is to publish, publish, publish, and perhaps then, possibly another degree or language,’ said Dr Hierro.​

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