Acosta-Zárate receives 2023-24 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

August 28, 2023 by Patricia Doherty

Congratulations to Laura Acosta-Zárate, PhD student in Criminology, on receiving a 2023-24 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship!

The Government of Canada’s Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering and health

Acosta-Zárate’s research topic

Acosta-Zárate’s research is entitled “Rethinking criminal responsibility of combatants recruited as minors by Illegal Armed Organizations: A case analysis of former combatants recruited by the FARC guerrillas.”

She says, "For my PhD research at the University of Toronto, I will investigate whether and how the involvement of minors in wartime practices influences how people’s perception of wrongdoing and illegal action. This understanding of illegal behaviour will be examined to see whether it might affect how and whether youth combatants are held accountable. The aim is to determine if a person who was victimised during recruitment but subsequently remained in the organisation is equally liable for crimes committed during this time. Ultimately, I want to examine if and how Colombia's transitional justice system might offer a differentiated sentence for those former soldiers who were once recruited and remained engaged into adulthood with the group."

Award citation

Acosta-Zárate received notification of the award from Vanier CGS by letter, which said:

“As a Vanier Scholar, you are among a select group of accomplished individuals chosen to receive this honour. You should take great pride in your success, particularly in light of the very competitive nature of the Vanier CGS selection process.

“The Vanier CGS program plays an important role in fulfilling the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology strategy to promote the development and application of leading-edge knowledge, support the development of a world-class workforce, and attract and retain the world’s top graduate students. Each year, these highly prestigious scholarship are offered to doctoral students who have demonstrated strong leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health.”

About the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program

Named after Major-General Georges P. Vanier, the first francophone Governor General of Canada, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) program helps Canadian institutions attract highly qualified doctoral students.

It is valued at $50,000 per year for three years during doctoral studies, and considers three equally weighted selection criteria: Academic Excellence, Research Potential, and Leadership (potential and demonstrated ability).

The program is jointly administered by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Visit the Vanier CGS website