Alumni of the Month, December 2021: Anaïs Marin and José Filipe Silva

As part of its 20th Anniversary celebrations, HCAS is launching an Alumni Gallery featuring two of our alumni every month. This month's HCAS alumni are Anaïs Marin and José Filipe Silva, who share news about their current research and reflect on the impact the Collegium has had for their career paths.

José Filipe Silva, Core Fellow, 2011–2014

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro.

My name is José Filipe (Pereira da) Silva and I am Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Helsinki; I am also the Head of Discipline of Theoretical Philosophy, and the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society at the Faculty of Arts. My area of expertise is on History of Philosophy and especially in Medieval Philosophy, and my recent work focuses on two topics: first, theories of perception and second, natural philosophy, in particular the concept of matter in late medieval thought.  

I remember fondly my time at the HCAS. The Collegium allowed me to broaden the scope of what I thought was possible research wise, by challenging me to explore beyond my comfort zone. This is what can happen when one creates the ideal conditions for people from different disciplines and varying research interests to work together and, if they are of the kind willing to challenge each other, to listen to the other, to learn with the other, there are no limits! When it works, it bolsters one's belief in oneself as a researcher, scholar, academic, teacher. I was lucky to have the best people as my fellows, and as the result, the Collegium changed my life.

Anaïs Marin, Core Fellow, 2008–2010

Photo: Natalka Dovga.

A political scientist specialized in international relations, Eurasian and border studies, I am currently affiliated with the Centre for French Culture at the University of Warsaw. My research focuses on “dictaplomacy” (the diplomacy of dictatorships) and specifically the malign influence of Russian “sharp power” on the European democratic project – within a 3-year project financed by the Polish National Centre for Science. I am also an associate fellow (non-residential) with the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House (London) and have taken part in various experts’ networks making policy-recommendations on EU foreign policies towards Russia and Eastern Partners. While a post-doctoral fellow at HCAS (2008–2010), I conducted research on cross-border cooperation and Euroregions across Schengen’s Eastern borders. In 2009, I organized at HCAS an international symposium on authoritarianism in Belarus, a country I further specialized on after joining the Finnish Institute for International Affairs (FIIA). Ten years later, the UN Human Rights Council appointed me Special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, a pro bono mandate that I am holding to this day. I am thankful to the Collegium for giving me an opportunity to explore what became the Belarusian pillar of my career in academia and beyond.