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PIPS Fellows 2014-2015

Rebecca Brown
The Impact of Bangladeshi Climate Refugees on India: Improving Foreign Aid to Bangladesh to Stabilize South Asia
White Paper (pdf)

Sectarian and class tensions, augmented by immigration, contribute to instability in many regions of India, in particular the northern state of Assam. Immigration from Bangladesh has exacerbated these tensions, which will likely worsen as climate change produces more natural disasters and a larger flow of refugees. The influx of Bangladeshi refugees will likely lead to unrest that may undermine India’s economy, weaken its democracy, and erode its potential as a counterweight to China. To address this issue, the international community, led by the United States, should reform its current aid practices in Bangladesh.

Justin DeShazor 
Reform from a Distance: Strengthening Fragile State Institutions with E-Learning
White Paper (pdf)

The underdeveloped institutional capacity of fragile states limits their long-term ability to exert effective administrative authority throughout their territory. If fragile states fail to strengthen this capacity, they will be unable to meet the basic needs of citizens, prevent extremist and criminal organizations from filling power vacuums, or facilitate sustainable economic development. To enhance their institutional capacity and reduce the risk of state failure, Washington should incentivize U.S. universities to create a comprehensive e-learning curriculum for civil servants in financial management, project management, and strategic planning.

Isabel DoCampo 
The Politices of Fast-Paced Epidemic: Bolstering Disease-Burdened States with Community Resilience
White Paper (pdf)

Developing governments lack the capacity to mitigate the effects of fast-paced epidemics. The rapid spread of highly pathogenic infectious diseases, such as Ebola, H5N1, and MERS, can precipitate state failure, enabling terrorism, illicit commercial activity, and further spread of disease. Typically, international responses to disease are health-based. But, medical intervention alone is insufficient to combat the political ramifications of disease. The United States should invest in community intervention and proximity policing provided by peers to improve local security and cooperation with disease protocol. These measures engage citizens and state officials on a community level to bolster trust and government legitimacy in fragile states plagued by epidemic.

Daniel Duane
Unmaned Underwater Vehicles: The Next Insurgent Threat
White Paper (pdf)

The U.S. Navy is investing in Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) technology as a tool for intelligence, warfare, and maintenance. The Department of Defense, however, is not paying sufficient attention to the ways UUVs can be used against the United States. The proliferation of UUVs will give weak states and non-state actors increased access to underwater pipelines, communications networks, and harbors—leaving these strategic regions vulnerable to attack. UUVs could create security threats by opening potential targets for attack to nonstate actors.

Duenya Hassan
Women of Mass Destruction: Combating Radicalization on the Web
White Paper (pdf)

Terrorists, such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have invested significant resources in radicalizing Western women from Europe and North America. Women, in general, enhance terrorist capabilities by being able to generate greater media attention because their assumed gender roles do not fit the typical profile of a terrorist. Using Western women further enhances terrorist capabilities. These women are more familiar with Western culture and less likely to generate suspicion because of their gender, increasing the likelihood that they can perpetrate attacks against well-defended targets. To combat the threat of radicalized Western women, this white paper proposes an online campaign that addresses three main components: viewership, messenger, and content. This white paper also recommends an appropriate response for any possible attacks carried out by Western women.

Susan Nelson
The Schoolhouse Model: Rethinking UNHCR’s Approach to Refugee Camps
White Paper (pdf)

 For decades, the international community has conceptualized refugee camps as “holding tanks” that provide basic security, shelter, medical care, and sustenance to refugees until repatriation. Refugees live in difficult conditions with few economic opportunities, making them susceptible to radicalization—especially, under conditions of extended habitation. Recognizing this challenge, the UNHCR recently announced plans to facilitate the bypassing camps in favor of alternative strategies  for handling refugees. 

This brief proposes that neither the holding tank model nor the practice of bypassing camps address the problems that refugees face. The holding tank approach squanders the capabilities of refugees, while the practice of bypassing camps denies refugees social services. Camps should, instead, be restructured to resemble schoolhouses for post-conflict reconstruction where residents can teach and learn valuable governance and economic skills.