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  1. Constructing the South China Sea A Pentadic Analysis of American Narratives, 2009-2016 [Download]

    Title: Constructing the South China Sea A Pentadic Analysis of American Narratives, 2009-2016
    Author: Haver, Zachery
    Description: Though the South China Sea (SCS) territorial disputes have attracted much attention in the United States, there is a dearth of scholarly research on their discursive construction. Americans clearly care about the SCS, but nobody has investigated how, when, or why particular American narratives emerged and evolved. Given this research gap, this article develops a longitudinal form of Kenneth Burke’s pentadic analysis to study American narratives of the SCS. Examining editorials from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal from 2009 to 2016, this article finds that elements of a dominant narrative emerged in 2014 in response to both material and discursive developments. This article then demonstrates the manner in which this dominant narrative has delimited the scope of legitimate U.S. policy options.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, South China Sea, U.S. foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, China
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  2. Formalizing Through Finance: A Case Study with UNICS [Download]

    Title: Formalizing Through Finance: A Case Study with UNICS
    Author: Kellenberger, Leah
    Description: This paper seeks to analyze the microfinance industry in Yaoundé, Cameroon through the lens of the microfinance institution Unity Co-operative Society (UNICS). The main question guiding this study deals with whether or not UNICS is encouraging a shift to the formal sector through their work with business people. Other questions relating to repayment rates and subsequent economic development also remain pertinent to the information found. Working mostly in the Credit Department at the UNICS Yaoundé Marche Central Branch and with microfinance and economics experts in the area, data was collected through interviews and fieldwork conducted regarding the former questions. In total, it is found that UNICS and microfinance institutions as a whole, seek to encourage formal sector growth through working with business people in the informal and their desire to work with mainly formal sector business people, in some customers causing a shift from the informal to the formal sector. Repayment rates however do not determine the success of any aspect of a customer’s business or encouragement from institutions. And overall, while microfinance does contribute to socioeconomic growth, it is found that microfinance has deviated from its original goal of helping the poor and with the poor being left behind, it is hard for there to be real economic development.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, Finance, UNICS, Economics, Credit, Business
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  3. NGOs and Sustainable Livelihoods: Lessons from Ecotourism in Indonesia [Download]

    Title: NGOs and Sustainable Livelihoods: Lessons from Ecotourism in Indonesia
    Author: King, Chloe
    Description: Ecotourism occupies a rare intersection between economic development and environmental conservation. As a result, ecotourism has long been promoted by conservation NGOs attempting to transition communities to more sustainable livelihoods, with varying levels of success. This research project evaluates the factors that contribute to NGOs’ ability to encourage sustainable livelihoods through ecotourism, looking specifically at two emerging ecotourism destinations in Indonesia: Raja Ampat and East Flores. In both locations, NGOs have encouraged communities to avoid destructive practices, such as dynamite fishing or hunting marine megafauna such as manta rays, sharks, and whale sharks. In Raja Ampat, NGOs successfully promoted indigenous conservation practices and community-based ecotourism networks such as homestays to promote more sustainable practices. In contrast, local communities in East Flores still rely on destructive fishing practices, and local NGOs are just beginning to conduct research and stage interventions with these communities in the hope of introducing ecotourism as an alternative livelihood. The questions this research seeks to answer are, “What role do NGOs play in the development of sustainable livelihoods through ecotourism promotion in Indonesia? How can the successful methods utilized in Raja Ampat be applied to development in East Flores?” Data is based on community-based participatory research conducted in Raja Ampat and East Flores over 5 months, including over 100 qualitative interviews, 40 structured surveys, and daily participant observation alongside local communities and NGOs. In analyzing the challenges and successes of NGO strategies in Raja Ampat, the research argues that NGOs in East Flores should apply the framework for best practices utilized by NGOs in Raja Ampat to promote three vital pillars of sustainable development: ecology, equity, and economy. Initial findings indicate that there are three key strategies promoted by NGOs to successfully transition communities to more sustainable livelihoods: 1) enforcement and community policing efforts to reduce illegal fishing; 2) education of target communities and identification of key influential members of society; and 3) long-term endurance of program efforts and development of infrastructure essential to ecotourism initiatives. The research has important implications for our understanding of NGO roles in partnering with communities to encourage the development of sustainable livelihoods, both in Indonesia and globally.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Sustainability, Indonesia, NGOs, Ecotourism, Economic development, International affairs, Environmental conservation
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  4. Sport as a Catalyst for Peace? The Legacy and Prospects of Inter-Korean Olympic Sport Diplomacy [Download]

    Title: Sport as a Catalyst for Peace? The Legacy and Prospects of Inter-Korean Olympic Sport Diplomacy
    Author: Lee, Bomie
    Description: The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games took place from February 9 to February 25, 2018. This was the first Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, taking place 30 years after the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. If Seoul 1988 was deemed as South Korea's "coming-out party" on the global stage, Pyeongchang 2018 gained attention for not only South Korea's economic and technological prowess, but also for effective sports diplomacy between South and North Korea. Unlike Seoul 1988, in which North Korea boycotted the Games and attempted to create an atmosphere of fear to deter people from attending, Pyeongchang 2018 witnessed a cooperative North Korea and diplomatic breakthroughs. Among the tangible outcomes of these efforts were (1) walking together during the Opening Ceremony, (2) fielding a joint team for women's ice hockey, and (3) hosting a high-level North Korean delegation that included a member of the ruling Kim family. This study attempts to analyze sports diplomacy efforts leading up to, during, and immediately after Pyeongchang 2018. It begins by examining past cases of sports diplomacy between the two Koreas and throughout Asia at large, discussing the different varieties they took the form of and their discernible outcomes. By establishing this foundation of past historical cases, this study seeks to provide clarity on which methods of sports diplomacy have been successful and which have fallen short of expectations. It then proceeds to investigate sports diplomacy during Pyeongchang 2018, bringing together primary sources of news articles, official government statements, and surveys with secondary sources of opinion pieces and think tank publications. The analysis is further supplemented by firsthand research conducted in Pyeongchang, documenting the final match played by the joint women's ice hockey team. Ultimately, the research attests to the importance of symbolism in inter-Korean relations and the effectiveness of sports diplomacy in sustaining the notion of reunification in public discourse. For many reasons, Pyeongchang 2018 stands apart from other cases of sports diplomacy and begets the question of whether this will become more than a temporary relief from years of heightened tension and the beginning to a path toward permanent peace.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, Inter-Korean relations, Sport diplomacy, Korea, International politics, Pyeongchang
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  5. Environmental Development and Sustainability in Southern Africa: A Case Study of Government-Led Drought Relief in Namibia [Download]

    Title: Environmental Development and Sustainability in Southern Africa: A Case Study of Government-Led Drought Relief in Namibia
    Author: DiPersio, Jillian A.
    Description: A major trend in the development arena has been the move away from states and towards NGOs as the primary implementers of development projects. However, the ability of NGOs to achieve their objectives, especially those which require long-term engagement, has been insufficiently examined. This study explores the topic of NGO-led environmental and agricultural development projects in the drylands of southern Africa. This research uses Namibia as a case study, focusing on the //Kharas region, which has been experiencing drought-like conditions since 2012. The //Kharas region provides an illustrative and extreme example of the challenges faced by development actors in African drylands. As such, analysis of this case offers insights for other countries experiencing arid conditions as a result of climate change. Analytical methods used in this study include qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with farmers in the //Kharas region, as well as interviews with Washington, DC-based development practitioners. This research ultimately argues development projects, particularly those which address longer-term environmental issues such as land degradation and climate change, require sufficient host government buy-in to be successful and achieve long-term sustainability. The findings have implications for improving our understanding of the factors necessary for sustainable development in drylands, an area of increasing importance due to the specter of climate change.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, Sustainability, South Africa, Namibia, Agriculture, Environmental development, NGO
    Date Uploaded: 04/14/2018
  6. Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Afghanistan: A Comparative Analysis of the Failures of International Cultural Property Law [Download]

    Title: Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Afghanistan: A Comparative Analysis of the Failures of International Cultural Property Law
    Author: Kavita, Oza
    Description: In the past decade, international politicians have been obsessively seeking to eliminate the threat of terrorist groups in the arena of politics and power. Though we have come a long way from where we stood twenty years ago, insurgency groups consistently finds alternative methods to fuel their existence. In today’s international and political struggle for power, financing acts of terrorism have approached much more creative methods. International bodies of politics, power and law have become intertwined with the art market. In fact, buyers and sellers are being warned to be extremely cautious handling the transactions involving antiquities arriving from the Middle East or areas of development because of their possible link to ISIL, Al Qaeda, and various other groups. In order words, terrorist organizations are not only looting cultural property from the states in which they operate, but, in order to generate income, they also sell these artifacts. These antiquities often carry a significant, often priceless, historical and cultural meaning to their country of origin. Monetarily, they are also extremely valuable to both a buyer adding to his collection, and a seller increasing his portfolio. And though art dealers may not be keen on supporting any type of transaction involving terrorist organizations, the lack of transparency within the system makes it increasingly hard to tell which potential acquisition has dangerous consequences. Often times, these risky consequences are ignored for the prestige of the possession of such items. Though dealing with art is not the only source of income for terrorist groups, securing any financial acquisitions is imperative to their existence and success. However, the burden of the continued distribution of antiquities does not rest entirely on these organizations. In order for this kind of market to exist, there must be a demand. Indeed, as we have seen over the past decade, art dealers are more than happy to ignore the provenance of certain pieces. Selling these types of antiquities in the black market involves the transfer and handling of a lot of money - millions of US dollars. At this price level, the antiquities are often associated with the prestigious actors or even governments. Too often, state governments do not take actions “required” by the body of international law under which the states carry out their relations with one another. The outcome of this negligence is contributing to the threats posed by and existence of terrorist organizations. In order to evaluate the relationship and overlap between art and international law, this paper will first look cases of art dealing with the United States, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. The paper will point out the actions of these governments and actors within them, notably Hobby Lobby, the Khmer Rouge, and the Taliban, respectively. The paper will then move onto the answer several questions regarding international law relating to each of these cases.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, Art history, International law, Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cultural heritage
    Date Uploaded: 04/14/2018
  7. Fintech and Financial Inclusion: An Analysis of Brazil [Download]

    Title: Fintech and Financial Inclusion: An Analysis of Brazil
    Author: Ricca, Giulia
    Description: Fintech has become a ubiquitous buzzword, but there is little literature on their role in the financial market in upper-middle income countries. The Brazilian fintech market is experiencing a boom as new fintechs emerge and banks invest in their own technologies with promises of a better customer experience. This paper uses regression analysis to examine whether Brazilian fintechs impact financial inclusion through the mechanism of lower interest rates. The paper uses two regressions and finds that the presence of fintechs has a significant negative relationship with financial inclusion but that this relationship is not economically meaningful; the founding of one fintech sees a decrease of 6,000 active financial relationships. The paper finds that fintech interest rates do not significantly differ from traditional bank rates, but trends in the data demonstrate that fintechs charge higher interest rates. This indicates that fintechs are gaining traction with consumer because of convenience and ease of use, rather than price.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, International affairs, Brazil, Economics
    Date Uploaded: 04/14/2018
  8. Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 38: Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of US Power in the Pacific Century [Download]

    Title: Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 38: Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of US Power in the Pacific Century
    Author: Sigur Center for Asian Studies
    Description: China’s rise to power has been accompanied by its increased assertiveness in Asia. As it has established itself as the dominant power in the region, Chinese ambitions have often clashed with interests of other powers, especially Japan. A conflict in Asia has the potential to reverberate across the world today since China and Japan are the fulcrum of international trade. The pragmatism of the two Asian giants means that the possibility of an armed conflict occurring is low. However, recent escalation of tensions especially over the Senkaku/Diaoyudao Islands means that a conflict is likely now more than ever. What does this entail for the US role in the region? Richard McGregor, journalist and a former visiting scholar at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies discusses the bilateral history of China and Japan and addresses the question of the US role in light of the changing dynamics in the region in his new book Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan and the Fate of US Power in the Pacific Century.
    Keywords: Sigur Center Asia Report, Sigur Center, ESIA, Elliott School of International Affairs, Asian studies, Asia, Foreign affairs, International affairs, China, Japan, Antagonism, Pax Americana, Senkaku/Diaoyudao, Nationalism
    Date Uploaded: 03/03/2018
  9. Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 36: Taiwan Goes to the Polls: Ramifications of Change at Home and Abroad [Download]

    Title: Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 36: Taiwan Goes to the Polls: Ramifications of Change at Home and Abroad
    Author: Sigur Center for Asian Studies
    Description: As Taiwan casts votes for a new government in January 2016, the world is watching closely to see how the election might shake up Taipei’s domestic policies and its relationships with neighbors. Polls indicate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, has a 2-to-1 lead over the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and its candidate, Eric Chu, as well as the DPP likely securing a majority in the Legislative Yuan. The KMT is perceived by voters as being pro-China, so the shift in domestic politics driving the probable DPP victory may have profound implications for regional security and economic dynamics, not to mention U.S. foreign policy in East Asia. In this Asia Report, we present the analysis offered at a recent conference – Voting for Change: The Impact of Taiwan’s Upcoming Elections, sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.
    Keywords: Sigur Center Asia Report, Sigur Center, ESIA, Elliott School of International Affairs, Asian studies, Asia, Foreign affairs, International affairs, Taiwan, Election, Independence, KMT, DPP, China, Cross-strait
    Date Uploaded: 03/03/2018
  10. Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 39: Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia: Are States Choosing Nationalism or Globalism? [Download]

    Title: Sigur Center Asia Report, Issue 39: Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia: Are States Choosing Nationalism or Globalism?
    Author: Sigur Center for Asian Studies
    Description: Asia’s need for energy resources has sparked new debates involving energy security within rising powers in the region. Increased economic development has pushed these countries to consider new strategies for energy procurement in the 21st century. Key Asian nations have invested in renewable energy sources in an effort to diversify their energy assets as well as to fuel their expansion in the coming years. But traditional sources for energy, mainly petroleum, are still tremendously important. Some analysts fear energy conflicts could develop out of countries’ desires to lock down supplies of petroleum outside of Asia.
    Keywords: Sigur Center Asia Report, Sigur Center, ESIA, Elliott School of International Affairs, International affairs, Foreign affairs, Asian studies, Asia, Energy security, Eurasia, China, India, Japan, Globalist, Nationalist
    Date Uploaded: 03/03/2018