Christabel Polacco graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Degree in Political Science. In the final year of her BA, Christabel completed an Undergraduate Thesis on the topic of the Effects of Identity Narratives on Israeli and Palestinian Youth Perspectives of Peace, under the academic supervision and guidance of Dr. Jasmin Habib. During this time, Christabel also had the pleasure of presenting a paper on the topic of the United States government’s jurisdiction over PMC actions in Colombia at the Mapping the Dimensions of Global Policy Graduate Conference hosted by McMaster University. She presented her paper to an audience of graduate students, along with faculty judges from McMaster who offered valuable advice on furthering her research. She is continuing to work on this paper during her free-time, working to get it published in the near future.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Christabel took time off to volunteer abroad. In February, she embarked on a global build with Hábitat para la Humanidad in Nicaragua. While there, Christabel and a team of eleven other volunteers completed the building of a seed home for a family of thirteen living in Estelí, Nicaragua. After returning from Nicaragua, Christabel returned to work at a local cruise line in Toronto. She continued working as a Cruise Manager, a position she has held for three years, until being promoted to the Lead Cruise Manager. While working, she also took a two-week course earning her the Certified Engine Room Watchkeeper certification.
In May, Christabel travelled to Southeast Asia to volunteer for forty days with the non-profit organization, Operation Groundswell, focusing on animal conservation projects within the region. Travelling throughout Cambodia specifically, Christabel worked for local organizations whose missions were gauged towards rehabilitation, conservation and protection of endangered animals in the region, and overall environmental sustainability. She had the opportunity to work with local farmers, learning about their planning, planting, and growing practices, and worked with the community to repair a local school. She was also able to help clear the habitat of the Mekong Softshell Turtles of dangerous plants and weeds, and release baby softshell turtles into the Mekong River once their habitat was deemed safe again. Later in the trip, Christabel stayed with the group at the Elephant Valley Project, learning about elephant care and the organization’s rehabilitation projects and working with EVP, performing health checks on the elephants, cutting banana trees for daily feedings, and working on the grounds performing tasks such as building bamboo tables.
Returning from Southeast Asia, Christabel has put her attention on her Masters Research Paper, choosing to focus her research on post-conflict rehabilitation programs and the lack of female visibility within these programs, specifically analyzing the operational structure of DDR programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, where most DDR programs are being implemented and executed.