Rhea Mahanta is the Founder and President of The Peacebuilding Project, an organization committed to Conflict Transformation, Peacemaking and Humanitarian Work. She is a Social Sciences scholar on the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago, where she co-founded Women in International Affairs, a student group dedicated to empower and support women entering careers in peace and security.
Born in the conflict-prone region of Northeast India, Rhea’s first-hand experiences have been a driving force behind her vision to empower communities to respond to conflict through peace and non-violence.
Rhea has trained UN Peacekeeping Forces from over 33 countries on Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Negotiation before they were deployed on field missions around the world. She is a recipient of the Israeli Council for Higher Education Scholarship to Israel-Palestine where she gained practical experience in Mediation, Conflict Prevention and Multi-Track Diplomacy between local communities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
At the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rhea worked closely with Rohingya refugees and assisted them with legal documentation, security, leadership trainings and creating awareness among the Police and Border Security Forces. She is committed to promoting human rights for people in conflict zones and those displaced by conflict.
Rhea was awarded a scholarship by King’s College London to study Defence Policy and Military Strategy and has also represented India in South Korea at the Global Leadership Camp organized by International Youth Fellowship. From a very young age, Rhea volunteered with various grassroot organizations like Deepjyoti School, Udayan Care and Operation Smile to serve underprivileged children in slums.
Rhea has a Masters in Political Science from the University of Delhi and a Post-Graduate degree in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Her key interest lies in international security and diplomacy. Apart from her academic endeavours she is also a Pianist, an Indian Classical Dancer and a Chess Champion.