Justin de Leon earned his Ph.D. in international relations with a focus on feminist theory and indigeneity at University of Delaware and holds academic certificates from Stanford, Syracuse, the Rotary International Peace Center. He is a Faculty member as a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, was a researcher at Vanderbilt’s Global Feminisms Research Collaborative, and a Lecturer and Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholar at University of California San Diego.

De Leon’s research adopts an indigenous approach to studying creative claims to security and sovereignty through film and storytelling. The engagements of tradition and culture of the Lakota Sioux of South Dakota and their continued challenging and navigation of settler colonial orders, acts as a correction to historical and present-day marginalizations. He is currently writing a book manuscript on creative approaches to sovereignty and, more specifically, on traditional Native American storytelling expressed through contemporary modes of film and media.

De Leon is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His most recent film collaboration, More Than a Word (Media Education Foundation, 2018), addresses the use of Native American mascots within professional sports and has been screened at over 250 universities across North America and was nominated for the 2018 Backstory Public History Award. De Leon serves as the Director of the Native Film and Storytelling Institute (Pilot Program held at UC San Diego in 2018) and previously as Media Director of the Indigenous Oral History Program for the UN’s Documentation Center for Indigenous Peoples (DoCIP).

In addition to this, de Leon is a Rotary World Peace Fellow and, prior to graduate studies, has worked in the peace and conflict resolution and global development fields, living and working in Northern Ireland, Nepal, India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Honduras, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. (Text excerpt from Justin De Leon's own website).