Watson Institute for International Studies
Brown International Advanced Research Institutes

BIARI at Brown 2014

Human Security and Humanitarian Response: Increasing Effectiveness and Accountability in the Age of Complex Emergencies

“Natural” disasters and political unrest pose chronic threats to human security. Separately or together, they turn citizens into refugees, stretch government capacity, and, increasingly, spark instability and conflict. This institute will convene an interdisciplinary and international group of academics and practitioners to develop better understandings of the underlying political, social, and environmental factors that affect human security. Topics will include the effectiveness of existing welfare systems in different regions; best practices in humanitarian assistance; and the politics of compassion in disaster and conflict zones. Discussions will focus in particular on the ethical issues that arise at the intersection of human security and humanitarian assistance; rights-based approaches to humanitarian relief; and the potential of new technologies to transform humanitarian response.

Ethnicity, Conflict and Inequality in Global Perspective

Co-convened by faculty from the departments of Economics and Political Science, this institute offers participants a thorough exploration of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of scholarship that connects conflict, inequality, and ethnicity. Best practices in comparative and interdisciplinary research design, implementation, and exposition will be explored, with a particular focus on the dilemmas of doing justice to context-specific data while producing generalizable insights. Lectures and workshops led by distinguished guest faculty will constitute the core of this institute, to be supplemented by participants’ individual research presentations, and panel discussions on pressing contemporary cases in line with participants’ expertise and interests. Applications are especially welcome from scholars interested in evidence-based policy making.

Population and Development: New Approaches to Enduring Global Problems

With the world’s population officially surpassing 7 billion, this institute will address the crucial and interlinked issues of population and development, particularly as they affect people in the Global South. What are the most significant population issues in the 21st century? How do population dynamics and the policies designed to address them contribute to or detract from equitable development? How can theories and methods in the social sciences contribute to understanding the relationship between population and development, and how can this scholarship contribute to better policies and programs? Participants will engage with cutting-edge theory, innovative and tested research methods, and first-rate scholarship upon which to build their own research programs.

Connections and Flows: Water, Energy, and Digital Information in the Global South

Water, energy, and digital information are key resources for all societies in the 21st century, demanding a range of products, services, and infrastructure to provide secure, equitable distribution and delivery. Operating in a studio format built around participants’ ongoing projects, and with input from visiting practitioners and scholars, this institute has two main goals: first, to explore emerging concepts in engineering, design, and development through a focus on platforms, prototypes, and projects; and second, to delve into the implications of their design and development in society. Applications for this innovative interdisciplinary institute are welcome from young engineers and engineering faculty, as well as from engineering education policymakers and those working in agriculture, environmental studies, urban studies, or related fields.