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Pauline Zerla is a peacebuilding, trauma and reintegration researcher who spent a decade working project design and management in fragile and conflict-affected states including the DRC, CAR, Nigeria, and Somalia. She joined the Department of War Studies in 2020 and, under the supervision of Rachel Kerr, Ted Barker and Kieran Mitton, researches how ex-combatants’ psychosocial experiences of war shape their reintegration.

Her research mostly focuses on the reintegration of ex-combatants, trauma and mental health in conflict, and veterans' return from war. She is a research assistant in the department of war studies. At King's, she is a member of the War Crimes and Conflict, Security and Development research groups and the Visual and Embodied Methodologies Network. As a scholar and a practitioner, she is interested in transition and reintegration of ex-combatants as ways to move away from violence and form pathways to building sustainable peace.

Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked across a variety of contexts where she focused on innovation in reintegration, community-based conflict transformation, trauma healing, narrative, and resilience-building interventions. In Eastern Congo, she designed community-based programmes for former combatants and cultural exchange opportunities for vulnerable youth. Subsequently, she led community peacebuilding and trauma healing programmes for communities affected by the LRA and worked alongside communities affected by Boko Haram to cultivate local agency, peacebuilding, and resilience.


Research Interests

  • Reintegration
  • Armed groups
  • Reconciliation
  • Peacebuilding
  • Trauma and Conflict
  • Ex-combatants
  • Veterans and Transition
  • Art and storytelling approaches