A conversation with Antonella Regueiro

Dr. Antonella Regueiro with her Yorkie puppy, Wookiee
Dr. Antonella Regueiro with her Yorkie puppy, Wookiee

Ask the professor

Dr. Antonella Regueiro is assistant professor of Dialogues of Self and Society in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her teaching specialties are conflict analysis and resolution, genocide studies and international relations. She also is a writing tutor in the Institute for Achievement and Learning, a post she has held since 2013. This past May, Lynn’s student government organization, the Knights of the Roundtable, awarded its Shield award to her in recognition of her service, loyalty, integrity and honesty. Regueiro holds a B.A. with a double major in international relations and religious studies from Florida International University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University.

Tell me about your background and how you chose your fields of study.

I was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to Miami when I was 13. In high school, I was on the student newspaper staff and loved it. At Florida International University, I started as a journalism major and had almost completed my degree when I stepped into a class called Contemporary International Problems. Our first lecture was on the genocide in Darfur, which at the time was at its peak. That was it; I switched my major to international relations, with a second major in religious studies. Then, I continued on to conflict resolution for my master’s and Ph.D. I wanted to figure out a way to understand why genocide happens and to try to prevent it from happening again.

In summer 2017, you were our first faculty member to serve in the Ambassador Corps. How did that come about?

Jerry Hildebrand, the director, visited one of my classes to recruit students. We had just finished talking about the genocide in Rwanda, and Jerry cited Rwanda as an example of where students could intern. Afterward, I told him, “Jerry, you’ve got to send professors, too, because we can bring a skill set to form partnerships.” I never expected anything to come from it. The next thing you know, Jerry sent me a postcard saying, “We’re in if you are.” He had spoken with Dr. Gregg Cox [vice president for academic affairs] and President Kevin M. Ross, and they agreed to send me. On June 16, 2017, I graduated with my Ph.D., and on June 18, I was on a plane to Rwanda. I stayed there for eight weeks, making connections for expanding our network of partners. It was a fantastic experience. Rwanda is a wonderful place that has recovered majestically from its 1994 tragedy.

“Many of our students live in a protective ‘bubble.’ Ambassador Corps helps break that bubble and challenge their preconceptions.”

Antonella Regueiro

Why do you think it’s important for students to participate in Ambassador Corps?

The corps’ motto is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” and it’s true. Many of our students live in a protective “bubble.” If something isn’t in their newsfeeds or Snapchat, they don’t know about it. Experiences like the Ambassador Corps help break that bubble and challenge their preconceptions.

Tell me about your work with Project Civitas.

Robert Watson [professor of American studies] created Project Civitas to foster dialogue between opposing camps. I was recruited to handle social media, and now, as faculty adviser to the Project Civitas student club, I help with logistics. Students come up with an idea and, as the facilitator, I help them get it done. For example, last spring students wanted to set up Goodwill donation bins for items discarded during campus move-out. It was a huge success.

On a lighter note, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Dancing, reading, going to the movies and hanging out with my Yorkie puppy, Wookiee—I’m a Star Wars fan.

If you could have dinner with a few people, from the past or present, who would they be?

Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai [the Pakistani activist and youngest Nobel Prize laureate], Jane Austen and Bill Nye.

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