Global Affairs Fall 2023 Research Week Awards

At the end of each semester, Global Affairs hosts a Research Week where majors, minors, graduate students, and students in Global Affairs courses can submit their original work.

A committee of faculty and staff in Global Affairs recognizes students who have outstanding scholarly or creative projects.

Please congratulate the awardees for Fall 2023 and those who received Honorable Mentions. We also want to acknowledge all of the hard work that all students who submitted to Research Week put into their projects.



Rishi Singh, "Islamic States Current Role in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front"

The research will take on the question of Islamic State’s influence on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is the current group in power in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The paper will break down the causes and grievances that have increased the capacity for Islamic State to grow in the first place and the history behind the current conflict to give policy makers a better understanding of the problem. The methodology will include data from the Global Terrorism Trends and Analysis Center’s (GTTAC) database, GRID, to show the current trend of attacks from 2018 to 2022 perpetrated by different jihadist groups in the BARMM. It will also include information from an interview with Justin Richmond, the founder of Impl. Projecting an NGO that works in the BARMM focusing on development, he breaks down his current understandings of the MILF and how involved Islamic State is. After evaluating the literature and the data presented from GRID, the paper will work to come to a consensus on what areas should be the focus of continued counter terrorism efforts and show what foothold Islamic State still has in the region.


Leah Tudor, "The Role of Applied Theatre as a Tool for Post-Conflict Stabilization and Peacebuilding"

This paper explores the transformative power of applied theatre as a tool for post-conflict stabilization and peacebuilding. Grounded in symbolic interactionism and dramaturgical theory, it reviews the cases of different theatre groups in Rwanda, Kosovo, and Nepal to examine how applied theatre is implemented and assess its impacts. This study reveals that applied theatre possesses the power to transform conflicts and achieve social reconciliation by empowering voices and fostering communal healing. Despite applied theatre’s limitations, such as challenges in quantifying data, the study’s findings demonstrate the adaptability required for supporting the hypothesis that applied theatre can be an instrumental tool in providing a platform for reconciliation in a broad array of conflict contexts.



Daniel Semidey, "China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Soft Power: A threat to the US Hegemony?"

This paper explores China's rise to global influence through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its potential implications for the American hegemony. The author argues that while the BRI is a positive force for global development, it also serves a secondary objective of spreading China's influence and challenging American dominance. The study focuses on specific regions, such as Afghanistan and Venezuela, to illustrate China's soft power tactics. The analysis delves into the complexities of China's diplomatic approach in Europe, the South China Sea, and the Middle East. The paper emphasizes the importance of understanding soft power dynamics, especially concerning the BRI, to assess China's potential to supersede American hegemony. The methodology employed is qualitative, relying on reports, case studies, and journal articles to provide in-depth insights. The conclusion highlights the need for the United States to navigate its relations strategically with BRI partner countries and suggests possible approaches to counter China's growing influence.


Helena Molina, "Armed Conflict: Women and girls in Democratic Republic of Congo How can we reduce gender-based violations?"

Since colonialism, women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) have been subjected and seen as inferior class citizens. This period served as the catalyst of suffering and oppression in which Congolese women and girls were forced into a patriarchal society with repressive structural norms. Post-colonial independence from Belgium control in 1960, resulted in multiple inter-state conflicts that exacerbated the already prevalent gap in gender inequality. Throughout various armed conflicts, women and younger girls have been used as weapons of war to demoralize the enemy, paving the way for rampant gender-based violations in the forms of threats, coercion, physical and sexual abuse, as well as the deprivation of their economic, educational, and health-oriented well-being. Although there have been some international aid efforts to help alleviate the suffering of certain victims, these approaches must be put into perspective. The Rwanda cooperative framework offers a robust and durable set tools that could help improve the lives of Congolese women if implemented and adapted based on the need of Congolese women and girls. 


Breanna West, "Climate Policy Ineffectiveness and its Contribution to Child Exploitation: a Case Study into Nepal"

As a nation, Nepal suffers from both climate change and ineffective governmental climate-related policies. Despite the implementation of climate-related policies, there is an identifiable gap between the intention of said policies and the true outcomes. As a result of this gap, poverty is driven due to governmental neglect in rural areas that destabilizes the very agricultural sectors that Nepalese families rely on for livelihood stability. Nepalese children, an extremely vulnerable class even without the impacts of climate change or failing climate-related policies, bear the brunt of Nepal’s ineffective climate-related policies and, due to environmental degradation and lack of stability, are exploited through means of child labor, child sex trafficking, and child marriages. The purpose of this research is to analyze existing studies in a way that connects the existing issues of climate-related policy ineffectiveness in Nepal and the high rates of child exploitation of Nepalese children in a cause-and-effect manner. Findings of the research indicate a distinct, although broad, cause-and-effect relationship between climate-policy ineffectiveness and its relationship to poverty- an extreme driver in Nepalese child exploitation.


Noah Rivera, "The Functions of International Aid And Localized Peacebuilding In Fragile African States"

This analysis seeks to highlight the trends in instability on the African continent, and as a result, discover how, and if, nation-states can experience effective resolution, peacebuilding, and post- conflict stability. Lastly, in the wake of these developments, it is the hope of this study that if a country can indeed experience a great deal of stability, then it can be turned to as an example for other nation-states, as they try and free themselves from whatever struggle they find themselves in.


Pronoy Chatterji, "How Effective Are UNPKOs? And Are They Worth It?"

This paper examines the effectiveness of UNPKOs and Political Missions as well as the UN and UNSCs role in the global scale today in maintaining and harboring peace. Using various means sources, ranging from literature reviews to specific case studies to official government documents, this paper illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of UNPKOs and the UNSC, while elaborating on both successes and failures of past and present operations. The case of UNSMIL in Libya perfectly highlights the complexity of these decisions and their repercussions. This paper concludes with recommendations on how to move forward and to address the weaknesses that persist today.