Victoria C. Fontan, Ph.D.

Life & Work

Victoria Christine Fontan is a Member of the HumanDHS Board of Directors, the HumanDHS Global Advisory Board, the HumanDHS Global Core Team, the HumanDHS Research Team, and the HumanDHS Research Team. She is furthermore the former Co-Editor of the Journal of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (JHDHS).

Victoria Fontan is an analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the international affairs industry, specifically higher education. She has diverse experience in Nonprofit Organizations, Scientific Capacity Co-operation, Peace and Conflict Studies, Intercultural Communication, Politics, and Political Science. Currently working on the professionalization of the humanitarian sector. See a full overview over her fascinating and courageous career stages here. Victoria Fontan is the author of the 2012 book Decolonizing Peace puplished in the World Dignity University Press.

Since 2019, Professor Victoria Fontan is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), a university in exile on three continents after the take-over of the Taliban in 2021. Speaking from the airport, Victoria shared her experience during the fall of Kabul and its aftermath and reflected on the success of Dignity through Solidarity during the the 2021 Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict, Virtual at Columbia University, New York City, December 9 – 11, 2021 (Video). She described how her university has navigated its exile through the ecosystem of other liberal arts higher education in emergency-settings and how it has grown into a dignity-bound institution through the dialogues of its faculty, staff and students.
See also:
French Citizen Recounts 'Frantic' Trip to Kabul Airport for Evacuation (Video), Euronews, August 25, 2021.
Almost 150 from the American University of Afghanistan Were Evacuated, but Thousands Still Want to Leave, by Paulina Smolinski, CBSN Live, September 22, 2021.
Comment by Linda Hartling and Evelin Lindner: Thank you so much, dear Victoria, for sharing your experience! We are in awe at your courage and ethical clearsightedness! Thank you for your great courage and radical dedication to dignity!
Dear Victoria, we are so happy to have you with us since 2002! You were with us in our foundational conference in 2003 in Paris, you hosted our 2006 conference in Costa Rica, and you published your 2012 book Decolonizing Peace in our World Dignity University Press. And these are just a few small examples of your gifts of dignity!
You are a living example of creating courage through action in all your endeavors, working for the substance of dignity rather than the illusion of dignity.

Prior to this, in 2015, she was Founding Director of the Centre for Peace and Human Security at the American University of Kurdistan, and in Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali in Colombia. She also spent time as a Research Student at the Department of War Studies at Kings College in London. From 2005 until 2014, Victoria was the Director of Academic Development and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a Fellow to the Iraq Project at the CICR in Columbia University, Victoria has also been in charge of developing a permanent conflict resolution curriculum in northern Iraqi universities.

Prior to 2005, Victoria was Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at Salahaddin University, Erbil, Iraq, subsequent to being a Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace Studies at Colgate University, NY, where she lectured in conflict resolution and peace studies. Earlier, Victoria was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Sabanci University, in Turkey. She lectured in the MA Program in Conflict Resolution and Analysis and also conducted research on conflict resolution processes and the politics of communication.

Victoria holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Development Studies. She has published many papers on multi-track diplomacy, human trafficking, the public diplomacy of armed groups and the formation of political violence in post-conflict societies. Central to her work has been a conceptualisation of post-conflict processes through the study of social, gendered, cultural, economic and political humiliation. She has conducted field research in Lebanon with the Hezbollah, in Bosnia-Herzegovina on human trafficking and organised crime, and in Fallujah (post-Saddam Iraq) with emerging armed groups. She is also involved in gender training for peacekeeping operations, and has lectured to various armed forces on the subject.

In 2005, Victoria C. Fontan kindly offered to develop an edited book on Violent Conflict and Humiliation (with the help of Linda Hartling, Arie Nadler, and Evelin Lindner) with the contributions of the participants of our Workshops on Humiliation and Violent Conflict in 2004 and 2005 in NY.


Publications & Articles

  Fontan, Victoria C. (2013)
Decolonizing Peace
Lake Oswego, OR: Dignity Press, November 2013.
  Fontan, Victoria C. (2008)
Voices from Post-Saddam Iraq: Living with Terrorism, Insurgency, and New Forms of Tyranny
Westport, CT: Greenwood/Praeger Security International.
  Fontan, Victoria C. (2006)
Hubris, History, and Humiliation: Quest for Utopia in Post-Saddam Iraq
In Social Alternatives (Special Issue "Humiliation and History in Global Perspectives"), Vol. 25, No. 1, First Quarter, pp. 56-61, 2006.
  Wyatt-Brown, Bertram & Fontan, Victoria C. (2005)
"The Honor Factor"
Op Ed in The Baltimore Sun, January 23, 2005, p. 5F
Please see here the original long version.


Fontan, Victoria C. (2003)
The Dialectics of Humiliation: Polarization between Occupier and Occupied in Post-Saddam Iraq
Unpublished draft (not to be cited without author's authorization).