Chantel Cole previously served as the founding executive director of WIIS-Toronto since 2017. She completed a Masters of Arts in Political Studies at Queen’s University and was awarded the G. G. Baron van der Feltz prize for her thesis which focuses on the experiences of women who have had sexual relations with United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Haiti. She graduated with High Distinction from the University of Toronto where she received a Bachelors of Arts specialist honours degree in International Development and Political Science. Chantel has extensive experience working in the non-profit and community development sector, most notably as a Program Assistant for an Indigenous community development organization in Guatemala called Maya-Mam Association for Research and Development (AMMID). During her time with AMMID, Chantel assisted in the development of programming that centered on women and political participation. While in Guatemala, Chantel conducted extensive research and engaged with community members, academics, health professionals, and NGO personnel, producing an undergraduate thesis that examined women’s access to reproductive health services. Chantel was awarded the 2017 Best Thesis Award by the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough for her work. In addition to Guatemala, Chantel also has field experience in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and in her hometown of Toronto where she worked as the International Youth Coordinator for OneChild, an organization dedicated to combatting the commercial sexual exploitation of children globally.
Chantel will begin her doctoral studies with the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto in September 2020. Her research interests lie at the intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and development studies. In particular, she is interested in understanding the causes and dynamics of organized criminal violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. She hopes to coalesce her research training and expertise in politics, development, gender, violence, and conflict to work in academia, a research institute, government or in an international organization to develop tangible solutions towards the goal of combating organized violence in Latin America and the Caribbean.