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PIPS Fellows 2022-2023

Kevin Bloodworth II
“Destroying El Dorado: The Canadian Mining Industry’s Complicity in Abuse”

The extractive practices of Canadian mining firms make them the worst human rights and environmental offenders in the global mining industry. These firms have been implicated in bribery and directing violence toward political and environmental activists in both Latin America and Africa.  The record of abuse by Canadian mining firms undermines Western efforts to challenge China’s Belt and Road initiative. In the absence of oversight from the Canadian government, Canadian mining firms will continue extractive mining practices seeded in human rights violations, strengthening China’s ambitions to dominate the world’s “green minerals” industry.

Anna Glass
The Disruptive Power of Desalination: Regional and Domestic Security Risks of Increased Reliance on Desalinated Water”


Desalination plants are attractive options for countries looking to diversify their access to fresh water due to the negative effects of climate change. Yet, the placement of desalination infrastructure has political implications. Like the past building of railroad lines and irrigation canals, governments can use desalination infrastructure to disadvantage domestic groups, increase influence over disputed territory, or intensify transboundary divides. They also can exploit desalination infrastructure’s vulnerability to physical attack. States and international organizations should recognize the destabilizing socio-political implications of desalination infrastructure placement when funding projects. Neglecting these implications risks amplifying existing conflicts, thus hindering efforts towards political and environmental stability in water-scarce regions.

Lucy Shearer
The Russian Handmaid’s Tale: Demography and the Erosion of Female Autonomy in the Former Soviet Bloc

Russia faces a gendered demographic crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. To alleviate its demographic woes, the Kremlin is implementing increasingly traditionalist pronatal policies that threaten women’s autonomy. This regressive approach will not reverse demographic decline. In fact, it does the opposite: Moscow fails to address greater social, cultural, and economic factors which diminish incentives to have children. Even as these policies fall short at home, Moscow’s traditionalism will not be confined to its own borders. Post-Soviet states facing similar demographic decline are vulnerable to their own Handmaid’s Tales.

Aaraj Vij
Compartmentalization & Community Moderation: A Framework to Combat Disinformation and Extremism on Social Media

Compartmentalization and Community Moderation (CCMod) is a new, generalizable framework to combat dangerous content on social media platforms. CCMod limits the speed and reach of online content and empowers users to self-select moderation guidelines to contain the spread of disinformation and extremist content. Where other solutions have failed to effectively curtail the spread of disinformation, CCMod promotes a safer online environment without sacrificing key business incentives or radically changing the user experience for social media platforms.

Jacqueline Zimmerman
Disillusionment and Dissent: The Birth of a Gen Z Environmental Populist Movement

A Gen Z-led environmental populist movement in the United States is looming. Gen Z has experienced a turbulent political environment and gridlock on climate policy. These phenomena contribute to their tendency to distrust institutions and eagerness to work outside established systems. Social media exacerbates these tendencies and increases exposure to climate content. Given the widespread use of populist rhetoric on both the political right and left, it is increasingly likely that Gen Z will organize around combatting the existential threat from climate change using populist tactics. Such a movement threatens civil disobedience, risks further undermining democratic processes, and could spark a mainstream backlash against environmental activism.