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August 2021 Newsletter

Hello again from the Global Research Institute, where nearly 150 students worked on dozens of research projects this summer. This week, our day-to-day looks a little different than it has, as classes begin and on-campus events resume. I look forward to welcoming new students and faculty to GRI, but I’m even more excited to reconnect with students we have not seen in person for almost 18 months and those who have graduated. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s homecoming celebration the weekend of October 8-10 — we look forward to welcoming you back to campus.

It’s been a fun summer with an increasing number of collaborations across projects. IJL Director Kelebogile Zvobgo used TRIP survey data to answer the question "
Did America’s Racial Awakening Reach IR Professors? Several faculty and former GRI students Emily Jackson and Eric Parajon contributed to a special section of International Studies Perspectives to answer the question: "Did ‘America First’ Construct America Irrelevant? " Sam Custer, AidData’s Director of Policy Analysis launched a collaborative project with the DIG Lab's Phil Roessler that uses survey experimental methods to understand why policymakers in developing countries prefer certain types of aid and certain donors. You’ll see more examples of partnerships between GRI researchers below, including a podcast featuring an AidData Junior Program Manager and a former PIPS Fellow. Consistent with GRI’s Strategic Plan, I’m confident we will see more cross-disciplinary and cross-university collaborations supported by GRI going forward. 

I hope you’ll also check out AidData’s Listening to Leaders 2021 report — whose key findings and media coverage are linked in the squares directly below. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Come visit us soon!
Best,
Mike

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Insights from nearly 7,000 policy practitioners informed AidData’s Listening to Leaders 2021 report, which tracks how global leaders review their development partners in a modern period of “contested cooperation.” Articles in Foreign Policy and The First Tranche outline the growing role of multilateral organizations, the extent of China's influence on partners' priorities, and considerations of climate change in goal-setting and decision-making. Click the squares below to learn more.

Read the AidData report now.
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Multilateral Influence

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Chinese Influence

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Climate Change

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Teaching, Research & International Policy Project

The TRIP Project worked with researchers from UNC Chapel Hill, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame to gain insights on the role of IR scholarship in policymaking by analyzing responses from US policymakers in development, national security, and trade. In International Studies Quarterly, the team outlines key challenges of using academic knowledge — which include practitioners’ lack of time, as well as academic work being too abstract and not timely.

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Blockchain Lab

Former GRI Summer Fellow Amy Zhao ‘19 won WizForm’s Build Your Dream competition for proposing a blockchain solution to artists’ intellectual property issues. A new piece in William & Mary News outlines how a partnership with GRI’s Blockchain Lab will help Zhao bring her idea full circle. “I want it to be someone who doesn't even know that they are making a blockchain transaction when they're purchasing [art] online,” Zhao explains as she describes her winning proposal.

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American Bosnian Collaboration Project

ABC Project Director Paula Pickering collaborated with GRI-affiliated scholars and research assistants supported by AidData to study how mobile updates about community public services affected electoral accountability in Uganda. The team identified knowledge gaps among citizens and saw that communication technologies can effectively transmit ​public service information, though such messaging may not directly affect voting without civic education campaigns.

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GRI Affiliate Sharan Grewal

After Tunisian President Kais Saied froze parliament, dismissed the prime minister, and announced he will temporarily rule by decree, GRI Affiliate Sharan Grewal broke down the events that precipitated this development in an article for Brookings. Responses from the world’s democracies, he explains, can dramatically shape the ultimate outcome of this power grab.

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Africa Research Center

On the With Good Reason radio program, Africa Research Center Director Dr. Philip Roessler explains how climate change will lead countries to focus more on internal challenges and problems rather than external ones, hurting global cooperation, including efforts that have been effective at reducing civil war risk. “It’ll sap our global capacity to address global problems,” Roessler said. “That’s one of the paradoxes of climate change."

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International Justice Lab and Teaching, Research & International Policy Project

In a forum for International Studies Perspectives, GRI Director Mike Tierney, Emily Jackson '18, Eric Parajon '17, and IJL Director Dr. Kelebogile Zvobgo consider "Did 'America First' Construct America Irrelevant?" Zvobgo approaches the prompt through the lens of international criminal justice, and Tierney, Jackson, and Parajon offer an aggregated view of experts' thoughts using TRIP Project survey data.

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AidData

AidData developed a methodology to assess the prevalence of school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV), to help policymakers and communities keep students safe and in school. In partnership with Together for Girls and the CDC, and funded by USAID and the Government of Canada, AidData researchers analyzed SRGBV in Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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Project on International Peace and Security

Local deliberative forums can help combat affective polarization and intense antipathy, PIPS Fellow Selene Swanson ‘22 explains on Renew America Together's “Across Talk” — hosted by AidData staffer and former PIPS Fellow Lincoln Zaleski ‘21. "If it’s too late for bipartisanship and communication between our citizens, then it’s too late for our democracy, and I’m not ready to give up,” Swanson said.

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AidData

Which tools does China use to win over global leaders and publics? AidData’s updated interactive dashboard helps users visualize Chinese public diplomacy activities through custom graphs, maps, and country profiles. A new blog post on The First Tranche explains why taking a subnational approach to financial diplomacy can reveal the full extent of a foreign power’s influence.

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American Bosnian Collaboration Project

This summer, researchers at the American Bosnian Collaboration Project studied how different online teaching techniques influenced children’s engagement and development of intercultural competence. The team is now using data it collected from innovative remote Bingo and penpal initiatives to evaluate the effectiveness of interactive learning platforms.

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Ignite

As governments discuss how to responsibly open global economies, Ignite Director Dr. Carrie Dolan contributed to a discussion about travel in an article that appeared on USA Today and Yahoo News. She clarifies that no widespread adoption of “vaccine passports” or standard verification procedures have been enacted on an international scale.

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International Justice Lab

Children's participation in transitional justice processes like truth commissions can help reduce the long-term negative impacts of their exposure to political violence. But little scholarship considers how transitional justice mechanisms like truth commissions can responsibly involve children. In a co-authored article in the Journal of Human Rights, IJL Director Dr. Kelebogile Zvobgo proposes and evaluates the effectiveness of different institutional features to support children's participation.