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GRI Newsletter December 2022

In 2022 GRI committed to convening scholars and practitioners to drive more and better research. During the spring semester we hosted multiple events on the war in Ukraine. Over the summer we hosted over 100 scholars and practitioners from around the world for W&M’s first annual China Convening. This fall we hosted book workshops on U.S. foreign policy in Asia and the legacy of cash-crop production in Africa. Last week we partnered with Chancellor Robert Gates to host the first Gates Forum on “Strategic Communication in U.S. Foreign Policy.” The Forum brought together leading scholars, journalists, members of Congress, and U.S. policymakers to advance concrete policy solutions guided by a series of original research papers organized by Samantha Custer, AidData’s Director of Policy Analysis.

W&M’s new strategic plan, Vision 2026, guides many of our new and ongoing initiatives at GRI. Our comparative advantage is Data. We produce novel data sets, develop new methods in data collection/analysis, and use data to forecast major events. To advance Careers, we launched the Global Scholars Program in collaboration with W&M’s Washington Center and placed the latest class of Summer Fellows in organizations around the world. To advance the Water pillar, we identify policy interventions in the agriculture sector that provide resilience in the face of droughts, floods, and other climate shocks. Finally, we support multiple research projects on the micro-foundations of Democracy in divided societies, the instability of new democracies, and the global retrenchment of democracy

This final newsletter of the year is designed to look back over the previous 12 months. I’m excited to share some 2022 highlights from each of GRI’s 10 student-faculty research labs in the tiles below.

Thanks for your continued support of this work. Hope to see you in 2023!



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Digital Inclusion & Governance Lab

In a co-authored white paper, DIGLab Co-Director Phil Roessler sets out a research and policy agenda for studying and maximizing the impact of instant payment systems, which are being deployed in Brazil, India, Tanzania and other emerging economies.


"Banking on Beijing" chronicles China’s shift from a net recipient to a dominant provider of international development finance. The book's authors — Mike Tierney, Brad Parks, Austin Strange, Axel Dreher, and Andreas Fuchs — assess related misconceptions.


In work funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, NukeLab students and Director Jeff Kaplow employed data science methods to predict the countries most likely to seek nuclear weapons.

Teaching, Research & International Policy Project

In March 2022, only two percent of International Relations scholars supported the U.S. initiating direct military action against Russia, compared to 18 percent in a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan, according to a TRIP Project snap poll.

Project on International Peace and Security

GRI’s 2021-2022 cohort of PIPS Fellows developed white papers outlining solutions to pressing global security threats, from cyberwarfare attacks to small loitering munitions to illicit industries in protected forests.

Africa Research Center

In a study comparing Chinese and U.S. foreign aid to Africa, Phil Roessler and co-authors identify the conditions under which competing aid regimes generate soft power and facilitate the transmission of political principles and ideals.


GRI Research Affiliates Troy Wiipongwii and Zach Conrad are developing computational tools that empower Indigenous communities in Virginia to make independent decisions about food production on their lands.

Digital Inclusion & Governance Lab

DIGLab Co-Director Fiona Shen-Bayh's new book, "Undue Process," considers how courts can be used to repress political challengers, institutionalize punishment, and undermine the rule of law.

American Bosnian Collaboration Project

In a forthcoming book chapter, ABC Project Director Paula Pickering, Co-Founder Dr. Larisa Kasumagic-Kafedzic, and alumni Ethan Brown '21 outline how the lab's 23-year service partnership has promoted peace and intercultural understanding.


Ignite's Post-Doctoral Fellow Julius Nyerere Odhiambo and Director Carrie Dolan look to enhance the framework of infectious disease modeling by assessing the methodological aspects of spatial approaches applied to COVID-19 in Africa.

International Justice Lab

IJL Director Dr. Kelebogile Zvobgo authored a textbook chapter to share expertise and insights about launching and sustaining fruitful research labs — from organizing research and recruiting students to advancing DEI.

AidData and Ignite

Foreign aid is not efficiently targeted within countries by economic and health needs, even in the face of budget shocks, AidData's Chief Economist Ariel BenYishay and Ignite Director Carrie Dolan conclude in World Development.

GRI Stakeholder Report

As GRI grows, we remain committed to our founding proposition that good ideas can come from anyone. Our 2022 Stakeholder Report outlines how we put these ideas into action while continuing to scale.